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By rights 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'd:
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 delights
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: sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling; and the thunder
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
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 ;
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimm'ring 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 re-assembling our afflicted powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most otrend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair, 1
How overcome this dire calamity,
What re-inforcement we may gain from hope,
If not, what resolution from despair.
Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
With head uplift 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 liuge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr'd on Jove,
Briareos or Typhon whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast
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 skift
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
And high permission of all ruling heav'n
Left him at large to his own dark designs;
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, wbile he sought
Evil to others; and enrag'd might see
How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace and merey shown
On man by him seduc'd; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour d.
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature: on each hand the flames
Driv’n backward slope their pointing spires, and rolld
In billows, leave t'th' midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire;
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force
Of subterranean wind transports a hill.
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thund'ring Ætna, whose combustible
And fuel'd intrails, thence conceiving fire, ..
Sublim'd with mineral fury, aid the winds,
And leave a singed bottom all involv'd
With stench and smoke: such resting found the sole
Of unbless'd feet. Him follow'd his next mate,
Both glorying to have 'scap'd the Stygian flood
As gods, and by their own recover'd strength,
Not by the suff'rance of supernal power.
Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,
Said then the lost arch-angel, this the seat
That we must change for heav'n, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light?- Be it so, since he
Who now is sov'reign can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from him is best,
Whom reas'n hath equallid, force hath made supreme
· Above his equals. Farewell happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells: hail horrors, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell
Receive thy new possessor; one who brings
A mind not to be chang'd by place or time. .
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a heav'n of hell, a hell of heav'n..
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he.
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free? th' Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
To reign is worth ambition though in hell:
Better to reign in hell, than serve in heav'n.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends
Th'associates and co-partners of our loss
Lie thus astonish'd on th'oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regain'd in heav'n, or what more lost in hell?
So Satan spake, and him Beelzebub
Thus answer'd: Leader of those armies bright,
Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foil'd,
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle when it rag'd, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now lie
Grov'ling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we ere while, stounded and amaz'd,
No wonder, fall’n such a pernicious height.
He scarce had ceas'd when the superior fiend Was moving tow'rd the shore; his pond'rous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large and round, Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views At evening from the top of Fesole, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, Rivers or mountains in her spotty giobe. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the masti Of some great admiral, were but a wand, He walk'd with to support uneasy steps O'er the burning marble, (not like those steps : On heaven's azure and the torrid clime Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire. Nathless he so endur'd, till on the beach Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd His legions, angel-forms; who lay intranc'd Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks In Vallombrosa, where th' Etrurian shades High over-arch'd imbow'r; or scatter'd sedge Afloat, when with fierce winds Orian arınd
Hath vex'd the Red-sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursu'd
The sojourners of Goshan, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcases
And broken chariot-wheels; so thick bestrown
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He call'd so loud that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded. Princes, potentates,
Warriors, the flow'r of heav'n, once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize .
Eternal sp'rits; or have ye chos'n this place
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of heav'n?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scatter'd arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from heav'n-gates discern
Th' advantage, and descending tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulph.
Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.
They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung
Upon the wing; as when men wont to watch
On duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,
Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.
Nor did they not perceive the evil plight
In which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;
Yet to their general's voice they soon obey'd
Innumerable. As when the potent rod . Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Wav'd round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of iinpious Pharoah hung
Like night, and darken'd all the land of Nite:
So numberless were those bad angels seen