صور الصفحة
PDF

The latter; for what place can be for us
Within Heaven's bound, unless Heaven's Lord supreme
We overpower ? 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 imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forced hallelujahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes

244
Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, 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
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
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 Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear Then most conspicuous, when great things of small. Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse, We can create, and in what place soe’er Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain Through labor and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick cloud and dark doth Heaven's all-ruling Siri Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, And with the majesty of darkness round

2006 Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders rou Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell! As he vur darkness, cannot we his light Imitate when we please? This desert soil Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold, Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more? Our torments also may, in length of time, Become our elements; these piercing fires As soft as now severe, our temper changed Into their temper; which must needs remove 277

The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose 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
The assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 287
Seafaring men o'erwatch'd, whose bark by chance;
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard
As Mammon ended; and his sentence pleased,
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
To found this nether empire, which inight rise
By policy, and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.

298 Which when Beëlzebub perceived, than whoin, Satan except, none higher sat, with grave Aspect 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, With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention, still as night Or summer's noontide air, while thus he spake. 309

“ Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven, Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now Must we renounce, and, changing style, be call’d Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue, and build up here A growing empire; doubtless; while we dream, And know not that the King of Heaven hath dooin'd This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league Banded against his throne, but to remain

320

[ocr errors]

In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,
Under the inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude : for he, be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt; but over Flell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war? .
War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us, enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment,
Inflicted ? and what peace can we return,
But to our power hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel ?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need,

341
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place,
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not,) another world, the happy seat
Of some new race call'd Man, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favor'd more
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath,
That shook Heaven's whole circumference, confirm’d.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
Or substance, how endued, and what their power,
And where their weakness, how attempted best,
By force or subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achieved

363

[ocr errors]

By sudden onset, either with Hell fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,

873
Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss,
Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.” Thus Beëlzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But from the author of all ill, could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite

384 The great Creator? But their spite still serves His glory to augment. The bold design Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews.

"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, Synod of gods, and, like to what ye are, Great things resolved, which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence with neighboring arms And opportune excursion we may chance

396 Re-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zone Dwell, not un visited of Heaven's fair light, Secure, and at the brightening orient beam Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious air, To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send In search of this new world? whom shall we find Safficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss, And through the palpable obscure find out

406

416

His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy isle? what strength, what art, can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe
Through the strict senteries and stations thick
Of angels watching round? Here he had need
All circumspection, and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage ; for on whom we send
The weight of all, and our last hope, relies."

This said, he sat; and expectation held
His look suspense, awaiting who appear'd
To second, or oppose, or undertake,
The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and each
In others countenance read his own dismay,
Astonish'd: none among the choice and prime
Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found
So hardy as to profier or accept
Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last,
Satan, whom now trascendent glory raised
Above his fellows, with monarchal pride
Conscious of highest worth, unmoved, thus spake.

O Progeny of Heaven, empyreal Thrones !
With reason hath deep silence and demur
Seized us, though undismay'd: long is the way !
And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light;
Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire,
Outrageous to devour, immures us round
Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant,
Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress.
These pass'd, if any pass, the void profound
Of unessential Night receives him next,

438
Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being
Threatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf.
If thence he 'scape into whatever world,
Or unknown region, what remains him less
Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape?
But I should ill become this throne, O Peers,
And this imperial sovereignty, adorn'd
With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught proposed
And judged of public moment, in the shape
Of difficulty or danger, could deter

449

« السابقةمتابعة »