Page:Paradise lost by Milton, John.djvu/45

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39
BOOK II.

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;
To vice industrious, but to noble deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:
"I should be much for open war, O Peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urged120
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissude 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
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 filled
With armed watch, that render all access130
Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep
Encamped 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