"Counseled Ignoble Ease, And Peaceful Sloth"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 146

Context: At the grand council of rebel angels in Hell, Moloch asks for continuing war against God and His will. Belial counsels against war, for he believes, as Moloch does not, that the rebel angels are no match for God or the heavenly hosts. Belial says that the rebels must bear their punishment submissively, in the hope that God, in return, will let them endure Hell unmolested. In Hell, of course, the rebels had found vast treasure and built themselves a capital, where they are meeting to find a plan of action. It is noteworthy that the context of the quotation includes a Homeric "tag," a device used in epic poetry to indicate the identity of a speaker after a long speech, as Belial's is. The poet comments on Belial's speech:

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Thus Belial with words clothed in reason's garb
Counseled ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth,
Not peace.

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