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Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurla
Each on his rock, transfixid the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds, or forever sunk
Uuder yonboiling ocean.wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,

To perish rather, swallow'd 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

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To punish endless Wherefore cease we then?
Say they who counsel war, we are decreed,
Reserved, and destined, 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, pursued and struck
With Heaven'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. 169
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold 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, threatening 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, or forever 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 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 Heaven's height All these our motions vain sees and derides;

191 212

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 Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell’d, to suffer here
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
That so ordains: this was at first resolved,

201
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 venturous, 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 Conqueror: 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 removed,
Not mind us, not offending, satisfied
With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapor; or, inured, not feel ;
Or, changed 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;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting, since our present lot appears

223 For happy, though but ill, for ill not worst, If we procure not to ourselves more woe.”

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb,
Counsell'd ignoble ease, 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

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