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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 Beëlzebub perceived, than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave

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Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
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 noontide air, while thus he spake:
“ Throneso and Imperial Powers, Offspring of
Heaven,

310 Ethereal Virtues ! or these titles now Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called Princes of hell ? for so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue, and build up here A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream, And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed 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

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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 scepter rule
Us here, as with his golden those in heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us, and foiled with loss

330 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 Conqueror least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice In doing what we most in suffering feel?

340 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 enterprise ? There is a place
(If ancient and prophetic fame in heaven
Err not) — another world, the happy seat
Of some new race called Man, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favored more

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Of him who rules above: so was his will
Pronounced among the gods, and by an oath,
That shook heaven's whole circumference, confirmed.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mold
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,

360 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, 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 370
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled 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, 380
But from the author 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 :

“Wello have ye judged, well ended long debate, 390
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 neighboring

arms

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And opportune excursion, we may chance
Reënter heaven; or else in some mild zone
Dwell, not un visited 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, unbottomed, infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure, find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aery flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive

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The happy isleo? What strength, what art, can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe
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, and our last hope, relies.”

This said, he sat; and expectation held

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