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Of Babel, and the works of Memphian kings, At Pandemonium, the high capital
Learn how their greatest monuments of fame Of Satan and his peers: their summons call'd
And strength and art are easily out-done

From every band and squared regiment
By spirits reprobate, and in an hour

By place or choice the worthiest ; they anon What in an age they with incessant toil,

With hundreds and with thousands trooping came And hands innumerable scarce perform.

Attended : all access was throng'd, the gates, Nigh on the plain in many cells prepar'd,

And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall That underneath had veins of liquid fire

(Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold Sluic'd from the lake, a second multitude

Wont ride in arm'd, and at the Soldan's chair With wondrous art founded the massy ore,

Defy'd the best of Pánim chivalry Sev'ring each kind, and scumm’d the bullion dross; To mortal combat, or career with lance) A third as soon had form’d within the ground Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air, A various mould, and from the boiling cells, Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees By strange conveyance, fill'd each hollow nook, In spring-time, when the sun with Taurus rides, As in an organ from one blast of wind

Pour forth their populous youth about the hive To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.

In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Anon out of the earth a fabric huge

Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, Rose like an exhalation, with the sound

The suburb of their straw-built citadel, Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,

New rubb'd with balm, expatiate and conser Built like a temple, where pilasters round

Their state affairs. So thick the airy crowd Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid

Swarm'd and were straiten'd; till the signal given, With golden architrave; nor did there want Behold a wonder! they but now who seem'd Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven; In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons, The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,

Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room Nor great Alcairo such magnificence

Throng numberless, like that Pygmean race Equall'd in all their glories, to enshrine

Beyond the Indian mount, or fairy elves, Belus or Serapis their Gods, or seat

Whose midnight revels by a forest side Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove Or fountain some belated peasant sees, In wealth and luxury. Th' ascending pile

Or dreams he sees, while over-head the moon Stood fix'd her stately height, and straight the doors Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth [dance Opening their brazen folds, discover wide

Wheels her pale course ; they on their mirth and Within her ample spaces o'er the smooth

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear; And level pavement: from the arched roof

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds. Pendent by subtle magic, many a row

Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed

Reduc'd their shapes immense, and were at large, With Naphtha and Asphaltus, yielded light Though without number still amidst the hall As from a sky. The hasty multitude

Of that infernal court. But far within, Admiring enter'd, and the work some praise, And in their own dimensions like themselves, And some the Architect: his hand was known

The great seraphic lords and cherubim
In Heav'n by many a towered structure high, In close recess and secret conclave sat,
Where scepter'd angels held their residence, A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme King Frequent and full. After short silence then,
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,

And summons read, the great consult began.
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unador'd
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men call'd him Mulciber; and how he fell

High on a throne of royal state, which far
From Heav'n they fabled, thrown by angry Jove Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements: from morn

Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,

Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, A summer's day; and with the setting sun

Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd Dropt from the zenith, like a falling star,

To that bad eminence; and from despair On Lemnos th' Ægean isle: thus they relate, Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Erring ; for he with this rebellious rout

Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Fell long before; nor ought avail'd him now Vain war with Heav'n, and, by success untaught, T have built in Heav'n high tow'rs; nor did he His proud imaginations thus display'd. By all his engines, but was headlong sent, ['scape Pow'rs and dominions, deities of Heav'n, With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.

For since no deep within her gulph can hold Meanwhile the winged heralds by command Immortal vigour, though oppress’d and fall'n, Of sov'reign pow'r, with awful ceremony

I give not Heav'n for lost. From this descent And trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim Celestial virtues rising, will appear A solemn council forth with to be held

More glorious and more dread than from no fall,



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And trust themselves to fear no second fate. Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
Me though just right and the fix'd laws of Heav'n With what compulsion and laborious flight,
Did first create your leader, next free choice, We sunk thus low? Th’ ascent is easy then;
With what besides, in counsel or in fight,

Th’event is fear’d; should we again provoke Hath been achiev'd of merit, yet this loss,

Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more To our destruction ; if there be in Hell Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne,

Fear to be worse destroy'd: what can be worse Yielded with full consent. The happier state Than to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw In this abhorred deep to utter woe: Envy from each inferior; but who here

