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Op’ning their brazen folds, discover wide
Meanwhile the winged heralds, by command
Of sov’reign pow'r, with aweful ceremony
755 At Pandemonium, the high capital Of Satan and his peers : their summons callid From ev'ry band and squared regiment By place or choice the worthiest; they anon With hundreds and with thousands trooping came Attended. All access was throng’d, the gates 761 And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a cover'd field, where champions
bold Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldan's chair Defy'd the best of Panim chivalry
765 To mortal combat, or carreer with lance) Thick swarmd, both on the ground and in the air, Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their pop'lous youth about the hive 770 In clusters; they among fresh dews and flow'rs Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suberb of their straw-built citadel, New rubb’d with balm, expatiate and confer Their state affairs. So thick the aery crowd 775 Swarm’d and were straiten’d; till the signal giv'n, Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons, Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Throng numberless; like that pygmean race 780
Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves,
795 A thousand Demi-gods on golden seats, Frequent and full. After short silence then And summons read, the great consult began.
END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be bazarded
for the recovery of Heaven : some advise it, others dissuade : A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal or not much inferior to themselves, about this time to be created: Their doubt wbo sball be sent on this difficult search : Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on bis journey to Hell-gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are opened, and discover to bim the gulf between Hell and Heaven ; with what difficulty be passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new world which be sought.