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Since now we find this our empyreal form
440 Or equal what between us made the odds, In nature none : if other hidden cause Left them superior, while we can preserve Unhurt our minds and understanding sound, Due search and consultation will disclose.
445 He sat; and in th' assembly next upstood Nisroch, of Principalities the prime ; As one he stood escap'd from cruel fight, Sore toil'd, his riven arms to havoc hewn, And cloudy in aspect thus answ'ring spake. Deliverer from new Lords, leader to free Enjoyment of our right as Gods; yet hard For Gods, and too unequal work we find, Against unequal arms to fight in pain, Against unpain’d, impassive; from which evil 455 Ruin must needs ensue ; for what avails Valour or strength, though matchless, quell’d with pain Which all subdues, and makes remiss the hands Of mightiest ? Sense of pleasure we may well Spare out of life perhaps, and not repine,
460 But live content, which is the calmest life : But pain is perfect misery, the worst
Of evils, and excessive, overturns
WHERE TO with look compos’d Satan reply'd. Not uninvented that, which thou aright
470 Believ’st so main to our success, I bring. Which of us who beholds the bright surface Of this ethereous mould whereon we stand, This continent of spacious Heav'n, adorn'd With plant, fruit, flow'r ambrosial, gems and gold; Whose eye so superficially surveys These things, as not to mind from whence they grow Deep under ground, materials dark and crude, Of spirituous and fiery spume, till touch'd With Heaven's ray, and temper'd they shoot forth So beauteous, opening to the ambient light? These in their dark nativity the deep Shall yield us pregnant with infernal flame; Which into hollow engines long and round Thick ramm’d, at th' other bore with touch of fire Dilated and infuriate, shall send forth From far with thund'ring noise among our foes Such implements of mischief, as shall dash To pieces, and o’erwhelm whatever stands Adverse, that they shall fear we have disarm'd 490 The Thund'rer of his only dreaded bolt.
Nor long shall be our labour; yet ere dawn,
He ended, and his words their drooping cheer
501 In future days, if malice should abound, Some one intent on mischief, or inspir’d With devilish machination, might devise Like instrument to plague the sons of men 505 For sin, on war and mutual slaughter bent. Forthwith from council to the work they flews None arguing stood s innumerable hands Were ready; in a moment up they turn'd Wide the celestial soil, and saw beneath Th' originals of nature in their crude Conception; sulphurous and nitrous foam They found, they mingled, and with subtle art, Concocted and adusted they reduc'd To blackest grain, and into store convey'd 515 Tart hidden veins digg'd up (nor hath this earth Entrails unlike) of mineral and stone, Whereof to found their engines and their balls Of missive ruin ; part incentive reed Frovide, pernicious with one touch to fire.
So all ere day-spring, under conscious night,
Now when fair morn orient in Heav'n appear’d,
525 The matin trumpet sung ; in arms they stood Of golden panoply, refulgent host, Soon banded; others from the dawning hills Look'd round, and scouts each coast light-armed scour, Each quarter, to descry the distant foe
530 Where lodg’d, or whither fled, or if for fight, In motion, or in halt. him soon they met Under spread ensigns moving nigh, in slow But firm battalion; back with specdiest sail Zophiel, of Cherubim the swiftest wing,
535 Came fly'ing, and in mid air aloud thus cry'd.
Arm, warriors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,
545 But rattling storm of arrows barb'd with fire.
So warn'd he them aware themselves, and soon
Not distant far with heavy pace the foe
VANGUARD, to right and left the front unfold;
So scoffing in ambiguous words, he scarce