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Choose to reside, his glory unobscurid,

His empire, and with iron sceptre rule And with the majesty of darkness round

Us here, as with his golden those in Heav'n. Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar, What! sit we then projecting peace or war? Must'ring their rage, and Heav’n resembles Hell? War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss As he our darkness, cannot we his light

Irreparable; terms of peace yet none Imitate when we please? This desart soil

Vouchsaf’d or sought; for what peace will be given Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; To us enslav'd, but custody severe, Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more? Inflicted ? and what peace can we return Our torments also may in length of time

But to our power hostility and hate, Become our elements; these piercing fires

Untam'd reluctance, and revenge, though slow, As soft as now severe ; our temper chang’d

Yet ever plotting how the Conqu’ror least Into their temper; which must needs remove May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice The sensible of pain. All things invite

In doing what we most in suffering feel? To peaceful councils, and the settled state

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need, Of order, how in safety best we may

With dangerous expedition, to invade Compose our present evils, with regard

Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

Or ambush from the deep. What, if we find All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise. Some easier enterprise ? There is a place

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fillid (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav'n Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain

Err not) another world, the happy seat The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long Of some new race call’d Man, about this time Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull To be created like to us, though less Sea-faring men o'erwatch'd, whose bark by chance In power and excellence, but favour'd more Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay

Of Him who rules above; so was his will After the tempest: such applause was heard Pronounc'd among the Gods, and, by an oath, As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd, That shook Heav'n'swholecircumference, confirm'd. Advising peace : for such another field

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear What creatures there inhabit, of what mould Of thunder and the sword of Michael

Or substance, how endu'd, and what their power, Wrought still within them; and no less desire And where their weakness, how attempted best, To found this nether empire, which might rise By force or subtlety. Though Heav'n be shut, By policy, and long process of time,

And Heav'n's high Arbitrator sit secure In emulation opposite to Heav'n.

In his own strength, this place may lie expos’d, Which, when Beelzebub perceiv'd, than whom The utmost border of his kingdom, left Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

To their defence who hold it: here perhaps Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd

Some advantageous act may be achiev'd A pillar of state; deep on his front ingraven By sudden onset, either with Hell-fire Deliberation sat, and public care ;

To waste his whole creation, or possess And princely counsel in his face yet shone

All as our own, and drive, as we were driver, Majestic, though in ruin : sage he stood,

The puny habitants; or if not drive, With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear

Seduce them to our party, that their God The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Drew audience and attention still as night

Abolish his own works. This would surpass Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake: Common revenge, and interrupt his joy

Thrones and imperial pow'rs, offspring of In our confusion, and our joy upraise Ethereal virtues; or these titles now

(Heav'n, In his disturbance; when his darling sons, Must we renounce, and changing stile, be call'd Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote

Their frail original, and faded bliss, loclines, here to continue, and build up here

Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth A growing empire; doubtless, while we dream, Attempting, or to sit in darkness here And know not that the King of Heav'n hath doom'd Hatching vain empires. Thus Beelzebub This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devis'd Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt

By Satan, and in part propos’d: for whence, From Heav'n's high jurisdiction, in new league But from the author of all ill, could spring Banded against his throne, but to remain

So deep a malice, to confound the race In strictest bondage, tho' thus far remov’d,

Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell Under th' inevitable curb reserv'd

To mingle and involve, done all to spite His captive multitude: for be, be sure,

The great Creator? But their spite still serves In height or depth, still first and last will reign His glory to augment. The bold design Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part

Pleas’d highly those infernal states, and joy By our revolt, but over Hell extend

Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent

They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews: These royalties, and not refuse to reign,

Well have ye judg’d, well ended long debate, Refusing to accept as great a share
Synod of Gods, and like to what ye are,

Of hazard as of honour, due alike
Great things resolv’d, which from the lowest deep To him who reigns, and so much to him due
Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate,

