Imágenes de páginas






What, if the breath, that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold 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 horrours, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads? while we, perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurld
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of racking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapp'd in chains:
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
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 heaven's highth 190
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 resolved,
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 venturous, 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 Conquerour. 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 removed
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
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, inured, not feel;
Or changed at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper and in nature, will receive

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; 170. What, if the breath. Isa. xxx. 33. 1. 210. Supreme. Accent on the first oyi 191. Derides. Ps. ii. 4.










This horrour 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 clothed in reason's garb,
Counsell’d ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake:-

Either to disinthrone the King of Ileaven
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 heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord supreme
We overpower? 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 imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forced halleluiahs; while he lordly sits
Our envied Sovran, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In heaven, 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 heaven, 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, prosperous of adverse,
We can create; and in what place soe'er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? how oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth heaven's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar






20. Light. This is an adjective here, I to unthrone the King of Heaven: the In the sense of easy.

latter, to regain our own right lost. 233. Judge the strife, That is, between 263. How oft, &c. Ps, xviii. 11, 13, and the King of Heaven and Us. The former, xcvii. 2.






Mustering their rage, and heaven 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 heaven show more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires
As soft as now severe; our tem per changed
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
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
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.

He scarce had finish’d, when such murmur fill'd
The assembly, as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'erwatch'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 pleased,
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 process of time,
In emulation opposite to heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived, 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 Powers, Offspring of heaven,
Ethereal Virtues; or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be call'd
Princes of hell? for so the popular vote
Inclines, here to continue, and build up here
A growing empire; doubtless while we dream,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

315. Doubtless, dc.: that is, while we | an empire as we desire; and know not, drram undisturbed by any doubt, that that is, are unconscious that he desigus God will permit us to build up here such this place as our dungeon, &c.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

And know not that the King of Heaven hath doom'd
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne; but to remain
In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,
Under the inevitable curb, reserved

His captive multitude: for he, be sure,
. In highth or depth, still first and last will reign

Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt; but over hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us, and foil'd with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought: for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But to our power hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conquerour least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault, or siege,
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprize?" 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 power and excellence; but favour'd more
Of him who rules above: 80 was his will
Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath,
That shook heaven'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 attempted best,
By force or subtlety. Though heaven be shut,
And heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left,
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset; either with hell fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

The puny habitants; or if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion; and our joy upraise
In his disturbance: when his darling sons,
Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original and faded bliss,

Faded so soon. Advise, if this be worth
Attempting; or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.-Thus Beëlzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed. For whence,
But from the authour of all ill, could spring
So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of mankind in one root, and earth with hell
To mingle and involve, done all to spite
The great Creator? But their spite still serves
His glory to augment. The bold design
Pleased highly those infernal States, and joy
Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent
They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:-

Well have ye judged, well ended long debate, Synod of gods! and, like to what ye are, Great things resolved; which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms 395 And opportune excursion, we may chance Re-enter heaven; or else in some mild zone Dwell, not unvisited of heaven's fair light, Secure; and at the brightening orient beam Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we send In search of this new world? whom shall we find Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

405 And through the palpable obscure find out His uncouth way? or spread his aery flight, Upborne with undefatigable wings, Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive



367. Puny. As Milton so often used | tive used as a noun; so in line 409, the words in their original sense, he proba rast ABRUPT. Again, we sometimes find bly urey this for puisne or puisny, from two nouns together, the former of which the French puis ne, that is, post ratus, is used as an adjective, as the ocean "born afterwards," consequently, “ju-stream, i. 202; and bullion dross, i. 704 pior," " younger," and hence implying Milton often enriches his language in also *inferior." In this sense Bishop this manner.- NEWTOX. Hall, a contemporary, used the word: 409. Ere he arrire. Sbakspeare in two * The first antiquity is true; the puisne, or three places uses the verb arrive with posthumous antiquity hath been & re- out the preposition at, following; as, fage for falsehood."

But ere we could arrive the point proposed. 406. The palpable OBSCURE. An adjec!

Jul. Casar, Act I. Sc. ii.

« AnteriorContinuar »