Where pain of unextinguishable fire Will envy whom the highest place exposes

Must exercise us, without hope of end,
Foremost to stand against the thund'rer’s aim, The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Of endless pain ? where there is then no good Calls us to penance ? More destroy'd than thus,
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there We should be quite abolish’d, and expire.
From faction; for none sure will claim in Hell What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
Precedence; none whose portion is so small His utmost ire? which, to the height enrag'd,
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind

Will either quite consume us, and reduce
Will covet more. With this advantage then To nothing this essential, happier far
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,

Than miserable to have eternal being;
More than can be in Heaven, we now return Or if our substance be indeed divine,
To claim our just inheritance of old,

And cannot cease to be, we are at worst Surer to prosper than prosperity

On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heav'n, Whether of open war or covert guile,

And with perpetual inroads to alarm, We now debate; who can advise may speak. Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:

He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, scepter'd king, Which, if not victory, is yet revenge. Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair: Desp’rate revenge, and battle dangerous His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd

To less than Gods. On th' other side up rose Equal in strength, and rather than be less

Belial, in act more graceful and humane ; Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost

A fairer person lost not heav'n; he seem'd Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse

For dignity compos'd, and high exploit: He reck'd not, and these words thereafter spake. But all was false and hollow; though his tongue My sentence is for open war: of wiles,

Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear More unexpert, I boast not: them let those

The better reason, to perplex and dash Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low, For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the ear, The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here

And with persuasive accent thus began: Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place

I should be much for open war, O Peers, Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd The prison of his tyranny who reigns

Main reason to persuade immediate war, By our delay! No, let us rather choose,

Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Arm'd with Hell-flames and fury, all at once Ominous conjecture on the whole success : Oʻer Heav'n's high tow'rs to force resistless way, When he who most excels in fact of arms, Turning our tortures into horrid arms

In what he counsels, and in what excels Against the torturer; when to meet the noise Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, Of his almighty engine he shall hear

And utter dissolution, as the scope Infernal thunder, and for lightning see

Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. Black fire and horror shot with equal rage

First, what revenge? the towers of Heav'n are fill'd Among his angels, and his throne itself

With armed watch, that render all access Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire, Impregnable ; oft on the bord’ring deep His own invented torments. But, perhaps,

Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing The way seems difficult and steep to scale

Scout far and wide into the realm of night, With upright wing against a higher foe.

Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench

By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,

With blackest insurrection, to confound That in our proper motion we ascend

Heav'n's purest light, yet our great enemy, Up to our native seat: descent and fall

All incorruptible, would on his throne To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,

Sit unpolluted, and th'ethereal mould When the fierce foe hang on our broken rear, Incapable of stain, would soon expel

Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,

Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope

I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold Is flat despair: we must exasperate

And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage,

What yet they know must follow, to endure
And that must end us; that must be our cure, Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
To be no more; sad cure! for who would lose, The sentence of their conqueror: this is now
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity, Our supreme foe in time may much remit
To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost

His anger, and perhaps thus far remov'd,
In the wide womb of uncreated night,

Not mind us not offending, satisfy'd Devoid of sense and motion ? and who knows, With what is punish’d; whence these raging fires Let this be good, whether our angry foe

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. Can give it, or will ever? how he can,

Our purer essence then will overcome Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure.

Their noxious vapour, or inur'd not feel, Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,

Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformid Belike through impotence, or unaware,

In temper and in nature, will receive To give his enemies their wish, and end

Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain ; Them in his anger, whom his anger saves

This horror will grow mild, this darkness light, To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then? Besides what hope the never-ending flight (change Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, Of future days may bring, what chance, what Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe;

Worth waiting, since our present lot appears Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,

For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, If we procure not to ourselves more woe. [garb, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?

