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What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Than wise to frustrate all our plote and wiles.
200 That so ordains : this was at first resolv'd, 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 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 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 conformid. In temper and in nature, will receive Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; This horror will grow mild, this darkness light, 220 Besides what hope the never-ending flight Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
EITHER to disenthrone the King of Heaven
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
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own .
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 unobscuc'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 275 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
280 Corpose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
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 285 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 290 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 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
305 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.
Turones and Imperial Pow'rs, Offspring of Hear'n, Ethereal Virtues; or these titles now
311 Must we renounce, and changing style be call'd