Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, 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 255
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous, when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosp'rous of adverse
We can create, and in what place soe'er 260
Thrive under ev'il, 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 Heav'n's all-ruling Sise
Chuse to reside, his glory unobscur'd, 205
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne ; from whence deep thunders roar
Must'ring their rage, and Heav'n 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 Heav'n show more ?
Our torments also may in length of time
Become our elements, these piercing fires 275
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd
In:o 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


Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war: ye havę what I advise.

He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fillid
Th' assembly, as when hollow rocks retain 285
The sound of blust'ring winds, which all night long
Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Sea-faring men o'er-watch'd, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest: such applause was heard 290
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd,
Advising peace : for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell: so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michaël
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 295
To found this nether empire, which inight rise
By policy, and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heav'n.
Which when Beëlzebub perceiv'd, than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave 300
Aspéct he rose, and in his rising seem'd
A pill'ar of state ; deep on his front ingraven
Deliberation sat and public care ;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood 305
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies ; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer's noon-tide air, while thus he spake.

Thrones and Imperial Pow'rs! offspring of Heav'n!

Ethereal Virtues ! or these titles now 311
Must we renounce, and changing style be callid
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 Heav'n hath doom'd
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heav'n's high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain 320
In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd
Under th' inevitable curb, reserv'd
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 325
By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heav'n.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determin'd us, and foil'd with loss '330
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsaf'd or sought; for what peace will be given
To us inslav’d, but custody severe,
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted ? and what peace can we return 335
But to our power hostility and hate,
Untam'd reluctance, and revenge though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conqu'ror 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
Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise ? There is a place, 345
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not) another world, the happy seat
Of some new race call'd wan, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favor'd more 350
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounc'd among the gods, and by an oath
That shook Heav'n's whole circumference confirm'd.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, 355
Or substance, how endu'd, and what their power,
And where their weakness, how attempted best,
By force or subtlety. Though Heav'n be shut,
And Heav'n's high Arbitrator sit secure ,
In his own strength, this place may lie expos'd 360
The utmost border of his kingdom; left
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps
Some advantageous act may be achiev'd
By sudden onset, either with Hell fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess 365
All as our own, and drive as we were driven,
The puny inhabitants, or if not drive,
Seduce them to our party, that their God
May prove their foc, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370

[ocr errors]

Common revenge, and interrupt his joy In our confusion, and our joy upraise In his disturbance; when his darling sons, Hurl'd 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 devis'd By Satan, and in part propós'd: 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 greater Creator? But their spite still serves His glory to augment. The bold design 386 Pleas'd highly those infernal States, and joy Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent They vote : whereat his speech he thus renews.

Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate, Synod of gods, and like to what ye are, 391 Great things resolv’d, 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 neighb'ring arms

395 And opportune excursion we may chance Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some mild zone Dwell not unvisited of Heav'n's fair light Secure, and at the brightning orient beam

« ElőzőTovább »