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High on a Throne of Royal State, which far 
Outshon the wealth of ORMUS and of IND, 
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand 
Showrs on her Kings BARBARIC Pearl & Gold, 
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd 
To that bad eminence; and from despair 
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires 
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue 
Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught 
His proud imaginations thus displaid. 
  Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n, 
For since no deep within her gulf can hold 
Immortal vigor, though opprest and fall'n, 
I give not Heav'n for lost.  From this descent 
Celestial vertues rising, will appear 
More glorious and more dread then from no fall, 
And trust themselves to fear no second fate: 
Mee though just right, and the fixt Laws of Heav'n 
Did first create your Leader, next, free choice, 
With what besides, in Counsel or in Fight, 
Hath bin achievd of merit, yet this loss 
Thus farr at least recover'd, hath much more 
Establisht in a safe unenvied Throne 
Yeilded with full consent.  The happier state 
In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw 
Envy from each inferior; but who here 
Will envy whom the highest place exposes 
Formost to stand against the Thunderers aime 
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share 
Of endless pain? where there is then no good 
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there 
From Faction; for none sure will claim in hell 
Precedence, none, whose portion is so small 
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind 
Will covet more.  With this advantage then 
To union, and firm Faith, and firm accord, 
More then can be in Heav'n, we now return 
To claim our just inheritance of old, 
Surer to prosper then prosperity 
Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, 
Whether of open Warr or covert guile, 
We now debate; who can advise, may speak. 
  He ceas'd, and next him MOLOC, Scepter'd King 
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Spirit 
That fought in Heav'n; now fiercer by despair: 
His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd 
Equal in strength, and rather then be less 
Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost 
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse 
He reckd not, and these words thereafter spake. 
  My sentence is for open Warr: Of Wiles, 
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those 
Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. 
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, 
Millions that stand in Arms, and longing wait 
The Signal to ascend, sit lingring here 
Heav'ns fugitives, and for thir dwelling place 
Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame, 
The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns 
By our delay? no, let us rather choose 
Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once 
O're Heav'ns high Towrs to force resistless way, 
Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms 
Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise 
Of his Almighty Engin he shall hear 
Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see 
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage 
Among his Angels; and his Throne it self 
Mixt with TARTAREAN Sulphur, and strange fire, 
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 benumme 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 brok'n Rear 
Insulting, and pursu'd us through the Deep, 
With what compulsion and laborious flight 
We sunk thus low?  Th' ascent is easie then; 
Th' event is fear'd; 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 destroy'd: what can be worse 
Then to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd 
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 
Inexorably, and the torturing houre 
Calls us to Penance?  More destroy'd then thus 
We should be quite abolisht and expire. 
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense 
His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag'd, 
Will either quite consume us, and reduce 
To nothing this essential, happier farr 
Then miserable to have eternal being: 
Or if our substance be indeed Divine, 
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel 
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heav'n, 
And with perpetual inrodes to Allarme, 
Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne: 
Which if not Victory is yet Revenge. 
  He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd 
Desperate revenge, and Battel dangerous 
To less then Gods.  On th' other side up rose 
BELIAL, in act more graceful and humane; 
A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemd 
For dignity compos'd and high exploit: 
But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue 
Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear 
The better reason, to perplex and dash 
Maturest Counsels: for his thoughts were low; 
To vice industrious, but to Nobler deeds 
Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the eare, 
And with perswasive accent thus began. 
  I should be much for open Warr, O Peers, 
As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd 
Main reason to perswade immediate Warr, 
Did not disswade me most, and seem to cast 
Ominous conjecture on the whole success: 
When he who most excels in fact of Arms, 
In what he counsels and in what excels 
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair 
And utter dissolution, as the scope 
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. 
First, what Revenge? the Towrs of Heav'n are fill'd 
With Armed watch, that render all access 
Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep 
Encamp thir Legions, or with obscure wing 
Scout farr and wide into the Realm of night, 
Scorning surprize.  Or could we break our way 
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise 
With blackest Insurrection, to confound 
Heav'ns purest Light, yet our great Enemie 
All incorruptible would on his Throne 
Sit unpolluted, and th' Ethereal mould 
Incapable of stain would soon expel 
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire 
Victorious.  Thus repuls'd, our final hope 
Is flat despair: we must exasperate 
Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage, 
And that must end us, that must be our cure, 
To be no more; sad cure; for who would loose, 
Though full of pain, this intellectual being, 
Those thoughts that wander through Eternity, 
To perish rather, swallowd 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 thir wish, and end 
Them in his anger, whom his anger saves 
To punish endless? wherefore cease we then? 
