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Mean while the winged haralds by command Of sov'reign power, with awful ceremony And trumpets' 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 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 Defi'd 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 flower Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank, The suburb of their straw-built citadel, New rubb'd with balm, expatiate, and confer

765

752 Haralds] Par. Lost, 1st ed. Steevens' Shakesp. (Pericles) ed. 1793, vol. xiii.

p.

489. 769 Taurus) v. Virg. Georg. i. 217. • Candidus auratis aperit cum cornibus annum Taurus.' Hume.

774 expatiate] i. e. walk abroad. v. Virg. Æn. iv. 62. Cic. Orat. iii. "Ut palæstrice spatiari.' Todd.

775

780

785

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 revels, 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
Reduc'd their shapes immense, and were at large, 790
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 demi-gods on golden seats,
Frequent and full. After short silence then
And summons read, the great consult began.

795

784 dreams] See Ap. Rhod. Arg. iv. 1479. Virg. Æn. vi.

453. Todd.

785 arbitress] v. Hor. Ep. v. 49.

· Non infideles arbitræ Nox et Diana.' Heylin.

36

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT.

THE consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, 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 honoured and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between hell and heaven: with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand

1 High] Compare with this the opening of the second book of Ovid's Metam.

6

Regia solis erat,' &c. 2 Ormus] See View of Ormus, in Buckingham's Travels in Assyria, p. 428, 4to.

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Showers on her kings Barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with heaven, and by success untaught
His proud imaginations thus display'd.

Powers and Dominions, Deities of heaven,
For since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigor, though oppress’d and fall’n,
I give not heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial virtues rising will appear
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 heaven
Did first create your leader, next free choice,
With what besides, in council or in fight,
Hath been achiev'd of merit; yet this loss,
Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more
Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
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

20

25

4 Barbaric] Lucret, lib. ii. 500. “Barbaricæ vestes.' Euripid. Iph. Aul. 73. de Paride:

χρυσώ τε λάμπρος, βαρβάρω χλιδήματι. and Virg. Æn. ii. 504.

35

Of endless pain ? Where there is then no good 30
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction; for none sure will claim in hell
Precedence, none, whose portion is so small
Of present pain, that with ambitious mind
Will covet more. With this advantage then
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assur'd us; and by what best

way, 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 heaven, now fiercer by despair: 45 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 lost

40

38 our just inheritance] See Crashaw's Steps to the Temple, p. 64. (1646.)

" And for the never fading fields of light,

My fair inheritance, he confines me here: ' and Beaumont's Psyche, c. i. st. 24. • Was't not enough against the righteous law Of primogeniture to throw us down, From that bright home which all the world does know Was by confest inheritance our own.'

40 best way] Compare Spenser's F. Queen, vii. vi. 21. and ii. xi. 7. Todd.

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