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With dang rous expedition to invade Heav'n, 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 pow'r and excellence, but favour'd more 350 Of him who rules above; so was his will Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an oatlı, That shook Heav’n’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 attenipted best, By force or subtlety.

Though Heav'n be shut, And Heav’n’s high arbitrator sit secure In his own strength, this place may lie expos’d, 360 The utmost border of his kingdom, left To their defence who hold it: here perhaps Some advantageous act may de atchiev'd By sudden onset, either with Hell fire To waste his whole creation, or possess All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,

habitants, or if not drive, Seduce theni to our party, that their God May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370

revenge, and interrupt liis joy VOL, I.

'The

puny

Common

In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurld 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 devis'd
By Satan, and in part propos’d: for whence, 380
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
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleas'd 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 judg’d, well ended long debate, 390
Synod of Gods, and like to what ye are,
Great things resolv’d, 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 neighb’ring

arms

And opportune excursion we may chance
Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some mild zone
Dwell not unvisited of Heav'n's fair light
Secure, and at the brightning orient beam
Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious air, 400

To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
Shall breathe her bulm. But first whom shall we

send
In search of this new world? Whom shall we find
Sufficient? Who shall tempt with wand'ring feet
The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his airy fight
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

411 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 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, 420 Pondoring the danger with deep thoughts; and each In others count'nance read his own dismay Astonish’d: none among the choice and prime Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found

as to proffer or accept Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais’d Above his fellows, with monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake.

So hardy

2

O Progeny of Heav'n, empyreal Thrones, 430 With re:son hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd 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 Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens nim, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence lie '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 Pcers, And this imperial sov'reignty, adorn'd With splendour, arın'd with pow'r, if ought pro«

pes'd And judg'd of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I assume 450 These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike To hiin who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest Higin honour'd sits ? Go therefore, mighty Powers, Terror of Heav'n, though fall’n; intend at home, While here shall be our home, wliat best may ease

The present misery, and render Hell
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 460
To respite, or receive, or slack the pain
of this ill mansion: intermit no watch
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek
Deliverance for us all: this enterprise
None shall partake with me. Thus saying, rose
The Monarch, and prevented all reply,
Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd
Others among the chief might offer now
(Certain to be refús’d) what erst they fear’d; 470
And so refus'd might in opinion stand
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute
Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they
Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice
Forbidding; at once with him they rose;
Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote. Tow’ards him they bend
With awful reverence prone; and as a God
Extol him equal to the high’st in Heaven :
Nor fail'd they toexpress how much they prais’d, 480
That for the general safety he despis'd
His own: for neither do the Spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue ; lest bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal.
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended rejoicing in their matchless chief:
As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds

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