Say they who counsel Warr, we are decreed, 
Reserv'd and destin'd 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, pursu'd and strook 
With Heav'ns afflicting Thunder, and besought 
The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd 
A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay 
Chain'd on the burning Lake? that sure was worse. 
What if the breath that kindl'd those grim fires 
Awak'd should blow them into sevenfold rage 
And plunge us in the Flames? or from above 
Should intermitted vengeance Arme again 
His red right hand to plague us? what if all 
Her stores were op'n'd, and this Firmament 
Of Hell should spout her Cataracts of Fire, 
Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall 
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps 
Designing or exhorting glorious Warr, 
Caught in a fierie Tempest shall be hurl'd 
Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey 
Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk 
Under yon boyling Ocean, wrapt in Chains; 
There to converse with everlasting groans, 
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepreevd, 
Ages of hopeless end; this would be worse. 
Warr therefore, open or conceal'd, alike 
My voice disswades; for what can force or guile 
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye 
Views all things at one view? he from heav'ns highth 
All these our motions vain, sees and derides; 
Not more Almighty to resist our might 
Then wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. 
Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heav'n 
Thus trampl'd, thus expell'd to suffer here 
Chains & these Torments? better these then worse 
By my advice; since fate inevitable 
Subdues us, and Omnipotent Decree, 
The Victors will.  To suffer, as to doe, 
Our strength is equal, nor the Law unjust 
That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd, 
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 vent'rous, 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 thir Conquerour: This is now 
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, 
Our Supream Foe in time may much remit 
His anger, and perhaps thus farr remov'd 
Not mind us not offending, satisfi'd 
With what is punish't; whence these raging fires 
Will slack'n, if his breath stir not thir flames. 
Our purer essence then will overcome 
Thir noxious vapour, or enur'd not feel, 
Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformd 
In temper and in nature, will receive 
Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; 
This horror will grow milde, 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 appeers 
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, 
If we procure not to our selves more woe. 
  Thus BELIAL with words cloath'd in reasons garb 
Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloath, 
Not peace: and after him thus MAMMON spake. 
  Either to disinthrone the King of Heav'n 
We warr, if warr be best, or to regain 
Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then 
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yeild 
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 Heav'ns bound, unless Heav'ns Lord supream 
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 
Strict Laws impos'd, to celebrate his Throne 
With warbl'd Hymns, and to his Godhead sing 
Forc't Halleluiah's; while he Lordly sits 
Our envied Sovran, and his Altar breathes 
Ambrosial Odours and Ambrosial Flowers, 
Our servile offerings.  This must be our task 
In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisom 
Eternity so spent in worship paid 
To whom we hate.  Let us not then pursue 
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd 
Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state 
Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek 
Our own good from our selves, and from our own 
Live to our selves, though in this vast recess, 
Free, and to none accountable, preferring 
Hard liberty before the easie 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 so e're 
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain 
Through labour and endurance.  This deep world 
Of darkness do we dread?  How oft amidst 
Thick clouds and dark doth Heav'ns all-ruling Sire 
Choose to reside, his Glory unobscur'd, 
And with the Majesty of darkness round 
Covers his Throne; from whence deep thunders roar 
Must'ring thir rage, and Heav'n resembles Hell? 
As he our Darkness, cannot we his Light 
Imitate when we please?  This Desart soile 
Wants not her hidden lustre, Gemms and Gold; 
Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise 
Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more? 
Our torments also may in length of time 
Become our Elements, these piercing Fires 
As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd 
Into their temper; which must needs remove 
The sensible of pain.  All things invite 
To peaceful Counsels, and the settl'd 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 Warr: ye have what I advise. 
  He scarce had finisht, when such murmur filld 
Th' Assembly, as when hollow Rocks retain 
The sound of blustring winds, which all night long 
Had rous'd the Sea, now with hoarse cadence lull 
Sea-faring men orewatcht, whose Bark by chance 
Or Pinnace anchors in a craggy Bay 
After the Tempest: Such applause was heard 
As MAMMON ended, and his Sentence pleas'd, 
Advising peace: for such another Field 
They dreaded worse then Hell: so much the fear 
Of Thunder and the Sword of MICHAEL 
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 
To found this nether Empire, which might rise 
By pollicy, and long process of time, 
In emulation opposite to Heav'n. 