Of hazard more, as he above the rest
Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view [arms High honour'd sits? Go, therefore, mighty powers,
Of those bright confines, whence with neighb'ring Terror of Heav'n, tho' fall'n; intend at home,
And opportune excursion, we may chance

While here shall be our home, what best may ease Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some mild zone The present misery, and render Hell Dwell not unvisited of Heav'n's fair light

More tolerable; if there be cure or charm Secure, and at the brightening orient beam

To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious air,

Of this ill mansion : intermit no watch To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, [send Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we

Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek In search of this new world? whom shall we find Deliverance for us all: this enterprise Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand'ring feet None shall partake with me. Thus saying, rose The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

The monarch, and prevented all reply, And through the palpable obscure find out

Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd, His uncouth way, or spread his airy light,

Others among the chief might offer now Upborne with indefatigable wings

(Certain to be refus’d) what erst they fear'd; Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

And so refus’d, might in opinion stand The happy isle; what strength, what art can then His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they Through the strict senteries and stations thick

Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice Of angels watching round? Here he had need

Forbidding; and at once with him they rose; All circumspection, and we now no less

Their rising all at once was as the sound Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send, Of thunder heard remote. Tow'rds him they bend The weight of all and our last hope relies.

With awful reverence prone; and as a God This said, he sat; and expectation held

Extol him equal to the High’st in Heav'n: His looks suspense, awaiting who appear'd

Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, To second, or oppose, or undertake

That for the general safety he despis’d The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

His own: for neither do the spirits damn'd Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts; and each Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast In other's count'nance read his own dismay, Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, Astonish'd: none among the choice and prime Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal. Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found Thus they their doubtful consultations dark So hardy as to proffer or accept

Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief: Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last

As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais'd

Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread Above his fellows, with monarchal pride

Heav'n's cheerful face, the louring element Conscious of highest worth, unmov’d, thus spake: Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow,or shower;

O progeny of Heav'n! empyreal thrones! If chance the radiant sun with farewel sweet With reason hath deep silence and demur

Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive, Seiz'd us, though undismay’d: long is the way, The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire,

O shame to men, devil with devil damn'd Outrageous to devour, immures us round

Firm concord holds, men only disagree Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant

Of creatures rational, tho' under hope Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress.

Of heav'nly grace: and God proclaiming peace, These pass'd, if any pass, the void profound

Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife Of unessential night receives him next

Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being

Wasting the earth, each other, to destroy: Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. As if (which might induce us to accord) If thence he 'scape, into whatever world,

Man had not hellish foes enow besides, Or unknown region, what remains him less

That day and night for his destruction wait. Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ?

The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth But I should ill become this throne, O Peers! In order came the grand infernal peers: And this imperial sov’reignty, adorn'd

Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught propos'd Alone the antagonist of Heav'n, nor less And judg'd of public moment, in the shape

Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme, Of difficulty or danger could deter

And godlike imitated state; him round Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume A globe of fiery seraphim inclos'd

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With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms. Four ways their flying march along the banks
Then of their session ended they bid cry

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
With trumpets' regal sound the great result: Into the burning lake their baleful streams;
Tow'rds the four winds four speedy cherubim Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate ;
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy

Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep;
By herald's voice explain'd; the hollow abyss Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud,
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell

Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon,
With deafʼning shout return'd them loud acclaim. Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat Far off from these a slow and silent stream,
rais'd

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers Her wat’ry labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Leads him, perplex'd where he may likeliest find Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
The irksome hours, till his great chief return. Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Upon the wing, or in swift race contend,

Of ancient pile; or else deep snow and ice,
As at th' Olympian games or Pythian fields. A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal

Betwixt Damjata and Mount Casius old,
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form, Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air
As when to warn proud cities war appears

Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire.
Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush Thither, by harpy-footed furies haled,
To battle in the clouds, before each van

At certain revolutions, all the damn'd
Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms Of fierce extremes, by change more fierce,
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns. From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Others, with vast Typhæan rage more fell,

Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round,
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar, Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown's

They ferry over this Lethean sound
With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, And wish and struggle as they pass, to reach
And Lichas from the the top of Oeta threw

