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Incapable of mortal injury,
Imperishable; and though pierc'd with wound,

Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small as easy think
The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes,
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none : if other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds, and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose.

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.

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Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious Heav'n, adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flower ambrosial, gems, and gold, 475
Whose eye so superficially surveys
These things, as not to mind from whence they grow,
Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till toucht
With Heav'ns ray, and temper'd they shoot forth
So beauteous, op'ning to the ambient light ?
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame,
Which into hollow engines long and round
Thick-ramm'd, at th other bore with touch of fire 485
Dilated and infuriate shall send forth
From far with thundring noise among our foes
Such implements of mischief as shall dash
To pieces, and o’erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm’d
The Thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Meanwhile revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and counsel join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair’d.”

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

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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,
Whom fled we thought, will save us long pursuit
This day, fear not his fight; so thick a cloud
He comes; and settl'd in his face I see
Sad resolution and secure : let each
His adamantine coat gird well, and each
Fit well his helm, gripe fast his orbed shield,
Borne ev'n or high, for this day will pour down,
If I conjecture aught, no drizzling show'r,
But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.”

“So warn'd he them aware themselves, and soon

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In order, quit of all impediment;
Instant without disturb they took alarm,
And onward move embattled: when behold
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
Approaching gross and huge; in hollow cube
Training his devilish enginry, impald
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud. At interview both stood
Awhile, but suddenly at head appear'd
Satan : and thus was heard commanding loud.

6“ Vanguard, to right and left the front unfold;
That all may see who hate us, how to seek
Peace and composure, and with open breast
Stand ready to receive them, if they like
Our overture, and turn not back perverse ;
But that I doubt, however witness Heaven,
Heav'n witness thou anon, while we discharge
Freely our part; ye who appointed stand
Do as you have in charge, and briefly touch
What we propound, and loud that all may hear."

“So scoffing in ambiguous words he scarce
Had ended ; when to right and left the front
Divided, and to either flank retir'd.
Which to our eyes discover'd new and strange,
A triple-mounted row of pillars laid
On wheels, (for like to pillars most they seem'd,
Or hollow'd bodies made of oak or fir
With branches lopt, in wood or mountain felld;'
Brass, iron, stony mould, had not their mouths
With hideous orifice gap't on us wide,
Portending hollow truce : at each behind
A seraph stood, and in his hand a reed
Stood waving tipt with fire ; while we suspense,
Collected stood within our thoughts amus'd;
Not long, for sudden all at once their reeds
Put forth, and to a narrow vent appli'd
With nicest touch. Immediate in a flame,
But soon obscur'd with smoke, all Heav'n appear'd,

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From those deep-throated engines belcht, whose roar
Embowell’d with outrageous noise the air,
And all her entrails tore, disgorging foul
Their devilish glut, chain'd thunderbolts and hail
Of iron globes, which on the victor host
Levell’d, with such impetuous fury smote,
That whom they hit, none on their feet might stand,
Though standing else as rocks, but down they fell
By thousands, angel on archangel roll'd;
The sooner for their arms, unarm’d they might 595
Have easily as spirits evaded swift
By quick contraction or remove; but now
Foul dissipation follow'd and forc't rout;
Nor sery'd it to relax their serried files.
What should they do? if on they rusht, repulse

Repeated, and indecent overthrow
Doubld, would render them yet more despis’d,
And to their foes a laughter; for in view
Stood rankt of seraphim another row
In posture to displode their second tire

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,

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