Which when BEELZEBUB perceiv'd, then whom, 
SATAN except, none higher sat, with grave 
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd 
A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven 
Deliberation sat and publick care; 
And Princely counsel in his face yet shon, 
Majestick though in ruin: sage he stood 
With ATLANTEAN shoulders fit to bear 
The weight of mightiest Monarchies; his look 
Drew audience and attention still as Night 
Or Summers Noon-tide air, while thus he spake. 
  Thrones and imperial Powers, off-spring of heav'n, 
Ethereal Vertues; or these Titles now 
Must we renounce, and changing stile be call'd 
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'ns high jurisdiction, in new League 
Banded against his Throne, but to remaine 
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 loose no part 
By our revolt, but over Hell extend 
His Empire, and with Iron Scepter rule 
Us here, as with his Golden those in Heav'n. 
What sit we then projecting Peace and Warr? 
Warr hath determin'd us, and foild with loss 
Irreparable; tearms of peace yet none 
Voutsaf't or sought; for what peace will be giv'n 
To us enslav'd, but custody severe, 
And stripes, and arbitrary punishment 
Inflicted? and what peace can we return, 
But to our power hostility and hate, 
Untam'd reluctance, and revenge though slow, 
Yet ever plotting how the Conquerour least 
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoyce 
In doing what we most in suffering feel? 
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 enterprize?  There is a place 
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav'n 
Err not) another World, the happy seat 
Of som new Race call'd MAN, about this time 
To be created like to us, though less 
In power and excellence, but favour'd more 
Of him who rules above; so was his will 
Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an Oath, 
That shook Heav'ns whol circumference, confirm'd. 
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn 
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, 
Or substance, how endu'd, and what thir Power, 
And where thir weakness, how attempted best, 
By force or suttlety: Though Heav'n be shut, 
And Heav'ns high Arbitrator sit secure 
In his own strength, this place may lye expos'd 
The utmost border of his Kingdom, left 
To their defence who hold it: here perhaps 
Som advantagious act may be achiev'd 
By sudden onset, either with Hell fire 
To waste his whole Creation, or possess 
All as our own, and drive as we were driven, 
The punie habitants, or if not drive, 
Seduce them to our Party, that thir God 
May prove thir foe, and with repenting hand 
Abolish his own works.  This would surpass 
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 
Thir frail Originals, and faded bliss, 
Faded so soon.  Advise if this be worth 
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here 
Hatching vain Empires.  Thus BEELZEBUB 
Pleaded his devilish Counsel, first devis'd 
By SATAN, and in part propos'd: for whence, 
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 great Creatour?  But thir spite still serves 
His glory to augment.  The bold design 
Pleas'd highly those infernal States, and joy 
Sparkl'd in all thir 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, 
Great things resolv'd; which from the lowest deep 
Will once more lift us up, in spight of Fate, 
Neerer our ancient Seat; perhaps in view 
Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring Arms 
And opportune excursion we may chance 
Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some milde Zone 
Dwell not unvisited of Heav'ns fair Light 
Secure, and at the brightning Orient beam 
Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious Air, 
To heal the scarr of these corrosive Fires 
Shall breath her balme.  But first whom shall we send 
In search of this new world, whom shall we find 
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandring feet 
The dark unbottom'd infinite Abyss 
And through the palpable obscure find out 
His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight 
Upborn 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 
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, 
The weight of all and our last hope relies. 
  This said, he sat; and expectation held 
His look suspence, awaiting who appeer'd 
To second, or oppose, or undertake 
The perilous attempt: but all sat mute, 
Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; & each 
In others count'nance red his own dismay 
Astonisht: none among the choice and prime 
Of those Heav'n-warring Champions could be found 
So hardie as to proffer or accept 
Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last 
SATAN, whom now transcendent glory rais'd 
Above his fellows, with Monarchal pride 
Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake. 
  O Progeny of Heav'n, Empyreal Thrones, 
With reason hath deep silence and demurr 
Seis'd us, though undismaid: 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 
Ninefold, and gates of burning Adamant 
Barr'd over us prohibit all egress. 
These past, if any pass, the void profound 
Of unessential Night receives him next 
Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 
Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. 
If thence he scape into what ever world, 
Or unknown Region, what remains him less 
Then unknown dangers and as hard escape. 
