Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

BOOK II.

Che argument. The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battel bo to

be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dif. suade. A third proposal is preferr'd, mention'd before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaveu concerning another world, and another kind of creatare equal or not much inferior to themselves, about this time to be created : their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search : Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage, is honor'd and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations led them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He paffes on his journey to Hell gates, finds them tut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are open'd, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Hraven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the light of this new world which he sought.

[ocr errors]

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outthone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Show'rs on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted fat, by merit rais'd
To that bad eminence; and from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to purfue
Vain war with Heay'n, and by success untanght
His proud imaginations thụs display'd.

Pow'rs and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n,
For since no deep within her gulf can hold

20

Immortal vigor, though oppress’d and fall’n,
I give not Heav'n for loft. From this defcent
Celestial Virtues rising, will appear

IS
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate.
Me though just right, and the fix'd laws of Hear'n
Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in counsel or in fight,
Hath been achiev'd of merit, yet this lofs
Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more
Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw 25
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes.
Foremost to stand against the Thund'rer's aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? where there is then no good 30
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction; for none fure will clame in Hell
Precedence, none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will covet more. With this advantage then 35
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heav'n, we now return
To clame our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, 40

Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate; who can advise, may speak.

He ceas'd, and next him Moloch, scepter'd king,
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit
That fought in Heav'n, now fiercer by despair : 43
His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Car'd not to be at all; with that care loft
Went all his fear : of God, or Hell, or worse
He reck'd not, and these words thereafter spake. 50

My sentence is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. For while they fit contriving, sall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 55 The signal to ascend, sit ling’ring here Heav'n's fugitives, and for their dwelling place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay ? No, let us rather chose,

60 Arm'd with Hell fames and fury, all at once O'er Heav'n's high tow'rs to force resitless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Tort'rer; when to meet the noise Of his Almighty engin hé shall hear Infernal thunder, and for lightning see Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his angels, and his throne itself

65

Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps 70
The way seems difficult and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foc.
Let such bethink them, if the seepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benum not still,
That in our proper motion we ascend

75
Up to our native feat: 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 fight 80
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy 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 85
Than 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 90
Inexorably, and the torturing hour
Calls us to penance ? More destroy'd than thus
We should be quite abolish'd and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag'd, 95
Will either quite consume us, and reduce

[ocr errors]

To nothing this essential, happier far
Than 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 wę feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heav'n,
And with perpetgal inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which if not victory is yet revenge.

105
He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desp'rate revenge, and battel dangerous
To less than gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;
A fairer person loft not Heav'n; he seem'd IIO
For dignity compos’d and high exploit :
But all was false and hollow ; though his tongue
Dropt manna, and could make the worfe appear
The better reason, to perplex and das
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low; 115
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and Nothful : yet he pleas'd the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began.

I should be much for open war, 0 Peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd Main reason to persuade immediate war, Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success : When he who molt excels in fact of arms,

I 20

« AnteriorContinua »