Thus Belial, with words cloth'd in reason's What, when we fled amain, pursu'd and struck Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, With Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake: The deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay We war, if war be best, or to regain Chain'd on the burning lake? that sure was worse. Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then What, if the breath that kindled those grim fires, May hope, when everlasting fate shall yield Awak’d, should blow them into seven-fold rage, To fickle chance, and Chaos judge the strife: And plunge us in the flames? or from above, The former vain to hope, argues as vain Should intermitted vengeance arm again

The latter: for what place can be for us His red right hand to plague us? what, if all Within Heav'n's bound, unless Heav'n's Lord suHer stores were open’d, and this firmament We overpow'r: Suppose he should relent, (preme Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,

And publish grace to all, on promise made Impendent horrors, threat’ning hideous fall Of new subjection; with what eyes could we One day upon our heads; while we, perhaps, Stand in his presence humble, and receive Designing or exhorting glorious war,

Strict laws impos'd to celebrate his throne Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurld

With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey

Forc'd hallelujahs; while he lordly sits Of wracking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk

Our envied Sov'reign, and his altar breathes Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;

Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers, There to converse with everlasting groans,

Our servile offerings? This must be our task
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,

In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisonne
Ages of hopeless end? this would be worse, Eternity so spent in worship paid
War, therefore, open or conceal'd, alike

To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile By force impossible, by leave obtain'd
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state
Views all things at one view? he from Heav'n's Of splendid vassalage ; but rather seek
All these our motions vain sees and derides; [height Our own good from ourselves, and from our own,
Not more almighty to resist our might,

Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heaven, Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Thus trampled, thus expell’d to suffer here

Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear Chains and these torments? better these than worse Then most conspicuous, when great things of small, By my advice; since fate inevitable

Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,

We can create, and in what place soe'er The victor's will. To suffer, as to do,

Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain, Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust

Through labour and endurance. This deep world That so ordains: this was at first resolvid,

Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst [sire If we were wise, against so great a foe

Thick clouds and dark doth Heav'n's all-ruling Choose to reside, his glory unobscurid,

His empire, and with iron sceptre rule And with the majesty of darkness round

Us here, as with his golden those in Heav'n. Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar, What! sit we then projecting peace or war? Must'ring their rage, and Heav’n resembles Hell? War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss As he our darkness, cannot we his light

Irreparable; terms of peace yet none Imitate when we please? This desart soil

Vouchsaf’d or sought; for what peace will be given Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold; To us enslav'd, but custody severe, Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more? Inflicted ? and what peace can we return Our torments also may in length of time

But to our power hostility and hate, Become our elements; these piercing fires

Untam'd reluctance, and revenge, though slow, As soft as now severe ; our temper chang’d

Yet ever plotting how the Conqu’ror least Into their temper; which must needs remove May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice The sensible of pain. All things invite

In doing what we most in suffering feel? To peaceful councils, and the settled state

Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need, Of order, how in safety best we may

With dangerous expedition, to invade Compose our present evils, with regard

Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, Of what we are and where, dismissing quite

Or ambush from the deep. What, if we find All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise. Some easier enterprise ? There is a place

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fillid (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav'n Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain

Err not) another world, the happy seat The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long Of some new race call’d Man, about this time Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull To be created like to us, though less Sea-faring men o'erwatch'd, whose bark by chance In power and excellence, but favour'd more Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay

Of Him who rules above; so was his will After the tempest: such applause was heard Pronounc'd among the Gods, and, by an oath, As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd, That shook Heav'n'swholecircumference, confirm'd. Advising peace : for such another field

Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear What creatures there inhabit, of what mould Of thunder and the sword of Michael

Or substance, how endu'd, and what their power, Wrought still within them; and no less desire And where their weakness, how attempted best, To found this nether empire, which might rise By force or subtlety. Though Heav'n be shut, By policy, and long process of time,

And Heav'n's high Arbitrator sit secure In emulation opposite to Heav'n.

In his own strength, this place may lie expos’d, Which, when Beelzebub perceiv'd, than whom The utmost border of his kingdom, left Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

To their defence who hold it: here perhaps Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd

Some advantageous act may be achiev'd A pillar of state; deep on his front ingraven By sudden onset, either with Hell-fire Deliberation sat, and public care ;

To waste his whole creation, or possess And princely counsel in his face yet shone

All as our own, and drive, as we were driver, Majestic, though in ruin : sage he stood,

The puny habitants; or if not drive, With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear

Seduce them to our party, that their God The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look May prove their foe, and with repenting hand Drew audience and attention still as night

Abolish his own works. This would surpass Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake: Common revenge, and interrupt his joy

Thrones and imperial pow'rs, offspring of In our confusion, and our joy upraise Ethereal virtues; or these titles now