But I should ill become this Throne, O Peers, 
And this Imperial Sov'ranty, adorn'd 
With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught propos'd 
And judg'd of public moment, in the shape 
Of difficulty or danger could deterre 
Me from attempting.  Wherefore do I assume 
These Royalties, and not refuse to Reign, 
Refusing to accept as great a share 
Of hazard as of honour, due alike 
To him who Reigns, and so much to him due 
Of hazard more, as he above the rest 
High honourd sits?  Go therfore 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 
More tollerable; if there be cure or charm 
To respite or deceive, or slack the pain 
Of 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 enterprize 
None shall partake with me.  Thus saying rose 
The Monarch, and prevented all reply, 
Prudent, least from his resolution rais'd 
Others among the chief might offer now 
(Certain to be refus'd) what erst they feard; 
And so refus'd might in opinion stand 
His rivals, winning cheap the high repute 
Which he through hazard huge must earn.  But they 
Dreaded not more th' adventure then his voice 
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose; 
Thir rising all at once was as the sound 
Of Thunder heard remote.  Towards him they bend 
With awful reverence prone; and as a God 
Extoll him equal to the highest in Heav'n: 
Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, 
That for the general safety he despis'd 
His own: for neither do the Spirits damn'd 
Loose all thir vertue; least bad men should boast 
Thir specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, 
Or close ambition varnisht o're with zeal. 
Thus they thir doubtful consultations dark 
Ended rejoycing in thir matchless Chief: 
As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds 
Ascending, while the North wind sleeps, o'respread 
Heav'ns chearful face, the lowring Element 
Scowls ore the dark'nd lantskip Snow, or showre; 
If chance the radiant Sun with farewell sweet 
Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive, 
The birds thir notes renew, and bleating herds 
Attest thir joy, that hill and valley rings. 
O shame to men!  Devil with Devil damn'd 
Firm concord holds, men onely disagree 
Of Creatures rational, though under hope 
Of heavenly Grace: and God proclaiming peace, 
Yet live in hatred, enmitie, and strife 
Among themselves, and levie cruel warres, 
Wasting the Earth, each other to destroy: 
As if (which might induce us to accord) 
Man had not hellish foes anow besides, 
That day and night for his destruction waite. 
  The STYGIAN Councel thus dissolv'd; and forth 
In order came the grand infernal Peers, 
Midst came thir mighty Paramount, and seemd 
Alone th' Antagonist of Heav'n, nor less 
Then Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream, 
And God-like imitated State; him round 
A Globe of fierie Seraphim inclos'd 
With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms. 
Then of thir Session ended they bid cry 
With Trumpets regal sound the great result: 
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim 
Put to thir mouths the sounding Alchymie 
By Haralds voice explain'd: the hollow Abyss 
Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell 
With deafning shout, return'd them loud acclaim. 
Thence more at ease thir minds and somwhat rais'd 
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers 
Disband, and wandring, each his several way 
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice 
Leads him perplext, 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; 
Part curb thir fierie Steeds, or shun the Goal 
With rapid wheels, or fronted Brigads form. 
As when to warn proud Cities warr appears 
Wag'd in the troubl'd Skie, and Armies rush 
To Battel in the Clouds, before each Van 
Pric forth the Aerie Knights, and couch thir spears 
Till thickest Legions close; with feats of Arms 
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns. 
Others with vast TYPHOEAN rage more fell 
Rend up both Rocks and Hills, and ride the Air 
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wilde uproar. 
As when ALCIDES from OEALIA 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 
Into th' EUBOIC Sea.  Others more milde, 
Retreated in a silent valley, sing 
With notes Angelical to many a Harp 
Thir own Heroic deeds and hapless fall 
By doom of Battel; and complain that Fate 
Free Vertue should enthrall to Force or Chance. 
Thir song was partial, but the harmony 
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) 
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment 
The thronging audience.  In discourse more sweet 
(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense,) 
Others apart sat on a Hill retir'd, 
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high 
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate, 
Fixt Fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, 
And found no end, in wandring mazes lost. 
Of good and evil much they argu'd then, 
Of happiness and final misery, 
Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame, 
Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie: 
Yet with a pleasing sorcerie could charm 
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured brest 
With stubborn patience as with triple steel. 
Another part in Squadrons and gross Bands, 
On bold adventure to discover wide 
That dismal world, if any Clime perhaps 
Might yeild them easier habitation, bend 
Four ways thir flying March, along the Banks 
Of four infernal Rivers that disgorge 
Into the burning Lake thir baleful streams; 
Abhorred STYX the flood of deadly hate, 
Sad ACHERON of sorrow, black and deep; 
COCYTUS, nam'd of lamentation loud 
Heard on the ruful stream; fierce PHLEGETON 
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. 
