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النشر الإلكتروني

In this abhorred deep to utter woe;
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end,
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus,
We should be quite abolish'd, and expire.
What fear we then? What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which to the height enrag'd,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
Tu nothing this essential; happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being: -
Or if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
'Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desp'rate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane:
A fairer person fost not heav'n; he seem'd
For dignity composod, and high exploit?
But all was fatse and hollow; though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low;
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous, and slothful; yet he pleas’d the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began :

I should be much for open war, O peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whofe success; When he who most excels in fact of arins, In what he counsels, and in what excels,

Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after soine dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The tow'rs of heav'n are fill'd
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: oft on the bord'ring deep
Incamp their legions; or with obscure wing,
Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all hell should rise
With blackest insurrection, to confound
Heav'n's purest light; yet our great enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted; and th'ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair; we must exasperate
Th’almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure,
To be no more. Sad cure, for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts than wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
Devoid of sense and motion? and who knows,..
Let this be good, whether our angry foe
Can give it, or will ever? how he can,
Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure,
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves,
To punish endless? wherefore cease we then!
Say they who council war? we are decreed,
Reserv'd, and destiu'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?

What, when we fled amain, pursu'd, and struck
With heav'u's'afflicting thunder; and besought
The deep to shelter us? this hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds : or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak’d, should blow them into sev’nfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or, from above,
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us! what if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament
of hell should spout her cararacts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hürld
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and play
Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages, of hopeless end? this would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceald, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view? he from heav'n's height
All these our motions vain, sees, and derides ;
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heavia
Thus trampled, thus expell?d, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse,
Be my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust
That so ordains: this was at first resolvd,
If we were wise against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.

I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear,
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqu’ror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our supreme foe in time may much remit
His anger; and perhaps thus far remov’d,
Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their fames,
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or inur'd, not feel;
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform’d
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting; since our present lot appears
For happy, though but ill, for ill not worst;
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth;
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:

Either to disinthrone the King of heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost; him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former vain to hope, argues us vain
The latter: for what place can be for us
Within heav'n's bounds, unless heav'n's Lord supreng
We overpow'r? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws impos'd to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his godhead sing

Forc'd Hallelujah's; while he lordly sits
Our envied sov'reign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In heaven, this our delight? how wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd,
Unacceptable, though in heav'n, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse,
We can create; and in what place soe'er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain,
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth heav'n's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur'd,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne ; from whence deep thunders roar
Must'ring their rage, and heav'n resembles hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold :
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can heav'n show more!
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard

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