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Purge off this gloom : the soft delicious air, 400
To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,
Shall breathe her balm. But first whom shall we send
In search of this new world ? whom shall we find
Sufficient ? who shall tempt with wand'ring feet
The dark unbottom'd infinite abyss,

405
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way, or spread his aöry flight
Upborne with indefatigable wings
Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive
The happy ile ? what strength, what art can then
Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe 411
Through the strict senteries and stations thick
Of angels watching round ? Here he had need
All circumspection, and we now no less
Choice in our suffrage ; for on whom we send, 415
The weight of all and our last hope relies..

This said, he sat; and expectation held His look suspense, awaiting who appear'd To second, or oppose, or undertake The perilous attempt: but all sat mute, Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts; and each In others count'nance read his own dismay Astonish'd: none among the choice and prime Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found So hardy as to proffer or accept

425 Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last. Satan, whom now transcendant glory rais'd Above his fellows, with monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmoy'd thus spake.

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O Progeny of Heaven! empyreal Thrones! 430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay'd: long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round 435 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant Barr'd over us prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers! 445 And this imperial sovranty, adorn'd With splendor, arm’d with power, if aught propos'd And judgid of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty' or danger could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I assume These royalties, and not refuse to reign, 451 Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honor, due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest High honor'd sits ? Go therefore mighty Powers ! Terror of Heav'n, though fall’n; intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell

VOL. I.

More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 460
To respite, or deceive, or slack'the pain
Qf this ill mansion: intermit no'watch
Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark Destruction seek
Deliverance for us all: 'this enterprise 463
None shall partake with me. Thus saying rose
The Monarch, and prevented all reply,
Prudent, lest from his resolution rais'd
Others among the chief might offer now
(Certain to be refus'd) what erst they fear'd; 470
And so refus'd might in opinion stand
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute
Which he through hazard luge must earn. But

they
Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose; 475
Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote. Tow’ards him they bend
With awful reverence prone ; and as a god
Extol him equal to the Hig'hest in Heav'n :
Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd,
That for the general safety he despis'd 481
His own: for neither do the spirits damn'd
Lose all their virtue ; lest bad men should boast
Their specious deeds on earth, which glory' excites,
Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal. 485
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark
Ended rejoicing in their matchless chief;
As when from mountain tops thé dusky clouds

Ascending, while the North-wind sleeps, o'er-spread
Heav'n's cheerful face, the louring element 490
Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow, or shower;
If chance the radiant sun with farewel sweet
Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Autest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 495
O shame to men! devil with devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men only disagree
Of creatures rational, though under hope
Of heav'nly grace: and God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 500
Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,
Wasting the earth, each other to destroy :
As if (which might induce us to accord)
Man had not hellish foes enow besides,
That day and night for his destruction wait. 505

The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth
In order came the grand infernal Peers :
Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd
Alone th’antagonist of Heav'n, nor less 509
Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme,
And God-like imitated state; him round
A globe of fiery seraphim inclos'd .
With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms.
Then of their session ended they bid cry
With trumpets' regal sound the great result: 515
Tow'ards the four winds four speedy cherubim
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy.
By herald's voice explain’d; the hollow' abyss

Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell 519
With deafʼning shout return'd them loud acclame.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat

rais'd
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers
Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

594
Leads him perplex'd, where he may likeliest find
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
The irksome hours, till his great chief return.
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,
Upon the wing, or in swift race contend,
As at th’ Olympian games or Pythian fields; 530
Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigads form.
As when to warn proud cities war appears
Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush
To battel in the clouds, before each van 535
Prick forth the aëry knights, and couch their spears
Till thickest legions close ; with feats of arms
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns.
Others with vast Typhæan rage more fell
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown'd
With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines,
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw 515
Into th' Euboic sea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a silent valley, sing

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