Farr off from these a slow and silent stream, 
LETHE the River of Oblivion roules 
Her watrie Labyrinth, whereof who drinks, 
Forthwith his former state and being forgets, 
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. 
Beyond this flood a frozen Continent 
Lies dark and wilde, beat with perpetual storms 
Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land 
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, 
A gulf profound as that SERBONIAN Bog 
Betwixt DAMIATA and mount CASIUS old, 
Where Armies whole have sunk: the parching Air 
Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of Fire. 
Thither by harpy-footed Furies hail'd, 
At certain revolutions all the damn'd 
Are brought: and feel by turns the bitter change 
Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce, 
From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice 
Thir soft Ethereal warmth, and there to pine 
Immovable, infixt, and frozen round, 
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire. 
They ferry over this LETHEAN Sound 
Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment, 
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach 
The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose 
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 
All in one moment, and so neer the brink; 
But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt 
MEDUSA with GORGONIAN terror guards 
The Ford, and of it self the water flies 
All taste of living wight, as once it fled 
The lip of TANTALUS.  Thus roving on 
In confus'd march forlorn, th' adventrous Bands 
With shuddring horror pale, and eyes agast 
View'd first thir lamentable lot, and found 
No rest: through many a dark and drearie Vaile 
They pass'd, and many a Region dolorous, 
O're many a Frozen, many a Fierie Alpe, 
Rocks, Caves, Lakes, Fens, Bogs, Dens, and shades of death, 
A Universe of death, which God by curse 
Created evil, for evil only good, 
Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds, 
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 
Abominable, inutterable, and worse 
Then Fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd, 
  Mean while the Adversary of God and Man, 
SATAN with thoughts inflam'd of highest design, 
Puts on swift wings, and toward the Gates of Hell 
Explores his solitary flight; som times 
He scours the right hand coast, som times the left, 
Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soares 
Up to the fiery concave touring high. 
As when farr off at Sea a Fleet descri'd 
Hangs in the Clouds, by AEQUINOCTIAL Winds 
Close sailing from BENGALA, or the Iles 
Of TERNATE and TIDORE, whence Merchants bring 
Thir spicie Drugs: they on the trading Flood 
Through the wide ETHIOPIAN to the Cape 
Ply stemming nightly toward the Pole.  So seem'd 
Farr off the flying Fiend: at last appeer 
Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid Roof, 
And thrice threefold the Gates; three folds were Brass 
Three Iron, three of Adamantine Rock, 
Impenitrable, impal'd with circling fire, 
Yet unconsum'd.  Before the Gates there sat 
On either side a formidable shape; 
The one seem'd Woman to the waste, and fair, 
But ended foul in many a scaly fould 
Voluminous and vast, a Serpent arm'd 
With mortal sting: about her middle round 
A cry of Hell Hounds never ceasing bark'd 
With wide CERBEREAN mouths full loud, and rung 
A hideous Peal: yet, when they list, would creep, 
If aught disturb'd thir noyse, into her woomb, 
And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd 
Within unseen.  Farr less abhorrd then these 
Vex'd SCYLLA bathing in the Sea that parts 
CALABRIA from the hoarce TRINACRIAN shore: 
Nor uglier follow the Night-Hag, when call'd 
In secret, riding through the Air she comes 
Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance 
With LAPLAND Witches, while the labouring Moon 
Eclipses at thir charms.  The other shape, 
If shape it might be call'd that shape had none 
Distinguishable in member, joynt, or limb, 
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, 
For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night, 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 
And shook a dreadful Dart; what seem'd his head 
The likeness of a Kingly Crown had on. 
SATAN was now at hand, and from his seat 
The Monster moving onward came as fast, 
With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode. 
Th' undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd, 
Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except, 
Created thing naught vallu'd he nor shun'd; 
And with disdainful look thus first began. 
  Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, 
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance 
Thy miscreated Front athwart my way 
To yonder Gates? through them I mean to pass, 
That be assur'd, without leave askt of thee: 
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, 
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav'n. 
  To whom the Goblin full of wrauth reply'd, 
Art thou that Traitor Angel, art thou hee, 
Who first broke peace in Heav'n and Faith, till then 
Unbrok'n, and in proud rebellious Arms 
Drew after him the third part of Heav'ns Sons 
Conjur'd against the highest, for which both Thou 
And they outcast from God, are here condemn'd 
To waste Eternal daies in woe and pain? 
