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What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck 165
With Heav'n'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, 170
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

175
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat’ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurl'd

180 Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport

and

prey Of wracking whirlwinds, and for ever sunk Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains ; There to converse with everlasting groans, Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,

185 Ages of hopeless end! this would be worse. War therefore, open or conceal'd, 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;

191 Not more almighty to resist our might

By my

Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell’d to suffer here

195 Chains and these torments ? better these than worse

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

200
That so ordains : this was at first resolvid,
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'rons, if that fail them, shrink and fear 205
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 súpreme 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 flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome

215 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

210

220

Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

225
Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd. ignoble case, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace : and after him thus Mammon spake.

EITHER to disenthrone the King of Heaven We war, if war be best, or to regain

230 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 as vain The latter : for what place can be for us

235 Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n’s Lord supreme 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

240 Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forc'd Hallelujahs ; while he lordly sits Our envied sov'reign, and his altar breathes Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,

245 Our servile offerings? This must be our task In Heav'n, 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

250 Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state · Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek

Of servile pomp

Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring

255 Hard liberty before the easy yoke

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 so e'er

260
Ihrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and indurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick cloud and dark doth Heav'n's all ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur’d,

265 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

270 Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew 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 Deeds remove The sensible of pain. All things invite To peaceful counsels, and the settled state Of order, how in safety best we may

280 Corpose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

275

285

All thoughts of war : ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd Th’assembly, as when hollow rocks retain The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Sea-faring men o'er-watch'd, whose bark by chance Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay After the tempest: Such applause was heard 29 As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd, Advising peace : for such another field They dreaded worse than Hell: so much the fear Of thunder and the sword of Michaël Wrought still within them; and no less desire 295 To found this nether empire, which might rise By policy, and long procéss of time, In emulation opposite to Heav'n. Which when Beëlzebub perceiv'd, than whom, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave 300 Aspéct he rose, and in his rising seem'd A pillar of state ; deep on his front engraven Deliberation sat and public care ; And princely counsel in his face yet shone, Majestic though in ruin : sage he stood

395 With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as night Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake.

THRONES and Imperial Pow'rs, Offspring of Heav'n, Ethereal Virtues; or these titles now

311 Must we renounce, and changing style be callid

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