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Dropt from the Zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos th’ Ægean isle; thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught availd him now
To have built in heaven high tow'rs; nor did he scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.
Mean while the winged haralds by command
Of sov’reign power, with awful ceremony
And trumpets' sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandæmonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers: their summons callid
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping came 760
Attended : all access was throng'd, the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall,
(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold
Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldan's chair
Defi'd the best of Panim chivalry
To mortal combat or career with lance,)
Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air,
Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees
In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
752 haralds] Par. Lost, 1st ed. Steevens' Shakesp. (Pericles) ed. 1793, vol. xiii. p. 489. 769 Taurus] v. Virg. Georg. i. 217.
•Candidus auratis erit cum cornibus annum
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,
New rubb’d with balm, expatiate, and confer
Their state affairs: so thick the aery crowd
Swarm’d and were straiten’d; till, the signal giv'n,
Behold a wonder! they, but now who seem'd
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that Pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side,
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduc'd their shapes immense, and were at large, 790
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
774 expatiate] i. e. walk abroad. v. Virg. Æn. iv. 62. Cic. Orat. iii. Ut palæstrice spatiari.' Todd.
784 dreams] See Ap. Rhod. Arg. iv. 1479. Virg. Æn. vi. 453. Todd. 785 arbitress) v. Hor. Ep. v. 49.
"Non infideles arbitre Nox et Diana. Heylin.
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult began.
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 honoured 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 them 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 the sight of this new world which he sought.
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
1 High] Compare with this the opening of the second book of Ovid's Metam.
"Regia solis erat,' &c. 2 Ormus) See View of Ormus, in Buckingham's Travels in Assyria, p. 428, 4to.
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais’d
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 display'd.
Powers and dominions, deities of heav'n!
For since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigor, though oppress'd and fall’n,
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 fix'd laws of heav'n
Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in council or in fight,
Hath been achiev'd of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more
Establish'd 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
4 barbaric] Lucret. lib. i. 500. •Barbaricæ vestes.' Euripid. Iph. Aul. 73. de Paride:
χρυσώ τε λάμπρος, βαρβάρω χλιδήματι, and Virg. Æn. ii. 504.