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Purge off this gloom : the soft delicious air, 400
This said, he sat; and expectation held His look suspense, awaiting who appear’d To second, or oppose, or undertake The perilous attempt: but all sat mute, 420 Pond'ring the danger with deep thoughts; and each In others count'nance read his own dismay Astonish'd :
: none among the choice and prime Of those Heav'n-warring champions could be found So hardy as to proffer or accept
425 Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last, Satan, whom now transcendant glory rais'd Above his fellows, with monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake.
O Progeny of Heaven! empyreal Thrones! 430 With reason hath deep silence and demur Seiz'd us, though undismay’d: long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to light; Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round 435 Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant Barr’d over us prohibit all egress. These pass’d, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being 440 Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Or unknown region, what remains him less Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ? But I should ill become this throne, O Peers! 445 And this imperial sovranty, adorn’d With splendor, arm’d with power, if aught propos'd And judg’d of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty' or danger could deter Me from attempting. Wherefore do' I assume These royalties, and not refuse to reign, 451 Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honor, due alike To him who reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest 453 High honor'd sits ? Go therefore mighty Powers ! Terror of Heav'n, though fall'n; intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell
More tolerable; if there be cure or charm 460
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 luge must earn.
But they Dreaded not more th’adventure than his voice Forbidding ; and 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 reverence prone ; and as a god Extol him equal to the Hig'hest in Heav'n: Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, That for the general safety he despis’d
481 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 varnish'd o'er with zeal.
483 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
The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell 519
up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540