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Fierce cou- By our delay!(1) No-let us rather choose,
Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once
O'er Heavens high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against our torturer. When to meet the noise
Of his terrific engine, he shall hear
Bitter ma Infernal thunder, and for lightning see
Black fire and horror, shot with equal rage
Amongst his angels; and his throne itself
Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
Recollection His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With adverse wing, against a higher foe.-
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our proper motion, we ascend
Up to our native seat. Descend and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late
When our fierce foe hung on our broken rear,
Insulting, and pursu'd us through the deep;
With what compulsion, and laborious flight
*Arguing. We sunk thus low?-*Th' ascent is easy then.
Th' event is fear'd-Should we again provoke
Our enemy, some worse way he may find
To our destruction; if there be in hell
Fear to be worse destroy'd.-What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, con-
Complaint. 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
Inexorable, and the tort'ring hour
Call us to penance ?More destroy'd than thus
We must be quite abolish'd, and expire.
What fear we then?-What, doubt we to incense His utmost ire, which, to the height enrag'd,
(1) "No, let us," &c. to "but perhaps," can hardly be overafted, if the dignity of the fpeaker be kept up in pronouncing the paffage. At the words, "but perhaps," the angel compofes himself again.
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
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 we feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heav'n,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne ;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge. (1)
The Speech of the fallen angel BELIAL, in answer to the foregoing. [IBID.]
I SHOULD be much for open war, O 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 most excels in feats 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.
But what revenge ?-The towers of Heaven are
(1) The voice, inftead of falling toward the end of this line, as ufual, is to rife; and, in fpeaking the word revenge, the col lected fierceness of the whole fpeech, ought, as it were, to be expreffed in one word.
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable. Oft on the bord'ring deep
Encamp their legions; or, with flight obscure,
Scout far and wide into the realms of night,
Scorning surprize.-Or, could we break our way Apprehen.
Arguing. Devoid of sense and motion ?-But will he,
So wise, let loose at once his utmost ire,
Belike through impotence, or unawares,
To give his enemies their wish, and end'
Them in his anger whom his anger saves
To punish endless?
"Wherefore cease we then,"
Say they who counsel war; we are decreed,
Reserv'd and destin'd to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more?
Arguing. What can we suffer worse?" * Is this then worst,
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What, when we fled amain, pursu'd and struck
By Heaven's afflicting thunder, and besought
The deep to shelter us; this place then seem'd
A refuge from those wounds: Or when we lay,
Chain'd on the burning lake? That sure was
By force, and at our heels all hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven's purest light; yet our great enemy,
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
Our conqueror to let loose his boundless rage,
And that must end us, that must be our cure,
To be no more!-Sad cure !-For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
These thoughts that wander through eternity.-
To perish utterly; for ever lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
Apprehen. What if the breath, that kindled these grim fires,
Awak'd, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames? Or from above,
Should intermitted vengeance, arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened; and this firmament
Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threat'ning hideous fall
One day upon our heads, while we, perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurl'd,
Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey
Of wrecking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
'T'here to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreliev'd,
Ages of hopeless end !-This would be worse.-
War, therefore, open, or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades.-
Shall we then live thus vile! The race of RemonHeaven ftrance with contempt.
Thus trampled, thus expell'd, to fuffer here Chains and these torments !" Better these than Diffuasion. worse,
By my advice. To suffer, as to do
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 their conqueroffen
This is now
Our doom; which if with courage we can bear, Encourage.
Our foe supreme, in time, may much remit
His anger, and, perhaps, thus far remov'd,
Not mind us, not offending, satisfy'd
With what is punish'd; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our pure essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour, or inur'd, not feel,
Or chang'd, at length, and to the place conform'd
In temper, and in nature, will receive,
Familiar, the fierce heat, and void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light.
Besides what hope the never-ending flow
Of future days may bring; what chance, what change,
Worth waitingSince our present lot appears,
For happy, dismal; yet, for ill, not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.
MAY it please the imperial Majesty of Cæsar favourably to accept the humble submissions and grateful acknowledgements of the weak, though faithful guide of his youth. (1)
It is now a great many years since I first had the honour of attending your imperial Majesty as preceptor. And your bounty has rewarded my labours with such affluence, as has drawn Complaint. upon me, what I had reason to expect, the envy of many of those persons, who are always ready to prescribe to their prince, where to bestow, and where to withhold his favours. It is well known, that your illustrious ancestor, Augustus, bestowed on his deserving favourites, Agrippa, and Macenas, honours and emoluments, suitable to the dignity of the benefactor and to the services of the receivers; nor has his conduct been blamed. My employment
The speech of Seneca the philosopher, to Nero, complaining of the envy of his enemies, and requesting the emperor to reduce him back to his former narrow circumstances, that he might no longer be an object of their malignity, [The substance is taken from Corn. Tacit. ANNAL. xiv.]
(1) Seneca was one of Nero's preceptors; and the emperor feemed, during the first part of his reign, to have profited much by his inftructions. The egregious follies, and enormous, unprovoked cruelties he afterwards committed, of which his ordering Seneca to put himself to death, is among the most flagrant, feem hardly otherwife accountable, than by fuppofing that he loft the ufe of his reafon.