And reck'n'st thou thy self with Spirits of Heav'n, 
Hell-doomd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, 
Where I reign King, and to enrage thee more, 
Thy King and Lord?  Back to thy punishment, 
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, 
Least with a whip of Scorpions I pursue 
Thy lingring, or with one stroke of this Dart 
Strange horror seise thee, and pangs unfelt before. 
  So spake the grieslie terrour, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatning, grew ten fold 
More dreadful and deform: on th' other side 
Incenc't with indignation SATAN stood 
Unterrifi'd, and like a Comet burn'd, 
That fires the length of OPHIUCUS huge 
In th' Artick Sky, and from his horrid hair 
Shakes Pestilence and Warr.  Each at the Head 
Level'd his deadly aime; thir fatall hands 
No second stroke intend, and such a frown 
Each cast at th' other, as when two black Clouds 
With Heav'ns Artillery fraught, come rattling on 
Over the CASPIAN, then stand front to front 
Hov'ring a space, till Winds the signal blow 
To joyn thir dark Encounter in mid air: 
So frownd the mighty Combatants, that Hell 
Grew darker at thir frown, so matcht they stood; 
For never but once more was either like 
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds 
Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung, 
Had not the Snakie Sorceress that sat 
Fast by Hell Gate, and kept the fatal Key, 
Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. 
  O Father, what intends thy hand, she cry'd, 
Against thy only Son?  What fury O Son, 
Possesses thee to bend that mortal Dart 
Against thy Fathers head? and know'st for whom; 
For him who sits above and laughs the while 
At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute 
What e're his wrath, which he calls Justice, bids, 
His wrath which one day will destroy ye both. 
  She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 
Forbore, then these to her SATAN return'd: 
  So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange 
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand 
Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds 
What it intends; till first I know of thee, 
What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why 
In this infernal Vaile first met thou call'st 
Me Father, and that Fantasm call'st my Son? 
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now 
Sight more detestable then him and thee. 
  T' whom thus the Portress of Hell Gate reply'd; 
Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem 
Now in thine eye so foul, once deemd so fair 
In Heav'n, when at th' Assembly, and in sight 
Of all the Seraphim with thee combin'd 
In bold conspiracy against Heav'ns King, 
All on a sudden miserable pain 
Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzie swumm 
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast 
Threw forth, till on the left side op'ning wide, 
Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright, 
Then shining heav'nly fair, a Goddess arm'd 
Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seis'd 
All th' Host of Heav'n; back they recoild affraid 
At first, and call'd me SIN, and for a Sign 
Portentous held me; but familiar grown, 
I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won 
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft 
Thy self in me thy perfect image viewing 
Becam'st enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st 
With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd 
A growing burden.  Mean while Warr arose, 
And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein remaind 
(For what could else) to our Almighty Foe 
Cleer Victory, to our part loss and rout 
Through all the Empyrean: down they fell 
Driv'n headlong from the Pitch of Heaven, down 
Into this Deep, and in the general fall 
I also; at which time this powerful Key 
Into my hand was giv'n, with charge to keep 
These Gates for ever shut, which none can pass 
Without my op'ning.  Pensive here I sat 
Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb 
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown 
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest 
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way 
Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain 
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew 
Transform'd: but he my inbred enemie 
Forth issu'd, brandishing his fatal Dart 
Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out DEATH; 
Hell trembl'd at the hideous Name, and sigh'd 
From all her Caves, and back resounded DEATH. 
I fled, but he pursu'd (though more, it seems, 
Inflam'd with lust then rage) and swifter far, 
Me overtook his mother all dismaid, 
And in embraces forcible and foule 
Ingendring with me, of that rape begot 
These yelling Monsters that with ceasless cry 
Surround me, as thou sawst, hourly conceiv'd 
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite 
To me, for when they list into the womb 
That bred them they return, and howle and gnaw 
My Bowels, their repast; then bursting forth 
Afresh with conscious terrours vex me round, 
That rest or intermission none I find. 
Before mine eyes in opposition sits 
Grim DEATH my Son and foe, who sets them on, 
And me his Parent would full soon devour 
For want of other prey, but that he knows 
His end with mine involvd; and knows that I 
Should prove a bitter Morsel, and his bane, 
When ever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd. 
But thou O Father, I forewarn thee, shun 
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope 
To be invulnerable in those bright Arms, 
Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint, 
Save he who reigns above, none can resist. 
  She finish'd, and the suttle Fiend his lore 
Soon learnd, now milder, and thus answerd smooth. 
