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Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
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
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
930 Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets A vast vacuity: all unawares Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops
Ten thousand fathom deep; and to this hour
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
The secrets of your realm : but, by constraint
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