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" And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
He ceased ; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
“ My sentence is for open war: of wiles,
“ Heaven's fugitives; and for their dwelling-place
60 “ Arm'd with Hell-flames and fury, all at once “ O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way, “ Turning our tortures into horrid arms “ Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise “Of his almighty engine he shall hear " Infernal thunder; and, for lightning, see “ Black fire and horror shot with equal rage “ Among his angels: and his throne itself “ Mixed with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, 6. His own invented torments. But perhaps “ The way seems difficult and steep, to scale “ With upright wing against a higher foe. “Let such bethink them, (if the sleepy drench “ Of that forgetful lake benumb not still), “ That in our proper motion we ascend “ Up to our native seat : descent and fall “ To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, “ When the fierce Foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep, ..“ With what compulsion and laborious flight
80 “ We sunk thus low? The ascent is easy then ; “ The event is feared : should we again provoke “ Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find “ To our destruction ; if there be in Hell “ Fear to be worse destroyed : what can be worse “ Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned “ In this abhorred deep to utter woe ; “ Where pain of unextinguishable fire “ Must exercise us without hope of end, *** The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
90 Inexorable, and the torturing hour “ Calls us to penance ? more destroyed than thus, “ We should be quite abolished, and expire. " What fear we then? what doubt we to incense “ His utmost ire? which, to the heig raged “ Will either quite consume us, and reduce
“ To nothing this essential ;-happier far
He ended frowning, and his look denounced
“ I should be much for open war, O peers!
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled “ With armèd watch, that render all access
Impregnable : oft on the bordering deep Encamp their legions; or, with obscure wing, “ Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way ' By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise, “ With blackest insurrection, to confound
“ Heaven's purest light; yet our great enemy,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, “ Those thoughts that wander through eternity, “ To perish rather, swallowed up and lost “ In the wide womb of uncreated night, “ Devoid of sense and motion ? and who knows, "Let this be good, -whether our angry Foe “ Can give it, or will ever? how he can, “ Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure. " Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, “ Belike through impotence, or unaware, “ To give his enemies their wish, and end “ Them in his anger, whom his anger saves “ To punish endless ? “Wherefore cease we then ?' "Say they who counsel war: 'we are decreed, " Reserved, and destined to eternal woe ; “ Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, “ What can we suffer worse?' Is this then worst, “ Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? " What! when we fled amain, pursued and struck “ With Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought “ The deep to shelter us? this Hell then seemed “ A refuge from those wounds : or when we lay “ Chained on the burning lake? That, sure, was worse. “What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
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
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
180 “ Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey “ Of wracking whirlwinds; or for ever sunk “ Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains; “ There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, 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 height 190 “ 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, “ 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 fue
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 súpreme 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 vapour; or, inured, not feel;