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That led the embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds

130
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, 135
Hath lost us Heaven, 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,

140
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.

But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now s! Of force believe Almighty, since no less

Than such could have o’erpower'd such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire 146
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be, 150
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.

155 Whereto with speedy words the Archfiend replied.

Fallen cherub! to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering : but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,

160
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 ;

165 Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps

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Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry victor hatlı recall’d
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

170
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Wing’d with red lightning and impetuous rage,

175 Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now To bellow through the vast and boundless deep Let us not slip the 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; 185 And, reassembling our afflicted Powers, Consult how we may henceforth most offend Pur 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 uplift above the wave, and eyes That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides Prone on the flood, extended long and large,

19 Lay floating many a rood ; in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous size, Titanian, or Earth-born, that war'd on Jove Briarios or Typhon, whom the den By ancient Tarsus held; or that seabeast 201 Leviathan, which God of all his works Created hugest that swim the ocean stream: Hima, haply, slumbering on the Norway foam The pilot of some small night-founder'd skifl'

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 205
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 Archfiend lay,
Chain’d on the burning lake: nor ever thence 210
Had risen, or heaved his head; but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Left him at large to his own dark designs;
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215
Evil to others; and, enraged, might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shown
On Man by him seduced; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance, pour'd. 220
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature : on each hand the flames,
Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and rollid
In billows, leave i’ the midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225
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 tne lake with liquid fire :
And such appeared in hue, as when the force 230
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thundering Ætna, whose combustible
And fuel'd entrails thence conceiving firo,
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, 235
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoke : such resting found the sole
Of unbless'd feet. Him follow'd his next mate :
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength, 240
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,

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Said then the lost Archangel, this the seat
That we must change for Heaven; this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so! since he,

245
Who now is Sov'reign, can dispose and bid
What shall be right: furthest from him is best,
Whom reason hath equal’d, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy for ever dwells ! Hail horrors ! hail, 250
Infernal world! And thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor! one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time :
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. 255
What matter where, if the 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; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy; will not drive us hence : 260
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 Heaven !
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
The associates and copartners of our loss 265
Lie thus astonished on the 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 Heaven, or what more lost in Hell? 270

So Satan spake; and him Beelzebub
Thus answer'd. Leader of those armies bright,
Which but the Omnipotent none could have foil'd!
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers, heard so oft 275
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal, they will soon resume
New courage and revive; though now they lie
Groveling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,

280

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As we erewhilo, astounded and amazed :
No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height.

He scarce had ceased, when the superior Fiend Was moving toward the shore : his pondorous shield, Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,

285 Behind him cast; the broad circumference Hung on his shoulders like the nioon, whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views At Evening from the top of Fesolé, Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,

290 Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe. His spear, to equal which the tallest pine Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast Or some great ammiral, were but a wand, He walk'd with, to support uneasy steps

295 Over the burning marle, not like those steps On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire: Nathless he so endured, till on the beach Of that inflamed sea he stood, and callid

300 His legions, Angel forms, who lay entranced Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks, In Vallambrosa, where the Etrurian shades, High overarch'd, imbower; or scatter'd sedge Ahoat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd 305 Hath vex'd the Red Seacoast, whose waves o'erthrew Busiris and his Memphian chivalry, While with perfidious hatred they pursued The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld From the safe shore their floating carcasses 310 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,

315 Warriors, the flower of Heaven! once yours, now lost, If such astonishment as this can seizo Eternal Spirits; or have ye chosen this place

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