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Heav'n's purest light, yet our Great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th' ethereal mould
Incapable of stain would soon expel 140
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire
Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope
Is flat despair. We must exasperate
Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure, 145
To be no more? Sad cure; for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night, 150
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever. How he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he so wise, let loose at once his ire, 155
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves
To punish endless ? Wherefore cease we then ?
Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, 160
Reserv’d, and destin'd, to eternal woe?
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ?
What when we fled amain, pursu'd and struck 165
With Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought

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The deep to shelter us? This Hell then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds : or when we lay
Chain'd on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awak'd should blow them into sev’nfold rage, 171
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 175
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd 180
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wracking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpity'd, unrepriev'd,

185 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 Heav'n's height

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 Heav'n Thus trampled, thus expell’d to suffer here 195

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 200 That so ordains. This was at first resolv'd, 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 vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear What yet they know must follow, to endure 206 Exile or ignominy, or bonds, or pain, The sentence of their Conqu’ror. This is now Our doom ; which if we can sustain and bear, Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit 210 His

anger, and perhaps, thus far remov'd, Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. Our purer essence then will overcome 215 Their noxious vapour, or inur'd not feel, Or chang’d at length, and to the place conform’d In temper and in nature, will receive Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; This horror will grow mild, this darkness light, Besides what hope the never-ending flight 221 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,

1

If we procure not to ourselves more woe.

225
Thus Belial with words, cloth'd in reason's garb,
Counsel'd ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not

peace: and after him thus Mammon spake:
Either to disenthrone the King of Heav'n
We war, if war be best, or to regain 230
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 235
Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord

Supreme
We overpow'r? 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 240
Strict laws impos’d, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing
Forc'd hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envy'd Sov’reign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flow'rs, 245
Our servile off'rings? This must be our task
In Heav'n, 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 250
Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state
Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own

VOL. I.

Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 255
Hard liberty before the easy yoke

Our
greatness will

appear Then most conspicuous, when great things of

Of servile pomp.

small,

Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse
We can create, and in what place soe'er 260
Thrive under ev'l, and work ease out of pain
Thro' labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread ? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heav'n's all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscur’d, 265
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne;from whence deepthunders roar,
Must’ring their rage, and Heav'n resembles Hell?
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desart soil 270
Wants not our hidden lustre, gems, and gold;
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise
Magnificence: and what can Heav’n shew more?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements; these piercing fires 275
As soft as now severe, our temper chang’d
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

280 Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

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