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Where scepter'd angels held their residence,
And set as princes; whom the supreme King
Exalted to such pow'r, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard, or unador'd,
In ancient Greece, and in Ausonian land
Men call'd him Mulciber; and how he fell
From heav'n, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements; froin inorn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
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 ought avail'd him now
T have built in heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he 'scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Of sov'reign pow'r, with awful ceremony
And trumpets sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn counsel forthwith to be held
At Pandamonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers: their summons calld
From every band and squared regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
With hundreds, and with thousands, trooping came
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
Defy'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 biss of rufling wings. As bees
In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides,
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
In clusters; they among fresh dews and Powers
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 airy crowd
Swarm'd and were straiten'd; till the signal given,
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 dance
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,
'Though without number still amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphic lords and Cherubiin
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.

Book the Second.

THE ARGUMENT. The consultation begun, Satan dibates whether wno

ther battle is 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 them. selves, 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 employ. ments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell-gate., finds them shut, and who sat there to guard ihem, by whom at lingth they are opened, and discover to him the gulf between hell and heaven; with what difficuity he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.


IGH on a throne of royal state, which far

Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Show’rs on her kings barharic pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd
To that bad eminence; and froin despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high; insatiate to pursue

Vain war with heaven; and, by success untaught, His proud imagination thus display'd:

Pow'rs and dominions, deities of heaven! For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppressid 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 theinselves 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 counsel or in fight, Hath been atchiev'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 heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw Envy from each inferior: but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thund'rer's aim Your bulwark, and condeinns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is then no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction: for none sure will claim in hell Precedence; none whose portion is so small Of present pain, that with ambitious mind Will covet more. With this advantage then To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, More than can be in heav'n, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old, Surer to prosper than prosperity Could have assured us; and by what best way, Whether of open war or covert guile, We now debate: who can advise, may speak.

He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, scepter'd king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit That fought in heav'n, now fiercer by despair: His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength; and radier than be less,

Car'd not to be at all ; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse
He reck'd not: and these words thereafter spake :

My sentence is for open war: of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: then let those
Contrive who need : or when they need, not now;
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit ling’ring here
Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny who reigns
By our delay? No, let us rather choose,
Arm’d with hell flames and fury, all at once
O'er heav'n's high tow'rs to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the torturer; when to meet the noise
of his almighty engine he shall bear
Infernal thunder: and for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels: and his throne itself
Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe.
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat: descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursu'd us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then;
Th’event is fear'd; should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction; if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroy'd. What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd,

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