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Innumerable force of spirits arm'd,
That durst dislike his reign; and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power oppos'd
In dubious battel on the plains of heav'n,
And shook his throne. What though the field be
All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me to bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late
Doubted his empire, that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy and shame beneath
This downfal; since by fate the strength of gods
And this empyreal substance cannot fail;
Since through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanc'd,
with more successful hope resolve
To wage by force or guile eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,
Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning holds the tyranny of heav'n.
So spake th' apostate angel, though in pain, 125 Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair: And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer. O Prince, O chief of many throned Powers, That led th' imbattell'd seraphim to war Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endanger'd heaven's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy;
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate,
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
Hath lost us heav'n, and all this mighty host
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as gods and heavenly essences
Can perish for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
But what if he our conqueror, whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less [ours,
Than such could have o'erpower'd such force as
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service, as his thralls
181 perpetual] Consult Newton's note on the word 'perpetual.'
139 mind and spirit] So Satan in the Adamus Exsul of Grotius, p. 32, ed. Lauder.
Quam potuit, animis pristinum mansit decus,
Et cor, profunda providum sapientia;
Sunt reliqua nobis regna, sunt vires suæ,
140 Invincible] v. Eschyli Prometheus, ver. 1060.
- Ες τε κελαινον
Τάρταρον ἄρδην ρίψειε δέμας
Τοὐμὸν, ἀνάγκης στερῥαῖς δίναις.
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep:
What can it then avail, though yet we feel
Strength undiminish'd, or eternal being
To undergo eternal punishment?
Whereto with speedy words th' arch-fiend reply 1.
Fall'n cherub, to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight;
As being the contrary to his high will,
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which oft-times may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim.
But see! the angry victor hath recall'd
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heav'n: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heaven receiv'd us falling, and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
158 Doing or suffering] Quodvis pati, quidvis facere.' Plauti Miles. v. 9. See Pricæum ad Apulei Apolog. p. 165.
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep. Let us not slip th' occasion, whether scorn
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there,
And, reassembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy; our own loss how repair;
How overcome this dire calamity;
What reinforcement we may gain from hope; 190
If not, what resolution from despair.
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate,
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blaz'd; his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareüs, or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
177 To bellow] See Henry More's Poems, p. 314.
'The hoarse bellowing of the thunder.'
181 void] Dante Inf. c. v. 28.
'Luogo d'ogni luce muto.'
200 sea-beast] 'Equoreo similem per litora monstro.'
Leviathan, which GOD of all his works
Created hugest that swim th' ocean stream:
Him haply slumb'ring on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors by his side under the lee, while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:
So stretch'd out huge in length the arch-fiend lay,
Chain'd on the burning lake, nor ever thence
Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will
205 Deeming some island] At Sir William Drury's house in Hawstead in Suffolk (built in regn. Elizab.), is a closet with painted pannels of the age of James I. One (no. 36.) is a ship that has anchored on a whale which is in motion. The motto, 'nusquam tuta fides.' See Cullum's Hist. of Hawstead, p. 164, where is an engraving of it. 205 island] Thus Dionysii Perieg. 598.
Κήτεα θῖνες ἔχουσιν, ἐρυθραίου βοτὰ πόντου,
Οὔρεσιν ἠλιβάτοισιν ἐοικότα.
And so in the Orlando Innam. of Boiardo, rifac. da Berni, lib. ii. canto xiii. stan. 60.
'Il dosso sol mostrava ch' è maggiore
Ch' undici passi, ed anche più d'altezza,
E veramente, a chi la guarda, pare
Un' isoletta nel mezzo del mare.'
Compare also Avieni Disc. Orbis, p. 784-5, and Pia Hilaria, p. 92. Basil affirms that whales are equal to the greatest mountains, and their backs, when they show above the water, like to islands.' v. Brerewood on Languages, p. 133.
208 Invests] v. Stat. Theb. lib. v. 51.
'tellurem proximus umbrâ,