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Incapable of mortal injury,
445 'He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood Nisroch, of Principalities the prime; As one he stood escap't from cruel fight, Sore toil'd, his riv'n arms to havoc hewn, And cloudy in aspect thus answering 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
455 Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd with pain 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 perfet 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 repli'd. “Not uninvented that, which thou aright Believ'st so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surface
495 "He ended; and his words their drooping cheer Enlight'nd, and their languisht 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 Impossible: yet haply of thy race
501 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 minglid, and with subtle art, Concocted and adusted they reduc'd To blackest grain, and into store convey'd : Part hidd'n veins digg'd up (nor hath this earth Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, Whereof to found their engines and their balls Of missive ruin; part incentive reed Provide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
520 So all ere day-spring, under conscious night Secret they finish'd, and in order set, With silent circumspection unespi’d.
Now when fair Morn orient in Heav'n appear'd Up rose the victor angels, and to arms
525 The matin trumpet sung: in arms they stood Of golden panoply, refulgent host, Soon banded; others from the dawning hills Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, Each quarter, to descry the distant foe,
530 Where lodg’d, or whither fled, or if for fight, In motion, or in halt: him soon they met Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow But firm battalion; back with speediest sail Zophiel, of cherubim the swiftest wing,
535 Came flying, and in mid air aloud thus cri’d.
-“Arm, warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,
“So warn'd he them aware themselves, and soon
In order, quit of all impediment;
6“ Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
“So scoffing in ambiguous words he scarce
From those deep-throated engines belcht, whose roar
605 Of thunder: back defeated to return They worse abhorr'd. Satan beheld their plight, And to his mates thus in derision call'd.
66 O friends, why come not on these victors proud ? Erewhile they fierce were coming, and when we, 610 To entertain them fair with open front And breast, (what could we more ?) propounded terms Of composition, straight they chang'd their minds, Flew off, and into strange vagaries fell, As they would dance, yet for a dance they seem'd 615 Somewhat extravagant and wild, perhaps For joy of offer'd peace : but I suppose If our proposals once again were heard, We should compel them to a quick result.”
To whom thus Belial, in like gamesome mood. 620 “ Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home, Such as we might perceive amus'd them all,