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Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, / Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air
Or close ambition, varnished o'er with zeal. In whirlwind, hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
Thus they their doubtful consultations dark As when Alcides, from (Echalia crowned
Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief: With conquest, felt th' envenomed robe, and tore
As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines,
Ascending, while the northwind sleeps, o'erspread And Lichas from the top of Eta threw
Heaven's cheerful face, the lowering element Into th' Euobic sea. Others, more mild,
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow, or Retreated in a silent valley, sing
shower;

With notes angelical to many a harp
If chance the radiant sun with farewell sweet Their own heroic deed and hapless fall
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, By doom of battle; and complain that fate
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds Free virtue should inthral to force or chance.
Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. Their song was partial, but the harmony
O shame to men! devil with devil damned (What could it less when spirits immortal sing !)
Firm concord holds; men only disagree Suspended hell, and took with ravishment
Of creatures rational, though under hope The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet
Of heavenly grace: and, God proclaiming peace, (For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense)
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife

Others apart sat on a hill retired, Among themselves, and level cruel wars, In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high Wasting the earth, each other to destroy: Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate; As if (which might induce us to accord) Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute; Man had not hellish foes enow besides,

And found no end, in wandering mazes lost. That day and night for his destruction wait. Of good and evil much they argued then,

The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forth Of happiness and final misery,
In order came the grand infernal peers: Passion and apathy, and glory and shame;
Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemed Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!
Alone the antagonist of heaven, nor less Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm
Than hell's dread emperor, with pomp supreme, Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
And godlike imitated state: him round, Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast
A globe of fiery seraphim enclosed

With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. Another part in squadrons and gross bands,
Then of their session ended they bid cry On bold adventure to discover wide
With trumpets regal sound the great result: That dismal world, if any clime perhaps
Towards the four winds four speedy cherubim Might yield them easier habitation, bend
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy, Four ways their flying march, along the banks
By herald's voice explained; the hollow abyss Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
Heard far and wide, and all the host of hell Into the burning lake their baleful streams :
With deafening shout returned them loud acclaim. Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep;
raised

Cocytus, named of lamentation loud By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon, Disband, and, wandering each his several way Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, Leads him perplexed, where he may likeliest find Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks, The irksome hours, till his great chief return. Forthwith his former state and being forgets, Part on the plain, or in the air sublime, Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. Upon the wing, or in swift race contend, Beyond this flood a frozen continent As at the Olympian games or Pythian fields: Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal Of whirlwind, and dire hail, which on firm land With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form, Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems As when, to warn proud cities, war appears Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush A gulf profound, as that Serbonian bog To battle in the clouds, before each van

Betwixt Damiata and mount Casius old, Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air spears

Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire. Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms Thither, by harpy-footed furies haled, From either end of heaven the welkin burns. At certain revolutions, all the damned Others, with vast Typhæan rage more fell, Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, From beds of raging fire, to starve in ice If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb, Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine And kennel there; yet there still barked and Immoveable, infixed, and frozen round,

howled, Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire. Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these They ferry over this Lethean sound

Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore: And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach Nor uglier follow the nighthag, when, called The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose In secret, riding through the air she comes, In sweet forgetfulness all pain and wo,

Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance All in one moment, and so near the brink; With Lapland witches, while the lab’ring moon But Fate withstands, and to oppose the attempt Eclipses at their charms. The other shape, Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards

If shape it might be called that shape had none The ford, and of itself the water lies

Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb; All taste of living wight, as once it fled

Or substance might be called that shadow seemed; The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on

For each seemed either; black it stood as night, In confused march forlorn, the advent'rous bands, Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell, With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast, And shook a dreadful dart; what seemed his head Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found The likeness of a kingly crown had on. No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale Satan was now at hand; and from his seat They passed, and many a region dolorous, The monster, moving onward, came as fast O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,

With horrid strides; hell trembled as he strode. Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, boge, dens, and shades The undaunted fiend what this might be admired, of death,

Admired, not feared: God and his Son except, A universe of death, which God by curse Created thing naught valued he, nor shunned; Created evil, for evil only good,

And with disdainful look thus first began. Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds, “ Whence and what art thou, execrable shape! Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, That dares, though grim and terrible, advance Abominable, inutterable, and worse

Thy miscreated front athwart my way Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conceived, To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass, Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. That be assured, without leave asked of thee:

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man, Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof, Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, Hell-born! not to contend with spirits of Heaven." Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell To whom the goblin, full of wrath, replied, Explores his solitary flight: sometimes

“ Art thou that traitor angel, art thou he, He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left. Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms Up to the fiery concave towering high.

Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons As when far off at sea a fleet descried

Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou Hangs in the clouds by equinoctial winds And they, outcast from God, are here condemned Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles

To waste eternal days, in wo and pain? Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring And reckonest thou thyself with spirits of heaven, Their spicy drugs; they, on the trading flood,

Hell-doomed! and breathest defiance here and Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,

scorn, Ply stemming nightly towards the pole: so seemed Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more, Far off the fiying fiend. At last appear

Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment, Hell bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof, False fugitive! and to thy speed add wings, And thrice threefold the gates: three folds were Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue brass,

Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart Three iron, three of adamantine rock

Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.' Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,

So spake the grisly terror, and in shape, Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold On either side a formidable shape;

More dreadful and deformed: on the other side, The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair, Incensed with indignation, Satan stood But ended foul in many a scaly fold

Unterrified, and like a comet burned, Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge With mortal sting; about her middle round In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair A cry of hell-hounds, never ceasing, barked Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands

No second stroke intend; and such a frown Clear victory, to our part loss and rout
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds, Through all the empyrean: down they fell,
With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front Into this deep, and in the general fall
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow I also; at which time this powerful key
To join their dark encounter in mid air: Into my hand was given, with charge to keep
So frowned the mighty combatants, that hell These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood; Without my opening. Pensive here I sat
For never but once more was either like Alone: but long I sat not, till my womb,
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown
Had been achieved, whereof all hell had rung, Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes,
Had not the snaky sorceress that sat

At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,
Fast by hell gate, and kept the fatal key, Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,
Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between. Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain

*O father! what intends thy hand," she cried, Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew " Against thy only son! What fury, O son! Transformed; but he my inbred enemy Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart, Against thy father's head! and knowest for whom? Made to destroy: I Aed, and cried out Death! For him who sits above and laughs the while Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed At thee ordained his drudge, to execute From all her caves, and back resounded Death! Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids; I fled; but he pursued, (though more it seems, His wrath which will one day destroy ye both." Inflamed with lust than rage,) and swifter far,

She spake, and at her words the hellish pest Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, Forebore; then these to her Satan returned. And, in embraces forcible and foul “So strange thy outcry, and thy words so Engendering with me, of that rape begot strange

These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, Surrounded me, as thou sawest, hourly conceived Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds And hourly born, with sorrow infinite What it intends! till first I know of thee, To me; for when they list, into the womb What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why, That bred them they return, and howl and gnaw In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son; Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, I know thee not, nor ever saw till now

That rest or intermission none I find. Sight more detestable than him and thee.' Before mine eyes in opposition sits

To whom thus the portress of hell-gate replied: Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, “Hast thou forgotten me then, and do I seem And me his parent would full soon devour Now in thine eyes so foul ? once deemed so fair For want of other prey, but that he knows In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight His end with mine involved; and knows that I Of all the seraphim with thee combined Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane, In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, Whenever that shall be; so fate pronounced. All on a sudden miserable pain

But thou, O father! I forewarn thee, shun Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swam His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast To be invulnerable in those bright arms, Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint, Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, Save he who reigns above, none can resist.” Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed, She finished, and the subtle fiend his lore Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seized Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answered All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled, afraid smooth. At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign “ Dear daughter! since thou claim'st me for the Portentous held me; but, familiar grown,

sire, I pleased, and with attractive graces won And my fair son here show'st

the dear pledge The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft, Of dalliance, had with thee in Heaven, and joys Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire Becam’st enamoured, and such joy thou took'st change With me in secret, that my womb conceived Befallen us, unforeseen, unthought of; know, A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, I come no enemy, but to set free And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein re- From out this dark and dismal house of pain mained

Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host (For what could else ?) to our Almighty Foe Of spirits, that, in our just pretences armed

me,

mense

Fell with us from on high: from them I go | Harsh thunder; that the lowest bottom shook
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood,
Th' unfounded deep, and through the void im- That with extended wings a bannered host,

Under spread ensigns marching, might pass
To search with wandering quest a place foretold through
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now With horse and chariots ranked in loose array;
Created vast and round, a place of bliss

So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth In the purlieus of Heaven, and therein placed Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. A race of upstart creatures, to supply

Before their eyes in sudden view appear Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude, Illimitable ocean, without bound, Might hap to move new broils: be this or aught Without dimension; where length, breadth, and Than this more secret now designed, I haste heighth, To know, and this once known, shall soon return, And time, and place are lost; where eldest Night And bring ye to the place where thou and Death And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed

Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. With odours; there ye shall be fed and filled For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey." fierce, He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring Death

Their embryon atoms; they around the flag Grinned horribly a ghastly smile, to hear Of each his faction, in their several clans, His famine should be filled, and blest his maw Light armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or Destined to that good hour: no less rejoiced

slow, His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire. Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands “The key of this infernal pit by due,

Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil, And by command of Heaven's all powerful King, Levied to side with warring winds, and poise I keep, by him forbidden to unlock

Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere, These adamantine gates; against all force He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits, Death ready stands to interpose his dart, And by decision more embroils the fray, Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might. By which he reigns; next him high arbiter But what owe I to his commands above

Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss, Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave, Into the gloom of Tartarus profound,

Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire, To sit in hateful office here confined,

But all these in their pregnant causes mixed Inhabitant of heaven, and heavenly born, Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, Here in perpetual agony and pain,

Unless the almighty Maker them ordain With terrors and with clamours compassed round His dark materials to create more worlds; Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? Into this wild abyss the wary fiend Thou art my father, thou my author, thou Stood on the brink of hell, and looked a while, My being gavest me; whom should I obey Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith But thee, whom follow? thou wilt bring me soon He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed To that new world of light and bliss, among

With noises loud and ruinous (to compare The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign Great things with small) than when Bellona At thy right hand voluptuous, as heseems

storms, Thy daughter and thy darling, without end." With all her battering engines bent to raze

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, Some capital city; or less than if this frame Sad instrument of all our wo, she took;

Of Heaven were falling, and these elements And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, In mutiny had from her axle torn Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew, The steadfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans Which, but herself, not all the Stygian powers He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke Could once have moved: then in the keyhole Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league, turns

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides Th' intricate wards, and every bolt and bar Audacious; but, that seat soon falling, meets Of massy iron or solid rock with ease

A vast vacuity: all unawares, Unfastens: on a sudden open fly,

Fluttering his pennons vain, plump down he drops With impetuous recoil and jarring sound, Ten thousand fathom deep; and to this hour Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate Down had been falling, had not by ill chance

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, Made head against Heaven's King, though overInstinct with fire and nitre, hurried him

thrown. As many miles aloft : that fury stayed,

I saw and heard; for such a numerous host Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea Fled not in silence through the frighted deep, Nor good dry land: nigh foundered, on he fares, With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, Treading the cruda consistence, half on foot, Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven gates Half flying; behuoves him now both oar and sail. Poured out by millions her victorious bands As when a gryphon, through the wilderness Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, Keep residence; if all I can will serve Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth That little which is left so to defend, Had from his wakeful custody purloined Encroached on still through your intestine broils, The guarded gold: so eagerly the fiend Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first hell, O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; rare,

Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world, With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way, Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies: Tothat side Heaven from whence your legions fell: At length a universal hubbub wild

If that way be your walk, you have not far; Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused, So much the nearer danger; go, and speed ! Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear Havoc, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.” With loudest vehemence: thither he plies,

He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply, Undaunted to meet there whatever power But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, Or spirit of the nethermost abyss

With fresh alacrity and force renewed, Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies Into the wild expanse, and through the shock Bordering on light; when straight behold the Of fighting elements, on all sides round throne

Environed, wins his way; harder beset, Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread And more endangered, than when Argo passed Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned Through Bosphorus, betwixt the justling rocks; Sat sable vested Night, eldest of things, Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned The consort of his reign; and by them stood Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered. Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name

So he with difficulty and labour hard Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance, Moved

on, with difficulty and labour he: And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled, But, he once past, soon after, when man fell, And Discord with a thousand various mouths. Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain T' whom Satan, turning boldly, thus,“ Ye powers Following his track, such was the will of Heaven, And spirits of this nethermost abyss,

Paved after him a broad and beaten way Chaos and ancient night! I come no spy, Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf With purpose to explore or to disturb

Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint From hell continued, reaching the utmost orb Wandering this darksome desert, as my way Of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse Lies through your spacious empire up to light, With easy intercourse pass to and fro Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek To tempt or punish mortals, except whom What readiest path leads where your gloomy God and good angels guard by special grace. bounds

But now at last the sacred influence Confine with Heaven; or if some other place, Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven From your dominion won, th' ethereal King Shoots far into the bosom of dim night Possesses lately, thither to arrive

A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins I travel this profound: direct my course; Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire, Directed, no mean recompense it brings

As from her outmost works a broken foe, To your behoof, if I that region lost,

With tumult less, and with less hostile din: All usurpation thence expelled reduce,

That Satan with less toil, and now with ease, To her original darkness, and your sway, Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, (Which is my present journey,) and once more And, like a weatherbeaten vessel, holds Erect the standard there of ancient night: Gladly the port; though shrouds and tackle torn; Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge." Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold With faltering speech and visage incomposed Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide Answered, “I know thee, stranger! who thou art, In circuit, undetermined square or round, That mighty leading angel, who of late

With opal towers and battlements adorned

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