« AnteriorContinuar »
With dang rous expedition to invade Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Or ambush from the deep. What if we find Some easier enterprise? There is a place, (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven Err not) another world, the happy seat Of some new race call'd Man, about this time To be created like to us, though less In pow'r and excellence, but favour'd more 350 Of him who rules above; so was his will Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an oatlı, That shook Heav’n’s whole circumference, confirm'd. Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould Or substance, how endued, and what their power, And where their weakness, how attenipted best, By force or subtlety.
Though Heav'n be shut, And Heav’n’s high arbitrator sit secure In his own strength, this place may lie expos’d, 360 The utmost border of his kingdom, left To their defence who hold it: here perhaps Some advantageous act may de atchiev'd By sudden onset, either with Hell fire To waste his whole creation, or possess All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
habitants, or if not drive, Seduce theni to our party, that their God May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370
revenge, and interrupt liis joy VOL, I.
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
Well have ye judg’d, well ended long debate, 390
And opportune excursion we may chance
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
411 Through the strict senteries and stations thick Of Angels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection, and we now no less Choice in our suffrage ; for on whom we send, The weight of all our last hope relies.
This said, he sat; and expectation held His look suspense, awaiting who appear’d To second, or oppose, or undertake The perilous attempt : but all sat mute, 420 Pondoring the danger with deep thoughts; and each In others count'nance read his own dismay Astonish’d: none among the choice and prime Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found
as to proffer or accept Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais’d Above his fellows, with monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake.
O Progeny of Heav'n, empyreal Thrones, 430 With re:son hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay'd: long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant Barr'd over us prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens nim, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence lie 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape? But I should ill become this throne, O Pcers, And this imperial sov'reignty, adorn'd With splendour, arın'd with pow'r, if ought pro«
pes'd And judg'd of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger, could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I assume 450 These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike To hiin who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest Higin honour'd sits ? Go therefore, mighty Powers, Terror of Heav'n, though fall’n; intend at home, While here shall be our home, wliat best may ease
The present misery, and render Hell