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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
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
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,

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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

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

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Chains and these torments ? better these than worse
By 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

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

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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
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

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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
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

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

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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 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 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

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