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Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
Deliverance for us all : this enterprise
None shall partake with me. Thus saying, rose
The Monarch, and prevented all reply,
Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd
Others among the chief might offer now
(Certain to be refus’d) what erst they fear'd; 470
And so refus'd might in opinion stand
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute
Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they
Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice
Forbidding; at once with him they rose;

475
Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote, Tow’ards him they bend
With awful rey'rence prone; and as a God
Extol him equal to the high'st in Heaven :
Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd 480
That for the general safety he despis'd
His own : for neither do the Spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue ; lest bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory' excites,
Or close ambition yaşnish'd o'er with zeal,
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended rejoicing in their matchless chief ;
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north-wind sleeps, o'er-spread
Heav'n's cheerful face, the low'ring element 490
Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow, or shower;
If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet

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Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings.
O shame to men! Devil with Devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men only disagree
Of creatures rational, though under hope
Of heav'nly grace : and God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife

500
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy :
As if (which might induce us to accord)
Man had not hellish foes enow besides,
That day and night for his destruction wait. 505

The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth In order came the grand infernal peers : Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd Alone th' antagonist of Heav'n, nor less Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme, 510 And God-like imitated state ; him round A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos’d With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. Then of their session ended they bid cry With trumpets' regal sound the great result: 515 Tow'ards the four winds four speedy Cherubims Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy By heralds' voice explain'd; the hollow' abyss Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell With deafʼning shout return'd them loud acclaim. 520 Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat rais'd By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers

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Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice Leads him perplex'd, where he may likeliest find 525 Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain The irksome hours, till his great chief return. Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, Upon the wing, or in swift race contend, As at th’ Olympian games or Pythian fields; 530 Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form. As when to warn proud cities war appears Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush *To battle in the clouds, before each van

535 Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears Till thickest legions close ; with feats of arms From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns. Others with vast Typhooan rage more fell Pend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540 h whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar. As when Alcides, from @chalia crown'd With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, And Lichas from the top of (Eta threw Into th’Euboic sea. Others more mild, Retreated in a silent valley, sing With notes angelical to many a harp Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of battle; and complain that fate 550 Free virtue should inthrall to force her chance. Their song was partial, but the harmony

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