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Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
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 opened, and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,

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Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Of racking whirlwinds, or forever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapped in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, and unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, 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 heaven's
highth

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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 heaven

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Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
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
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
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 venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
What yet they know must follow — to endure
Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their conqueror. This is now
Our doom; which, if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punished; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapor; or, inured, not feel ;
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; apd, void of pain,

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This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
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,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.'

Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason's garb,
Counseled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:-

“Eithero to disenthrone the King of Heaven 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 Within heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord Supreme We overpower ? 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 imposed, to celebrate his throne With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits Our envied sovran, and his altar breathes

Ambrosial odors and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings ? This must be our task
In heaven, 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 obtained

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Unacceptable, though in heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create, and in what place soe'er

250 Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain Through labor and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread ? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth heaven's all-ruling Siro Choose to reside, his glory unobscured, And with the majesty of darkness round Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar Mustering their rage, and heaven resembles hell! As he our darkness, cannot we his light

Imitate when we please? This desert soil

270 Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold ; Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can heaven show more ? Our torments also may in length of time Become our elements, these piercing fires As soft as now severe, our temper changed 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 All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise."

He scarce had finished, when such murmuro filled The assembly as when hollow rocks retain The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Seafaring men o’erwatched, whose bark by chance, Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay After the tempest. Such applause was heard 390 As Mammon ended; and his sentence pleased, Advising peace; for such another field They dreaded worse than hell, so much the fear Of thunder and the sword of Michael

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