All incorruptible would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and the ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel140
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair; we must exasperate
The almighty victor to spend all his rage,
And that must end us; that must be our cure,
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, swallowed up and lost
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,
—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,160
Reserved, and destined 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