Dear Daughter, since thou claim'st me for thy Sire, 
And my fair Son here showst me, the dear pledge 
Of dalliance had with thee in Heav'n, and joys 
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 
Befalln us unforeseen, unthought of, know 
I come no enemie, but to set free 
From out this dark and dismal house of pain, 
Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly Host 
Of Spirits that in our just pretenses arm'd 
Fell with us from on high: from them I go 
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all 
My self expose, with lonely steps to tread 
Th' unfounded deep, & through the void immense 
To search with wandring quest a place foretold 
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now 
Created vast and round, a place of bliss 
In the Pourlieues of Heav'n, and therein plac't 
A race of upstart Creatures, to supply 
Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd, 
Least Heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude 
Might hap to move new broiles: Be this or aught 
Then this more secret now design'd, I haste 
To know, and this once known, shall soon return, 
And bring ye to the place where Thou and Death 
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 
Wing silently the buxom Air, imbalm'd 
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd 
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey. 
He ceas'd, for both seemd highly pleasd, and Death 
Grinnd horrible a gastly smile, to hear 
His famine should be fill'd, and blest his mawe 
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoyc'd 
His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire. 
  The key of this infernal Pit by due, 
And by command of Heav'ns all-powerful King 
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock 
These Adamantine Gates; against all force 
Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 
Fearless to be o'rematcht by living might. 
But what ow I to his commands above 
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down 
Into this gloom of TARTARUS profound, 
To sit in hateful Office here confin'd, 
Inhabitant of Heav'n, and heav'nlie-born, 
Here in perpetual agonie and pain, 
With terrors and with clamors compasst round 
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed: 
Thou art my Father, thou my Author, thou 
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey 
But thee, whom follow? thou wilt bring me soon 
To that new world of light and bliss, among 
The Gods who live at ease, where I shall Reign 
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems 
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end. 
  Thus saying, from her side the fatal Key, 
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took; 
And towards the Gate rouling her bestial train, 
Forthwith the huge Porcullis high up drew, 
Which but her self not all the STYGIAN powers 
Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns 
Th' intricate wards, and every Bolt and Bar 
Of massie Iron or sollid Rock with ease 
Unfast'ns: on a sudden op'n flie 
With impetuous recoile and jarring sound 
Th' infernal dores, and on thir hinges great 
Harsh Thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of EREBUS.  She op'nd, but to shut 
Excel'd her power; the Gates wide op'n stood, 
That with extended wings a Bannerd Host 
Under spread Ensigns marching might pass through 
With Horse and Chariots rankt in loose array; 
So wide they stood, and like a Furnace mouth 
Cast forth redounding smoak and ruddy flame. 
Before thir eyes in sudden view appear 
The secrets of the hoarie deep, a dark 
Illimitable Ocean without bound, 
Without dimension, where length, breadth, and highth, 
And time and place are lost; where eldest Night 
And CHAOS, Ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal ANARCHIE, amidst the noise 
Of endless warrs and by confusion stand. 
For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four Champions fierce 
Strive here for Maistrie, and to Battel bring 
Thir embryon Atoms; they around the flag 
Of each his faction, in thir several Clanns, 
Light-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or slow, 
Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the Sands 
Of BARCA or CYRENE'S torrid soil, 
Levied to side with warring Winds, and poise 
Thir lighter wings.  To whom these most adhere, 
Hee rules a moment; CHAOS Umpire sits, 
And by decision more imbroiles the fray 
By which he Reigns: next him high Arbiter 
CHANCE governs all.  Into this wilde Abyss, 
The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave, 
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire, 
But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt 
Confus'dly, and which thus must ever fight, 
Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain 
His dark materials to create more Worlds, 
Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend 
Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while, 
Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith 
He had to cross.  Nor was his eare less peal'd 
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare 
Great things with small) then when BELLONA storms, 
With all her battering Engines bent to rase 
Som Capital City, or less then if this frame 
Of Heav'n were falling, and these Elements 
In mutinie had from her Axle torn 
The stedfast Earth.  At last his Sail-broad Vannes 
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoak 
Uplifted spurns the ground, thence many a League 
As in a cloudy Chair ascending rides 
Audacious, but that seat soon failing, meets 
A vast vacuitie: all unawares 
Fluttring his pennons vain plumb down he drops 
Ten thousand fadom deep, and to this hour 
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance 
The strong rebuff of som tumultuous cloud 
Instinct with Fire and Nitre hurried him 
As many miles aloft: that furie stay'd, 
Quencht in a Boggie SYRTIS, neither Sea, 
Nor good dry Land: nigh founderd on he fares, 
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 
Half flying; behoves him now both Oare and Saile. 
