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What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak'd should blow them into sev❜nfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? what if all
Her stores were open'd, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurl'd
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and
Of wracking whirlwinds, and for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,


Ages of hopeless end! this would be worse.
War therefore, open or conceal'd, alike

My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye






Views all things at one view? he from Heav'n's height All these our motions vain sees and derides;

Not more almighty to resist our might


Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.

Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expell'd to suffer here
Chains and these torments? better these than worse
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,

The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust
That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold
And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear
What yet they know must follow, to endure
Exile, or ignominy', or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqu'ror: this is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our supreme foe in time may much remit





His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd

Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd

With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.

Our purer essence then will overcome


Their noxious vapour, or inur'd not feel,

Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain;

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light,
Besides what hope the never-ending flight


Of future days may bring, what chance, what change

Worth waiting, since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

THUS Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb
Counsel'd ignoble case, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace and after him thus Mammon spake.
EITHER to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost : him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife:
The former vain to hope argues as vain
The latter for what place can be for us




Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord supreme
We overpow'r? Suppose he should relent,
And publish grace to all, on promise made

Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd Hallelujahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied sov❜reign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,



Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
By force impossible, by leave obtain❜d
Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek


Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke

Of servile pomp Our greatness will appear

Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse


We can create, and in what place so e'er


Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain

Through labour and indurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst

Thick cloud and dark doth Heav'n's all ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur'd,


And with the majesty of darkness round

Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar
Must'ring their rage, and Heav'n resembles Hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light

Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements, these piercing fires

As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd

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To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard




Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

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All thoughts of war: ye have what I advise.

HE scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd
Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long
Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'er-watch'd, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay

After the tempest: Such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd,
Advising peace: for such another field

They dreaded worse than Hell: so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël



Wrought still within them; and no less desire


To found this nether empire, which might rise
By policy, and long procéss of time,

In emulation opposite to Heav'n.

Which when Beelzebub perceiv'd, than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave


Aspéct he rose, and in his rising seem'd

A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;

And princely counsel in his face yet shone,

Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood


With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear

The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look

Drew audience and attention still as night

Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake.

THRONES and Imperial Pow'rs, Offspring of Heav'n,

Ethereal Virtues; or these titles now

Must we renounce, and changing style be call'd


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