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BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.

The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be

hazarded for the recovery of heaven : some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search : Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates; finds hem shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven. With what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to this sight of this new world which he sought.

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High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed :

IO

1. High, etc. A magnificent opening, somewhat similar to the description in Faerie Queene, I. iv. 8; also the beginning of Ovid's Met. II. – 2. Ormus, Hormuz, a little island, once a rich diamond mart, now miserably poor, at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. Ind; i. e. of the Moguls or of the Golconda mines ?-3. Gorgeous East is a Shakes. phrase. Love's Lab. Lost, IV. 3 ; so is rich East’in Macbeth, IV. 3. — 4. Showers, etc. “I'll set thee in a shower of gold, and hail rich pearls upon thee.” Shakes. Ant. and Cleop. II. 5. A ceremony at coronations in Tartary and Persia. Barbaric (Asiatic), an epithet of 'gold' in Virg. Æn. II. 504. 5. Satan. Rhetorical effect of reserving the name till this 5th line? Merit. What kind ? — 6. Despair, as stated in Book I. 126. 9. Success, result, event, experience.

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“Powers and dominions, deities of heaven!
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigor, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!
Me, though just right, and the fixed laws of heaven,
Did first create your leader; next, free choice,
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the thunderer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction ; for none sure will claim in hell
Precedence ; none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more ! With this advantage, then,
To union and firm faith and firm accord,
More than can be in heaven, we now return

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30

35

So used repeatedly in Shakes. – 11. Powers. See note, Book I. 128. – 12. For; i. e., I say 'deities of heaven,' because, etc. Lines 12-17 inclusive are parenthetic ? — 15. Virtues (Lat. rir, man ; virtus, manhood). Powers ? powerful beings? Or heroic qualities? See I. 320. – 18. Me. A classical order of words, adopted for emphasis ? Syntax ? Note the grounds of his leadership; “just right,' 'fixed laws,' 'free choice,' and meritorious achievements. Any others ? — 24. Happier, etc. The argument is ingenious. Express it in your own words. Meaning of 'state'? — 28. Thunderer. Repeatedly (as in Book I. 92, 93, 258) he ascribes the victory to the thunder, as of a Jupiter Tonans. – 33. Precedence. Observe the acccent. None ; i. e. there

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To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise, may speak.”

He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair:
His trust was with the Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all : with that care lost
Went all his fear : of God, or hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake :-
“My sentence is for open war.

Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not : them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need ; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit lingering here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with hell-flames and fury — all

at once

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is none. — 41. Open . . . . covert. See note, Book I. 662. Spenser (F. Q. 11. XI. 7) has t' assail with open force or hidden guile.' What of the rhetorical fitness of Satan's utterances ? -- 42. “ There is a decided manly tone in the argument and sentiments, an eloquent dogmatism, as if each person spoke from thorough conviction," Hazlitt. 43. Next. Beside ? or next after ? Moloch. See note, I. 392. Why should he speak next ? Sceptred. 'Sceptre-bearing,' Gr. OKNATOûxos, is the Homeric epithet with king. -- 46. Trust. Stronger than hope'! Was. When ? --- 48. Cared. Subject nom. ? 50. Recked, cared. So found repeatedly in Shakes. Thereafter, therefore, accordingly? "Molocli's speech is a masterpiece of furious eloquence." Ross. Analyze it to ascertain its rhetorical and poetic merit. 51. Sentence (Lat. sententia), opinion, decision, vote. — 52. Unexpert than in open war? or than others! Trony here ? - 55. Stand. They were not disbanded yet. See II. 522, 523. — 61. All, instead of diviling forces, or leaving any inactive. At once,

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O'er heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments.

But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat : descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear

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now, instead of further delay. Burke suggested that all at once' ought to be onitted. — 62. Force. He represents brute force, most like the war-god Mars ? - 63. Tortures, the flames and fire of 11. 61, 67, 69 — 64, 65. Quite similar to Prometheus' threat against Jove. Æsch. Prom. Vinct. 920, 921. Engine. The commentators generally seem to have misunderstood this word. It means the Messiah's war-chariot, the most tremendous engine that the imagination ever conceived ; the chariot which rushed with whirlwind sound (VI. 749), . with the sound of torrent floods or of a numerous host' (VI. 829, 830); the chariot under whose crushing weight 'the steadfast empyrean shook throughout' (VI. 832, 833), and whose living wheels were studded with eyes, every one of which 'glared lightnings and shot forth pernicious fire’(VI. 849). See UI. 394, 395, 396. – 67. Black fire and horror. Hendiadys ? Black, as emitting little or no light ? I. 62, 63, 181-183. 69. Tartarean. From Tartarus, the name by which the ancients called the place of punishment in the lower world. Strange fire. See this phrase in Levit. x. 1. ; also, we that are of purer fire,' Comus, 111. — 72. Upright wing, wing flying towards the zenith ?73. Such as suggest this objection to my plan ? Drench, copious draught ? or soaking ? (A. S. drincan, to drink, drencan, to give to drink, ply with drink, drench; Old Norse, dreckia, to sink in water). — 74. Forgetful, like

oblivious,' I. 266. — 77. Adverse, unnatural. Because our bodies are celestial and buoyant ? — 78. Hung on, etc. So it seemed ; but in fact no angel pursued. “Sulphurous hail,' 'lightnings,' 'thunders’ (I. 171, 174, 175) pursued them ; perhaps “terrors and furies' (VI. 859); and "eternal

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