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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 heav'n,' shall fail to reascend
Self-raised, and repossess their native seat ?
For me, be witness all the host of heav'n,
If counsels different or danger shunn'd
By me have lost our hopes : but he, who reigns
Monarch in heav'n, 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 conceald,
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,
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 heav'n, that he ere long
Intended to create, and therein plant
A generation, whom his choice regard
Should favour 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
Celestial spirits in bondage, nor th' Abyss
Long under darkness cover. But these thoughts
Full counsel must mature : peace is despair'd;
For who can think submission ? war then, war
Open or understood, must be resolved.

1 Rev. xii. 4.

He spake: and to confirm his words outflew
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
Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war,
Hurling defiance toward the vault of heav'n.

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,
Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From heav'n; for ev'n in heav'n his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heav'n'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,
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 wond'ring 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.

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1 The word Mammon is Syriac for riches (Matt. vi. 24); personified also by Spenser.

Nigh on the plain in many cells prepared,
That underneath had veins of liquid fire
Sluiced from the lake, a second multitude
With wond'rous art founded the massy ore,
Severing each kind, and scumm'd the bullion dross.
A third as soon had formed 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
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 want
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 Ægypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. Th’ ascending pile
Stood fixt her stately highth, and straight the doors,
Op’ning their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement: from the arched roof,
Pendant 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
In heav'n by many a towered structure high,
Where sceptred angels held their residence,
And sat as princes; whom the supreme King
Exalted to such power, and gave to rule,

i Cairo, in Egypt.

Each in bis 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 heav'n they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements ; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer's day; and with the setting sun
Dropt from the Zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos th’ Ægean isle; thus they relate,
Erring; for he with this rebellious rout
Fell long before; nor aught avail'd him now
To have builtin heav'n high towers; nor did he 'scape
By all his engines, but was headlong sent
With his industrious crew to build in hell.

Meanwhile the wingèd heralds by command
Of sov'reign power, with awful ceremony
And tri mpets sound, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council forthwith to be held
At Pandæmonium, the high capital
Of Satan and his peers : their summons callid
From every band and squarèd regiment
By place or choice the worthiest; they anon
With hundreds and with thousands trooping camo
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
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 smoothèd plank,
The suburb of their straw-built citadel,

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New rubb'd with balm, expatiate, and confer
Their state affairs : So thick the aery crowd
Swarm'd and were straiten'd; till, the signal giv'n,
Behold a wonder! they, but now who seem'd
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless, like that Pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount, or Fairy Elves,
Whose midnight reve's, by a forest side,
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon
Sits arbitress,' and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance
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 conclavé sat,
A thousand Demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult began.

Spectatress.--Hor. Ep. V. 49.

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