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And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this fide nothing; and by proof we feel
Our pow'r sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne :
Which if not victory is yet revenge.

He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd
Desp’rate revenge, and battel dangerous
To less than Gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane;

105

A

bable at first view: but the Angels and therefore the present reading though often called Gods, yet some- To less than Gods may be justify'd. times are only compar'd or said to 109. Belial, in act more graceful be like the Gods, as in I. 570.

and humane;] Belial is de

fcribed in the first book as the idol Their visages and stature as of of the lewd and luxurious. He is Gods :

in the second book, pursuant to and of the two chief, Michael and that description, characterized as

timorous and slothful; and if we Satan, it is said VI. 301, that

look into the fixth book, we find likeft Gods they seemd: him celebrated in the battel of and of two others we read, VI. Angels for nothing but that scof.

fing speech which he makes to Sa. 366.

tan, on their supposed advantage Two potent Thrones, that to be over the enemy. As his appearless than Gods

ance is uniform and of a piece in Disdain'd:

these three several views, we find

his sentiments in the infernal afand in another place a manifeft diftinction is made between Gods and sembly every way conformable to

bis character. Such are his appreAngels who are called Demi-Gods, hensions of a second battel, his

horrors of annihilation, his preferBut to be Gods, or Angels Demi. ring to be miserable rather than Gods: not to be. I need not observe, that

the

IX. 937

A fairer person loft not Heav'n; he seem'd

110 For dignity composd and high exploit; But all was false and hollow; though his tongue Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low; 115 To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds Timorous and nothful: yet he pleas'd the ear, And with persuasive accent thus began.

I should be much for open war, Peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd 120 Main reafon 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 fact of arms, In what he counsels and in what excels

125

Miftruftful, the contrast of thought in this 113. Drept Manna,] The fame speech, and that which precedes, expreilion, but apply'd differently, gives an agreeable variety to the in Shakespear. Merchant of Ve debate.

Aldison. nice, Act V. The fine contrast, which Mr. Addison observes there is betwixt the Fair ladies, you drop Manna in the characiers of Moloch and Pelial, way might probably be first fuggested to

Of farved people. our poei by a contrast of the same kind betwixt Argantes and Aletes 113.

and could make the worse in the second Canto of Taflo's Je appear rufalem. Tbcr.

The better reason,] Word for word,

from

135

Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? the tow'rs of Heav'n are filled
With armed watch, that render all access

130
Inapregnable; oft on the bord’ring deep
Incamp their legions, or with obscure wing
Scout far and wide into the realm of night,
Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
With blackest infurrection, to confound
Heav'n's purest light, yet our great enemy
All incorruptible would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th' ethereal mold
Incapable of stain would soon expel

140 Her mischief, and purge off the bafer fire

Victorious. from the known profeffion of the Or postbly the author might have ancient Sophists, Toy nogor you given it in faits of arms, such er. mtlw upeilw 2016V.

Bentley. rors of the press being very com

mon and easy. 124.-in fa&t of arms,] Dr. Heylin says it is from the Italian Fatto

138.

would on his throne d'arme a battel ; or else we should

Sit unpolluted] 'Tis a reply to read here feats of arms, as in ver. that part of Moloch's speech, where 537

he had threaten'd to mix the thronę with feats of arms

itself of God with infernal fulphur From either end of Heav'n the and strange fire.

welkin burns.

151. Devoid

Victorious. Thus repuls’d, our final hope
Is flat despair : we must exasperate
Th'almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us, that must be our cure, 145
To be no more; sad cure; for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallow'd

up

and loft In the wide womb of uncreated night, 150 Devoid of sense and motion? and who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry foe Can give it, or will ever? how he can Is doubtful; that he never will is sure, Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 155 Belike through impotence, or unaware, To give his enemies their wish, and end

Them

151. Devoid of sense and motion?] all motion, not only of all the intelDr. Bentley reads Devoid of fenfe lectual but of all vital functions. and action : but motion includes action. Mr. Warburton is of opi 156. — impotence,] 'Tis here nion, and so likewise is the learned meant for the opposit to wisdom, Mr. Upton in his Critical Observa- and is fed frequently by the Latin tions upon Shakespear, that it authors to fignify a weakness of should be read Devoid of sense and mind, an uulteddiness in the gonotion :. but the common reading vernment of our pallions, or the seems better, as it is stronger and conduct of our designs. In this expresses more; they should be de. sense Cicero in Epist. ad Fam. IX.9. priv'd not only of all sense but of fays Victoria ferociores impotentio

resque

Them in his anger, whom his anger

saves To punish endless? Wherefore cease we then? Say they who counsel war, we are decreed, 160 Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse? Is this then worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms? What when we fled amain, pursued and struck 165 With Heav'n's afflicting thunder, and besought The deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay Chain’d on the burning lake? that sure was worse. What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 170 Awak'd should blow them into sev’nfold

rage, And plunge us in the flames ? or from above Should intermitted vengeance arm again

His

resque reddidit. and in Tusc. Disp. been in a worse condition 165 IV. 23. we read Impotentia dico- 169. that sure was worfe; and rum et factorum: hence we often might be so again 170-186. this meet with impotens animi, iræ, do- would be worse. loris &c. and Horace in Od. I.

170.

What if the breath that XXXVII. 10. has Quidlibet impo kindled those grim fires,] tens fperare. Pearce.

If. XXX. 33. For Tophet is ordained 159. Wherefore cease we then? &c.] of old, the pile thereof is fire and Belial is here proposing what is much wood, the breath of the Lord, urged by those who counsel war; like a stream of brimslone, doth and then replies to it, Is this then kindle it. worji &c. and shows that they had

174. His

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