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Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either ; black it stood as Night, 670
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast 675

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The undaunted Fiend what this might be admired;
Admired, not fear'd; God and his son except,
Created thing nought valued he, nor shunn'd;
And with diedainful look thus first began :

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape !
That darest, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way.
To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave ask'd of thee :
Retire or taste thy folly; and learn by proof,
Hell-born! not to contend with Spirits of heaven.

To whom the Goblin full of wrath replied :
Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou He
Who first broke peace in Heaven, and faith, till then
Unbroken ; and in proud rebellious arms

691
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons
Conjured against the Highest ; for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd
To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 695
And reckon’st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven,
Hell-doom'd! and breathest defiance here and scorn,
Where I reign king; and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive ! and to thy speed add wings; 700
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering; or with one stroke of this dart
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.

So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold 705

More dreadful and deform. On the other side,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified ; and like a comet burn'd,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 710
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Leveld his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend ; and such a frown
Each càst at th other, as when two black clouds,
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 715
Over the Caspian ; then stand front to front, ,
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air:
So frown'd the mighty combatants that Hell
Grew darker at their frown: so match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like

721
To meet so great a foe: And now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat
Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, 725
Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.
· O Father! what intends thy hand, she cried,
Against thy only Son? What fury, O Son!
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father's head ? and know'st for whom;
For him who sits above, and laughs the while 731
At thee ordain'd his drudge ; to execute
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids ?
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both !

She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 735 Forbore ; then these to her Satan return'd:.

So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strango Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds What it intends ; till first I know of thee 740 What thing thou art, thus double-form'd; and why, In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st Me Father, and that phantasm call'st my Son :

750

I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.

To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied:
Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swam
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth; till, on the left side opening wide, 755
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm'd,
Out of thy head I sprang ; Amazement seized
All the host of Heaven; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a sign

760 Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, I pleased, and with attractive graces won The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing Becamest enamour'd; and such joy thou took'st 765 With me in secret that my womb conceived A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, And fields were fought in Heaven ; Wherein remain'd (For what could else ?) to our Almighty Foe Clear victory ; to our part loss and rout,

770 Through all the empyréan ; down they fell Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down Into this deep; and in the general fall I also ; at which time, this powerful key Into my hand was given, with charge to keep 775 These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Without my opening. Pensive here I sat Alone ; but long I sat not, till my womb Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes. At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,

Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transform'd : But he my inbred enemy

785
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy! I fled, and cried out Death!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death!
I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 790
Inflamed with lust than rage,) and, swifter far,
Me overtook, his mother, all dismay'd;
And, in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendering with me, of thát rape begot
These yelling monsters that with ceaseless cry 795
Surround me, as thou saw'st: hourly conceived
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me; for, when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl and gnaw
My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth 801
Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death, my son and foe; who sets them on,
And me his parent would full soon devour 805
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involved; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounced.
But thou, O Father! I forewarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow ; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heavenly; for that mortal dint,
Şave he who reigns above, none can resist.

She finish'd; and the subtle Fiend his lore 815 Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'd smooth

Dear Daughter! since thou claim'st me for thy sire * And my fair son here show'st me, (the dear pledge Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys

Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change,
Beiallen us, unforeseen, unthought of) know, 821
I come no enemy, but to set free
From out this dark and dismal house of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host
Of Spirits, that, in our just pretences arm'd, 825
Fell with us from on high: From them I go
This uncouth errand sole ; and one for all
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
The unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wandering quest a place foretold 830
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the purlieus of Heaven, and therein placed
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room ; though more removed, 835
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this or aught
Than this more secret now design'd, I haste
To know ; and, this once known, shall soon return,
And bring ye to the place where Thou and Death 840
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, embalm'd
With odoürs; there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.

He ceased, for both seem'd highly pleased; and Death Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear

846
His famine should be fill’d; and bless'd his maw
Destined to that good hour: No less rejoiced
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire :

The key of this infernal pit by due,
And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King,
I keep ; by him forbidden to unlock
These adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,
Fearless to be o'ermatch'd by living might.

855 But what owe I to his commands above Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down

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