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Of future we may deem him, though till now
Omniscient thought. True is, less firmly arm'd,
Some disadvantage we endur'd and pain,

431

Till now not known; but known, as soon con

temn'd;

Since now we find this our empyreal form
Incapable of mortal injury,

434

Imperishable, and though pierc'd with wound,

Soon closing, and by native vigour heal'd.
Of evil then so small, as easy think

The remedy; perhaps more valid arms,
Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
May serve to better us, and worse our foes; 440
Or equal what between us made the odds,
In nature none. If other hidden cause
Left them superior, while we can preserve
Unhurt our minds and understanding sound,
Due search and consultation will disclose. 445
He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood
Nisroch, of principalities the prime.
As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight,
Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn,
And cloudy in aspect, thus answ'ring spake: 450
Deliverer from new lords, leader to free
Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard
For Gods, and too unequal work we find,
Against unequal arms to fight in pain,
Against unpain'd, impassive; from which evil
Ruin must needs ensue; for what avails
Valour or strength, though matchless, quell'd

456

with pain

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460

Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands
Of mightiest? Sense of pleasure we may well
Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
But live content, which is the calmest life:
But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive, overturns

465

All patience. He who therefore can invent
With what more forcible we may offend
Our yet unwounded enemies, or arm
Ourselves with like defence, to me deserves
No less than for deliverance what we owe.
Whereto, with look compos'd, Satan reply'd:
Not uninvented that, which thou aright
Believ'd so main to our success, I bring.
Which of us who beholds the bright surface
Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand,
This continent of spacious Heav'n, adorn'd
With plant, fruit, flow'r ambrosial, gems, and gold;
Whose eye so superficially surveys

470

476

These things, as not to mind from whence they

grow

Deep under ground, materials dark and crude,
Of spiritous and fiery spume, till touch'd
With Heaven's ray, and temper'd, they shoot forth
So bounteous, op'ning to the ambient light? 481
These in their dark nativity the deep
Shall yield us, pregnant with infernal flame;
Which into hollow engines, long and round,
Thick ramm'd, at th' other bore with touch of fire
Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth

486

491

From far, with thund'ring noise among our foes,
Such implements of mischief, as shall dash
To pieces, and o'erwhelm whatever stands
Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd
The Thund'rer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,
Effect shall end our wish. Mean while revive;
Abandon fear; to strength and council join'd
Think nothing hard, much less to be despair'd. 495
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
Enlighten'd, and their languish'd hope reviv'd.
Th' invention all admir'd, and each, how he
To be th' inventor miss'd; so easy' it seem'd
Once found, which yet unfound most would have
thought

Impossible; yet haply of thy race

500

In future days, if malice should abound,
Some one intent on mischief, or inspir'd
With dev'lish machination, might devise
Like instrument to plague the sons of men 505
For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent.
Forthwith from council to the work they flew ;
None arguing stood; innumerable hands
Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd
Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath
Th' originals of nature in their crude
Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam

510

They found, they mingled, and with subtle art, Concocted and adusted they reduc'd

To blackest grain, and into store convey'd. 515

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