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Of future we may deem him, though till now Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm’d, Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain, 431 Till now not known; but known, as soon con

temn'd; Since now we find this our empyreal form Incapable of mortal injury,

434 Imperishable, and though pierc'd with wound, Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd. Of evil then so small, as easy think The remedy; perhaps more valid arms, Weapons more violent, when next we meet, May serve to better us, and worse our foes ; 440 Or equal what between us made the odds, In nature none. If other hidden cause Left them superior, while we can preserve Unhurt our minds and understanding sound, Due search and consultation will disclose. 445

He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood Nisroch, of principalities the prime. As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight, Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn, And cloudy in aspect, thus answʼring spake: 450 Deliverer from new lords, leader to free Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard For Gods, and too unequal work we find, Against unequal arms to fight in pain, Against unpain’d, impassive; from which evil Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails Valour or strength, though matchless, quell’d

with pain

456

Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest ? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine, 460
But live content, which is the calmest life:
But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive, overturns
All patience. He who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend

465
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.

Whereto, with look compos’d, Satan reply'd: Not uninvented that, which thou aright 470 Believ'd so main to our success, I bring. Which of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious Heav'n, adorn'd With plant, fruit, flow'r ambrosial, gems, and gold; Whose eye so superficially surveys

476 These things, as not to mind from whence they

grow Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touch'd With Heaven's ray,and temper'd, they shoot forth So bounteous, op'ning to the ambient light? 481 These in their dark nativity the deep Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame; Which into hollow engines, long and round, Thick ramm’d, at th' other bore with touch of fire Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

486

From far, with thund'ring noise among our foes,
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd
The Thund'rer of his only dreaded bolt. 491
Nor long shall be our labour ; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and council join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair’d. 495

He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv’d.
Th’invention all admir'd, and each, how he
To be th' inventor miss'd; so easy' it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have
thought

500
Impossible; yet haply of thy race
In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With dev'lish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 505
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew;
None arguing stood ; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath 510
Th' originals of nature in their crude
Conception ; sulphurous and nitrous foam
They found, they mingled, and with subtle art,
Concocted and adusted they reduc'd
To blackest grain, and into store convey’d. 515

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