« PoprzedniaDalej »
If by a mortal arm my father's throne
Could have been sav'd-this arm the feat had done.
Troy now commends to thee her future state,
And gives her gods companions of thy fate;
Under their umbrage hope for happier walls,
And follow where thy various fortune calls."
He said, and brought from forth the sacred choir,
The gods and relics of th' immortal fire.
Now peals of shouts came thund'ring from afar,
Cries, threats, and loud lament, and mingled war.
The noise approaches, though our palace stood
Aloof from streets, embosom'd close with wood;
Louder and louder still I hear th' alarms
Of human cries distinct, and clashing arms.
Fear broke my slumbers.
I mount the terrace; thence the town survey,
And listen what the swelling sounds convey.
Then Hector's faith was manifestly clear'd;
And Grecian fraud in open light appear'd.
The palace of Deiphobus ascends
In smoky flames, and catches on his friends.
Ucalegon burns next; the seas are bright
With splendors not their own, and shine with sparkling light.
New clamors and new clangors now arise,
The trumpet's voice, with agonizing cries.
With frenzy seiz'd, I run to meet th' alarms,
Resolv'd on death, resolv'd to die in arms.
But first to gather friends, with whom t' oppose,
If fortune favour'd, and repel the foes,
By courage rous'd, by love of country fir'd,
With sense of honour and revenge inspir'd.
Pantheus, Apollo's priest, a sacred name,
Had 'scap'd the Grecian swords, and pass'd the flame
With relics loaded, to my doors he fled,
And by the hand his tender grandson led.
"What hope, O Pantheus? whither can we run?
Where make a stand? Or, what can yet be done?"
Scarce had I spoke, when Pantheus, with a groan,
"Troy is no more! Her glories now are gone.
The fatal day, th' appointed hour is come,
When wrathful Jove's irrevocable doom
Transfers the Trojan state to Grecian hands:
Our city's wrapt in flames; the foe commands.
To several posts their parties they divide;
Some block the narrow streets; some scour the wide.
The bold they kill; th' unwary they surprise;
Who fights meets death; and death finds him who flies."
XIV.-Moloch, the fallen Angel, to the infernal Powers, incit
ing them to renew the War.
MY sentence is for open war. Of wiles
More unexpert, I boast not; then let those
Contrive who need; or when they need, not now.
For while they sit contriving, shall the rest,
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here,
Heaven's fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his tyranny, who reigns
By our delay? No; let us rather choose,
Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once,
O'er heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms,
Against the tort'rer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder; and for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his angels-and his throne itself,
Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps,
The way seems difficult and steep to scale,
With upright 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; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung upon our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight,
We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then,
Th' event is fear'd. Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath 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, condemn'd
In this abhorred deep to utter wo;
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
Calls us to penance? More destroy'd than thus
We should be quite abolish'd and expire.
What fear we then? What doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? Which to the height enrag'd,
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 power sufficient to disturb this heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne;
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.
XV.-Speech of Belial, advising Peace.
I SHOULD be much for open war, 0 peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd
Main reason to persuade immediate war,
Did not dissuade the 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.
First, what revenge? The towers of heaven are fill'd
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable; oft on the bordering deep
Encamp 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 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
Th' almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure,
To be no more. Sad fate! For who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated night,
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,
Belike through impotence, or unaware,
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 wo;
Whatever doing, what can suffer more,
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
With heaven'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,
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 open'd, and this firmanent
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 forever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains;
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,
Ages of hopeless end! This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or conceal'd, alike
My voice dissuades.
I.-Belcour and Stockwell.
Stock. MR. BELCOUR, I am rejoiced to see you; you are welcome to England.
Bel. I thank you heartily, good Mr. Stockwell. You and I have long conversed at a distance; now we are met; and the pleasure this meeting gives me, amply compensates for the perils I have run through in accomplishing it.
Stock. What perils, Mr. Belcour? I could not have thought you would have met with a bad passage at this time o'year.
Bel. Nor did we. Courier-like, we came posting to your shores, upon the pinions of the swiftest gales that ever blew. It is upon English ground all my difficulties have arisen; it is the passage from the river-side I complain of.
Stock. Indeed! What obstructions can you have met between this and the river-side?
Bel. Innumerable! Your town's as full of defiles as the island of Corsica; and I believe they are as obstinately
defended. So much hurry, bustle, and confusion, on your quays; so many sugar casks, porter butts, and common council men, in your streets; that, unless a man marched with artillery in his front, it is more than the labour of a Hercules can effect, to make any tolerable way through your town.
Stock. I am sorry you have been so incommoded.
Bel. Why, truly, it was all my own fault. Accustomed to a land of slaves, and out of patience with the whole tribe of custom-house extortioners, boatmen, tide waiters and water bailiffs, that beset me on all sides, worse than a swarm of moschetoes, I proceeded a little too roughly to brush them away with my ratan. The sturdy rogues took this in dudgeon; and beginning to rebel, the mob chose different sides, and a furious scuffle ensued; in the course of which, my person and apparel suffered so much, that I was obliged to step into the first tavern to refit, before I could make my approaches in any decent trim.
Stock. Well, Mr. Belcour, it is a rough sample you have had of my countrymen's spirit; but I trust you will not think the worse of them for it.
Bel. Not at all, not at all: I like them the better.Were I only a visiter, I might perhaps wish them a little more tractable; but, as a fellow subject, and a sharer in their freedom, I applaud their spirit-though I feel the effects of it in every bone in my skin. -Well, Mr. Stockwell, for the first time in my life, here am I in England; at the fountain head of pleasure; in the land of beauty, of arts and elegancies. My happy stars have given me a good estate, and the conspiring winds have blown me hither to spend it..
Stock. To use it, not to waste it, I should hope; to treat it, Mr. Belcour, not as a vassal over whom you have a wanton despotic power, but as a subject whom you are bound to govern with a temperate and restrained authority. Bel. True, Sir, most truly said; mine's a commission, not a right; I am the offspring of distress, and every child of sorrow is my brother. While I have hands to hold, therefore, I will hold them open to mankind. But, Sir, my passions are my masters; they take me where they will; and oftentimes they leave to reason and virtue, nothing but my wishes and my sighs.
Stock. Come, come, the man who can accuse, corrects