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
Into th' Euboic sea. Others more mild,

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
Retreated in a silent valley, sing

All in one moment, and so near the brink;
With notes angelical to many a harp,

But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt
Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall

Medusa with Gorgonian terror, guards
By doom of battle; and complain that fate

The ford, and of itself the water flies
| Free virtue should inthrall to force or chance. . All taste of living wight, as once it fled
Their song was partial, but the harmony

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
(What could it less when spirits immortal sing ?) In confus'd march forlorn, th' advent'rous bands,
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment

With shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghast,
The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet View'd first their lamentable lot, and found
(For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale
Others apart sat on a hill retired,

They pass'd, and many a region dolorous,
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high O’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of
Fix'd fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute,

A universe of death, which God by curse [death,
And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.

Created evil, for evil only good,
Of good and evil much they argu'd then,

Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Of happiness and final misery,

Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Passion and apathy, and glory and shame,

Abominable, unutterable, and worse
Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy:

Than fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceiv'd,
Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm

Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.
Pain for a while, or anguish, and excite

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man,
Fallacious hope, or arm th’ obdured breast

Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of high’st design, With stubborn patience'as with triple steel.

Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of Hell
Another part, in squadrons and gross bands

Explores his solitary flight; sometimes
On bold adventure to discover wide

He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left,
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps

Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Might yield them easier habitation, bend

Up to the fiery concave towering high.

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As when far off at sea a fleet descry'd

Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more, Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds

Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment, Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles

False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings,
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring

Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood Thy ling'ring, or with one stroke of this dart
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape

Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.
Ply stemming nightly tow'rd the pole. So seem'd So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
Far off the flying fiend: at last appear

So speaking and so threat’ning, grew ten-fold Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid roof,

More dreadful and deform: on th' other side, And thrice three-fold the gates; three folds were

Incens'd with indignation, Satan stood Three iron, three of adamantine rock, (brass, Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd, Impenetrable, impal’d with circling fire,

That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge Yet unconsum'd. Before the gates there sat In the Arctic sky, and from his horrid hair On either side a formidable shape;

Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair, Level'd his deadly aim; their fatal hands But ended foul in many a scaly fold

No second stroke intend, and such a frown Voluminous and vast, a serpent arm'd

Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds, With mortal sting: about her middle round With Heav'n's artillery fraught, come rattling on A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark'd

Over the Caspian, then stand front to front With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung Hov’ring a space, till winds the signal blow A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, To join their dark encounter in mid air: If aught disturb’d their noise, into her womb, So frown'd the mighty combatants, that Hell And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd Grew darker at their frown, so match'd they stood; Within, unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these For never but once more was either like Vex'd Scylla bathing in the sea that parts

To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore:

Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung, Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when callid Had not the snaky sorceress that sat In secret, riding through the air she comes,

Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. With Lapland witches, while the lab’ring moon O father, what intends thy hand, she cry'd, Eclipses at their charms. The other shape, Against thy only son? What fury, O son ! If shape it might be call'd that shape had none Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,

Against thy father's head? and know'st for whom; Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, For him who sits above and laughs the while For each seem'd either; black it stood as night, At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,

Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids ; And shook a dreadful dart: what seem'd his head, His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both. The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

She spake, and at her words the hellish pest Satan was now at hand, and from his seat

Forbore. Then these to her Satan return'd. The monster moving, onward came as fast

So strange the outcry, and thy words so strange With horrid strides: Hell trembled as he strode. Thou interposest, that my sudden hand Th' undaunted fiend what this might be admir'd; Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except What it intends ; till first I know of thee, Created thing naught valued he or shunn'd; What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why And with disdainful look thus first began:

In this infernal vale, first met, thou call'st Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son ; That dar’st, though grim and terrible, advance I know thee not, nor ever saw till now Thy miscreated front athwart my way

Sight more detestable than him and thee. To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass, T' whom thus the portress of Hell-gate replied: That be assur’d, without leave ask'd of thee: Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of Heav'n. In Heav'n, when at th' assembly, and in sight

To whom the goblin full of wrath reply'd: Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd
Art thou that traitor angel, art thou he

In bold conspiracy against Heav'n's King,
Who first broke peace in Heav'n and faith, till then All on a sudden miserable pain
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms

Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Conjur'd against the High’st, for which both thou Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright, To waste eternal days in woe and pain?

Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm'd And reckons't thou thyself with spirits of Heav'n, Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here, and scorn, All th’ host of Heav'n; back they recoil'd afraid

At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a sign

Befall'n us unforeseen, unthought of; know Portentous held me; but familiar grown,

I come no enemy, but to set free I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won

From out this dark and dismal house of pain, The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft

Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly host Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing,

Of spirits that in our just pretences arm’d, Becam'st enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st Fell with us from on high : from them I go With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd

This uncouth errand sole, and one for all A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,

Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein re- Th’unfounded deep, and through the void immense (For what could else ?) to our almighty Foe (main'd To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold Clear victory, to our part loss and rout

Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now Through all the empyrean, down they fell,

Created vast and round, a place of bliss Drivin headlong from the pitch of Heav’n down In the purlieus of Heav'n, and therein plac'd Into this deep, and in the general fall

A race of upstart creatures, to supply I also; at which time this powerful key

Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd, Into my hand was given, with charge to keep Lest Heav'n, surcharg'd with potent multitude, These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Might hap to move new broils : be this or aught Without my op'ning. Pensive here I sat

Than this more secret now design’d, I haste Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb,

To know, and this once known, shall soon return, Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, And bring ye to the place where thou and Death Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes.

Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, Wing silently the buxom air, embalm'd Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,

With odours; there ye shall be fed and fillid Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey. Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew

He ceas’d; for both seem'd highly pleas'd, and Transform'd: but he my inbred enemy

Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear (Death Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart

His famine should be fill’d, and blest his maw, Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out Death; Destin’d to that good hour: no less rejoic'd Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire: From all her caves, and back resounded Death. The key of this infernal pit by due, I fled, but he pursued (though more, it seems, And by command of Heav'ns all-powerful King, Inflam'd with lust than rage) and swifter far, I keep, by him forbidden to unlock Me overtook, his mother, all dismay'd,

These adamantine gates: against all force And in embraces forcible and foul

Death ready stands to interpose his dart, Ingendering with me, of that rape begot

Fearless to be o'ermatch'd by living might. These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry But what owe I to his commands above, Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceiv'd Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down And hourly born, with sorrow infinite

Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, To me; for when they list, into the womb

To sit in hateful office here confin'd, That bred them, they return and howl, and gnaw

Inhabitant of Heav'n, and heav'nly born, My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth Here in perpetual agony and pain, Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, With terrors and with clamours compass'd round That rest or intermission none I find.

Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? Before mine eyes in opposition sits

Thou art my father, thou my author; thou Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, My being gav'st me; whom should I obey And me his parent would full soon devour

But thee, whom follow thou wilt bring me soon For want of other prey, but that he knows

To that new world of light and bliss, among His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I The Gods who live at ease, where I shall reign Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,

At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems Whenever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd. Thy daughter and thy darling, without end. But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope

Sad instrument of all our woe, she took ; To be invulnerable in those bright arms,

And tow'rds the gate rolling her bestial train, Though temper’d heav'nly, for that mortal dint, Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew, Save he who reigns above, none can resist.

Which but herself not all the Stygian powers
She finish'd ; and the subtle fiend his lore Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns
Soon learn'd, now milder; and thus answer'd Th’intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
smooth:

Of massy iron or solid rock, with ease
Dear daughter, since thou claim'st me for thy sire, Unfastens: on a sudden open fly,
And my fair son here shew'st me, the dear pledge With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
Of dalliance had with thee in Heav'n, and joys

Th’infernal doors, and on their binges grate Then sweet, now sad to mention through dire change Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook

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