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Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here confined,
Inhabitant of Heaven, and heavenly born,

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Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamours compass'd round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed ?
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gavest me; whom should I obey

865 But thee? whom follow ? thou wilt bring me soon To that new world of light and bliss, among The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems Thy daughter and thy darling, without end. 870 Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, Sad instrument of all our woe, she took; And, toward the gate rolling her bestial train, Forthwith the huge portcullis high updrew, Which but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 875 Could once have moved; then in the keyhole turns The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar, Of massy iron or solid rock with ease Unfastens: On a sudden open fly With impetuous recoil and jaring sound 880 The infernal doors, and on their hinges grata Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut Excell'd her power; the gates wide open stood, That with extended wings a banner'd host, 885 Under spread ensigns, marching, might pass through With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array: So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. Before their eyes in sudden view appear The secrets of the hoary deep; a dark Illimitable ocean, without bound, Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height, And time, and place are lost; where eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold

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Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce,
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag 900
Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands.
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 903
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment : Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray,
By which he reigns: Next him, high arbiter,
Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss, 910
The womb of Nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mix'd
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds ;
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend .
Stood on the brink of Hell, and look'd awhile,
Pondering his voyage ; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal'd

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With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellona storms,
With all her battering engines bent to rase
Some capital city ; or less than if this frame
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements 925
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The steadfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

930 Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets A vast vacuity: all unawares Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops

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Ten thousand fathom deep; and to this hour
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance 935
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft : that fury staid,
Quench'd in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land : nigh founder'd on he fares, 940
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying ; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a gryphon, through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth

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Had from bis wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold : So eagerly the Fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. 950
At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence : thither he plies,
Undaunted to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread

960 Wide on the wasteful deep ; with him enthroned Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, The consort of his reign; and by them stood Orcus and Hades, and the dreaded name Of Demogorgon; Rumour next and Chance, 965 And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd, . And Discord with a thousand various mouths.

To whom Satan turning boldly, thus: Ye Powers And Spirits of this nethermost abyss, Chaos and ancient Night! I come no spy, 970 With purpose to explore or to disturb

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980

The secrets of your realm : but, by constraint
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek

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What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with Heaven; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, the ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound ; direct my course;
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof: if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expellid, reduce
To her original darkness, and your sway
(Which is my present journey,) and once more 985
Erect the standard there of ancient Night;
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With faltering speech and visage incomposed, Answer'd: I know thee, stranger, who thou art, 990 That mighty leading Angel, who of late Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown I saw and heard; for such a numerous host Fled not in silence through the frighted deep, With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,

995 Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven gates Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here Keep residence; if all I can will serve That little which is left so to defend,

1000 Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first Hell, Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; Now lately Heaven, and Earth, another world, Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain 1005 To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell : If that way be your walk, you have not far; So much the nearer danger; go, and speed! Havoc, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.

He ceased ; and Satan staid not to reply; 1010 But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, With fresh alacrity, and force renew'd, Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, Into the wide expanse; and, through the shock Of fighting elements, on all sides round

1015 Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset And more endanger'd than when Argo pass'd Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks : Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd. 1020 So he with difficulty and labour hard Moved on: with difficulty and labour he: But, he once pass'd, soon after, when man fell, Strange alteration! Sin and. Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heaven, Paved after him a broad and beaten way 1026 Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb Of this frail world ; by which the Spirits perverse With easy intercourse pass to and fro

1031 To tempt or punish mortals, except whom God and good Angels guard by special grace. But now at last the sacred influence Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven 1035 Shoots far into the bosom of dim night A glimmering dawn; Here Nature first begins Her furthest verge, and Chaos to retire As from her outmost works a broken foe With tumult less, and with less hostile din ; 1040 That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light; And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; Or in the emptier waste, resembling air, Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide

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