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BOOK II

THE ARGUMENT

The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded 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 who should be sent on this difficult search. Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage, is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them sev. eral ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-gates; finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.

BOOK II

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High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormuso and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showerso on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merito raised
To that bado eminence; and, from despairo
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed :-

“Powers and Dominions, Deitieso of Heaven!
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigor, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!
Me, though just right, and the fixed laws of heaven,
Did first create your leader; next, free choice,
With what besides in council or in fight

20

Hath been achieved of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good 30
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction; for none sure will claim in hell
Precedence; none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way, 40
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise, may speak."

He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptered king,
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair.

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