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Stands on the blasted heath. He now prepared
To speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bend
From wing to wing, and half inclose him round
With all his peers. Attention held them mute.
Thrice he assay’d; and thrice, in spite of scorn,
Tears, such as angels weep, burst forth: at last,
Words, interwove with sighs, found out their way.

"O Myriads of immortal Spirits, 0 Powers
Matchless, but with the Almighty; and that strife
Was not inglorious, though the event was dire, 624
As this place testifies, and this dire change,
Hateful to utter: but what power of mind,
Foreseeing or presaging, from the depth
Of knowledge past or present, could have fear'd
How such united force of gods, how such
As stood like these, could ever know repulse ?
For who can yet believe, though after loss,
That all these puissant legions, whose exile
Hath emptied Heaven, shall fail to reascend
Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?
For me, be witness all the host of Heaven,

635 If counsels different, or danger shunn'd By me, have lost our hopes. But he, who reigns Monarch in Heaven, till then as one secure Sat on his throne, upheld by old repute, Consent, or custom, and his regal state Put forth at full, but still his strength conceal'd, Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall. Henceforth his might we know, and know our own, So as not either to provoke or dread New war, provoked; our better part remains To work in close design, by fraud or guile,

646 What force effected not; that he no less At length from us may find, who overcomes By force hath overcome but half his foe. Space may produce new worlds; whereof so rife There went a fame in Heaven that he ere long Intended to create, and therein plant A generation, whom his choice regard Should favor equal to the sons of Heaven: Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhaps Our first eruption, thither or elsewhere; For this infernal pit shall never hold

657

Celestial spirits in bondage, nor the abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature: Peace is despaird,
For who can think submission? War, then, war
Open or understood, must be resolved.”

He spake : and, to confirm his words, out flew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty cherubim: the sudden blaze
Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged
Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms 007
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

There stood a hill not far, whose grisly top
Belch'd fire and rolling smoke; the rest entire
Shone with a glossy scurf, undoubted sign
That in his womb was hid metallic ore,
The work of sulphur. Thither, wing’d with speed,
A numerous brigade hasten'd: as when bands
Of pioneers, with spade and pickaxe arm'd,
Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,
Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on;

678
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From Heaven; for e'en in Heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of Heaven's pavement, trodden gold,
Than aught divine or holy else enjoy'd
In vision beatific. By him first
Men also, and by his suggestion taught,
Ransack'd the centre, and with impious hands
Rifled the bowels of their mother earth
For treasures better hid. Soon had his crew
Open'd into the hill a spacious wound,

689 And digg'd out ribs of gold. Let none admire That riches grow in Hell; that soil may best Deserve the precious bane. And here let those Who boast in mortal things, and, wondering, tell Of Babel and the works of Memphian kings, Learn how their greatest monuments of fame, And strength, and art, are easily outdone By spirits reprobate, and in an hour What in an age they, with incessant toil, And hands innumerable, scarce perform. Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,

700

That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wonderous art founded the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scumm'd the bullion dross:
A third as soon had form’d within the ground
A various mould, and from the boiling cells,
By strange conveyance, fill’d each hollow nook;
As in an organ, from one blast of wind,
To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.
Anon out of the earth a fabric huge

710
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there waru
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven:
The roof was fretted gold./ Not Babylon,
Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equall'd in all their glories, to inshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove 721
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile
Stood fix'd her stately height; and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover wide
Within her ample spaces o’er the smooth
And level pavement. From the archéd roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky. The hasty multitude,
Admiring, enter'd; and the work some praise,
And some the architect: his hand was known 732
In Heaven by many a tower'd structure high,
Where sceptred angels held their residence,
And sat as princes, whom the supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,
Each in his hierarchy, the orders bright.
Nor was his name unheard or unadored
In ancient Greece; and in Ausonian land
Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell

From Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry Jove | Sheer o'er the crystal battlements; from morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,

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A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos, the Ægean islet thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now
To have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he 'scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent,
With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.

Meanwhile the wingéd heralds, by con mand
Of sovereign power, with awful ceremony

753 And trumpets’ sound, throughout the host proclaim A solemn council forth with to be held At Pandemonium, the high capital Of Satan and his peers : their summons call'a From every band and squared regiment, By place or choice, the worthiest; they anon, With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came Attended : all access was throng'd; the gates And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall (Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold Wont ride in arm’d, and at the Soldan's chair 764 Defied the best of Panim chivalry To mortal combat, or career with lance) Thick swarm’d, both on the ground and in the air, Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees In spring time, when the sun with Taurus rides, Pour forth their populous youth about the hive In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers Fly to and fro, or on the smoothéd plank, The suburb of their straw-built citadel, New rubb’d with balm, expatiate and confer Their state affairs; so thick the airy crowd

775 Swarm’d and were straiten'd; till, the signal given, Behold a wonder ! they, but now who seem'd In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons, Now less than smallest dwarts, in narrow room Throng'd numberless; like that pygmean race Beyond the Indian mount; or fairy elves, Whose midnight revels, by a forest-side Or fountain, some belated peasant sees, Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth Wheels her pale course, they, on their mirth and dance 786

Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
Thus incorporeal spirits to smallest forms
Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without number, still amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
And in their own dimensions like themselves,
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
In close recess and secret conclave sat,
A thousand Demigods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then,
And summons read, the great consult began.

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