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* Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad
Through all the coasts of dark destruction sçek
Deliverance for us all: this enterprise

465
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 huge must earn.

But they Dreaded not more th' adventure than his voice Forbidding; 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 rey'rence prone; and as a God Extol him equal to the high'st in Heaven : Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd 480 That for the general safety he despis'd 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 yarnish'd o'er with zeal, 485 Thus they their doubtful consultations dark Ended rejoicing in their matchless chief : As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds Ascending, while the north-wind sleeps, o'er-spread Heav'n's cheerful face, the low'ring element 490 Scowls o'er the darken'd landskip snow, or shower ; If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet

Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest 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
Than Hell's dread emperor with pomp supreme,
And God-like imitated state ; him round
A globe of fiery Seraphim inclos'd
With bright emblazonry, 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 Cherubims Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy By heralds' voice explain'd; the hollow' abyss Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell With deaf'ning shout return'd them loud acclaim. 520 Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat rais’d By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers

510

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530

Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice
Leads him perplex’d, where he may likeliest find 525
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 their fiery steeds, or shun the goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form.
As when to warn proud cities war appears
Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush
To battle in the clouds, before each van

535
Prick forth the airy 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 Typhosan rage more fell
Pend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540
m whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
As when Alcides, from @chalia 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 ta threw

545 Into th’Euboic sea. Others more mild, Retreated in a silent valley, sing With notes angelical to many a harp Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of battle ; and complain that fate

550 Free virtue should inthrall to force her chance. Their song was partial, but the harmony

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