(Heav'n, In his disturbance; when his darling sons, Must we renounce, and changing stile, be call'd Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote

Their frail original, and faded bliss, loclines, here to continue, and build up here

Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth A growing empire; doubtless, while we dream, Attempting, or to sit in darkness here And know not that the King of Heav'n hath doom'd Hatching vain empires. Thus Beelzebub This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devis'd Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt

By Satan, and in part propos’d: for whence, From Heav'n's high jurisdiction, in new league But from the author of all ill, could spring Banded against his throne, but to remain

So deep a malice, to confound the race In strictest bondage, tho' thus far remov’d,

Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell Under th' inevitable curb reserv'd

To mingle and involve, done all to spite His captive multitude: for be, be sure,

The great Creator? But their spite still serves In height or depth, still first and last will reign His glory to augment. The bold design Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part

Pleas’d highly those infernal states, and joy By our revolt, but over Hell extend

Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent

They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews: These royalties, and not refuse to reign,

Well have ye judg’d, well ended long debate, Refusing to accept as great a share
Synod of Gods, and like to what ye are,

Of hazard as of honour, due alike
Great things resolv’d, which from the lowest deep To him who reigns, and so much to him due
Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate,

Of hazard more, as he above the rest
Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view [arms High honour'd sits? Go, therefore, mighty powers,
Of those bright confines, whence with neighb'ring Terror of Heav'n, tho' fall'n; intend at home,
And opportune excursion, we may chance

While here shall be our home, what best may ease Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some mild zone The present misery, and render Hell Dwell not unvisited of Heav'n's fair light

More tolerable; if there be cure or charm Secure, and at the brightening orient beam

To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious air,

Of this ill mansion : intermit no watch To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, [send Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Shall breathe her balm. But first, whom shall we

Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek In search of this new world? whom shall we find Deliverance for us all: this enterprise Sufficient? who shall tempt with wand'ring feet None shall partake with me. Thus saying, rose The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

The monarch, and prevented all reply, And through the palpable obscure find out

Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd, His uncouth way, or spread his airy light,

Others among the chief might offer now Upborne with indefatigable wings

(Certain to be refus’d) what erst they fear'd; Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

And so refus’d, might in opinion stand The happy isle; what strength, what art can then His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe

Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they Through the strict senteries and stations thick

Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice Of angels watching round? Here he had need

Forbidding; and at once with him they rose; All circumspection, and we now no less

Their rising all at once was as the sound Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send, Of thunder heard remote. Tow'rds him they bend The weight of all and our last hope relies.

With awful reverence prone; and as a God This said, he sat; and expectation held

Extol him equal to the High’st in Heav'n: His looks suspense, awaiting who appear'd

Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, To second, or oppose, or undertake

That for the general safety he despis’d The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

His own: for neither do the spirits damn'd Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts; and each Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast In other's count'nance read his own dismay, Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, Astonish'd: none among the choice and prime Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal. Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found Thus they their doubtful consultations dark So hardy as to proffer or accept

Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief: Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last

As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais'd

Ascending, while the north wind sleeps, o'erspread Above his fellows, with monarchal pride

Heav'n's cheerful face, the louring element Conscious of highest worth, unmov’d, thus spake: Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow,or shower;

O progeny of Heav'n! empyreal thrones! If chance the radiant sun with farewel sweet With reason hath deep silence and demur

Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive, Seiz'd us, though undismay’d: long is the way, The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire,

O shame to men, devil with devil damn'd Outrageous to devour, immures us round

Firm concord holds, men only disagree Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant

Of creatures rational, tho' under hope Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress.

Of heav'nly grace: and God proclaiming peace, These pass'd, if any pass, the void profound

Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife Of unessential night receives him next

Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being

Wasting the earth, each other, to destroy: Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. As if (which might induce us to accord) If thence he 'scape, into whatever world,

Man had not hellish foes enow besides, Or unknown region, what remains him less

That day and night for his destruction wait. Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ?

The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth But I should ill become this throne, O Peers! In order came the grand infernal peers: And this imperial sov’reignty, adorn'd

Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught propos'd Alone the antagonist of Heav'n, nor less And judg'd of public moment, in the shape

Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme, Of difficulty or danger could deter

And godlike imitated state; him round Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume A globe of fiery seraphim inclos'd

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