As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness 
With winged course ore Hill or moarie Dale, 
Pursues the ARIMASPIAN, who by stelth 
Had from his wakeful custody purloind 
The guarded Gold: So eagerly the fiend 
Ore bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare, 
With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way, 
And swims or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flyes: 
At length a universal hubbub wilde 
Of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd 
Born through the hollow dark assaults his eare 
With loudest vehemence: thither he plyes, 
Undaunted to meet there what ever power 
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss 
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask 
Which way the neerest coast of darkness lyes 
Bordering on light; when strait behold the Throne 
Of CHAOS, and his dark Pavilion spread 
Wide on the wasteful Deep; with him Enthron'd 
Sat Sable-vested Night, eldest of things, 
The consort of his Reign; and by them stood 
ORCUS and ADES, and the dreaded name 
Of DEMOGORGON; Rumor next and Chance, 
And Tumult and Confusion all imbroild, 
And Discord with a thousand various mouths. 
  T' whom SATAN turning boldly, thus.  Ye Powers 
And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss, 
CHAOS and ANCIENT NIGHT, I come no Spie, 
With purpose to explore or to disturb 
The secrets of your Realm, but by constraint 
Wandring this darksome desart, as my way 
Lies through your spacious Empire up to light, 
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek 
What readiest path leads where your gloomie bounds 
Confine with Heav'n; or if som other place 
From your Dominion won, th' Ethereal King 
Possesses lately, thither to arrive 
I travel this profound, direct my course; 
Directed, no mean recompence it brings 
To your behoof, if I that Region lost, 
All usurpation thence expell'd, reduce 
To her original darkness and your sway 
(Which is my present journey) and once more 
Erect the Standerd there of ANCIENT NIGHT; 
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge. 
  Thus SATAN; and him thus the Anarch old 
With faultring speech and visage incompos'd 
Answer'd.  I know thee, stranger, who thou art, 
That mighty leading Angel, who of late 
Made head against Heav'ns King, though overthrown. 
I saw and heard, for such a numerous host 
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep 
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, 
Confusion worse confounded; and Heav'n Gates 
Pourd out by millions her victorious Bands 
Pursuing.  I upon my Frontieres here 
Keep residence; if all I can will serve, 
That little which is left so to defend 
Encroacht on still through our intestine broiles 
Weakning the Scepter of old Night: first Hell 
Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath; 
Now lately Heaven and Earth, another World 
Hung ore my Realm, link'd in a golden Chain 
To that side Heav'n from whence your Legions fell: 
If that way be your walk, you have not farr; 
So much the neerer danger; goe and speed; 
Havock and spoil and ruin are my gain. 
  He ceas'd; and SATAN staid not to reply, 
But glad that now his Sea should find a shore, 
With fresh alacritie and force renew'd 
Springs upward like a Pyramid of fire 
Into the wilde expanse, and through the shock 
Of fighting Elements, on all sides round 
Environ'd wins his way; harder beset 
And more endanger'd, then when ARGO pass'd 
Through BOSPORUS betwixt the justling Rocks: 
Or when ULYSSES on the Larbord shunnd 
CHARYBDIS, and by th' other whirlpool steard. 
So he with difficulty and labour hard 
Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour hee; 
But hee once past, soon after when man fell, 
Strange alteration!  Sin and Death amain 
Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n, 
Pav'd after him a broad and beat'n way 
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling Gulf 
Tamely endur'd a Bridge of wondrous length 
From Hell continu'd reaching th' utmost Orbe 
Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse 
With easie intercourse pass to and fro 
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom 
God and good Angels guard by special grace. 
But now at last the sacred influence 
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n 
Shoots farr into the bosom of dim Night 
A glimmering dawn; here Nature first begins 
Her fardest verge, and CHAOS to retire 
As from her outmost works a brok'n foe 
With tumult less and with less hostile din, 
That SATAN with less toil, and now with ease 
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light 
And like a weather-beaten Vessel holds 
Gladly the Port, though Shrouds and Tackle torn; 
Or in the emptier waste, resembling Air, 
Weighs his spread wings, at leasure to behold 
Farr off th' Empyreal Heav'n, extended wide 
In circuit, undetermind square or round, 
With Opal Towrs and Battlements adorn'd 
Of living Saphire, once his native Seat; 
And fast by hanging in a golden Chain 
This pendant world, in bigness as a Starr 
Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon. 
Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge, 
Accurst, and in a cursed hour he hies. 

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