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Uf fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce.
From beds of raging fire, to starve in ice
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
linmoveuble, infixed, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
They Ierry over this Lethean sound
"Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and wo,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But Fate withstands, and to oppose the attempt
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The ford, and of itself the water llies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In contused march forlorn, the advent'rous bands,
With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,
Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found .
No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale
They passed, and many a region dolorous,
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades

of death, .

A universe of death, which God by curse
Created evil, for evil only good,
Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conceived,
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man,
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left.
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
Up to the fiery concave towering high.
As when far oft" at sea a fleet deseried
Hangs in the clouds by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternat* and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs; they, on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
Ply stemming nightly towards the pole: so seemed
Far off the flying fiend. At last appear
Hell bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,
And thrice threefold the gates: three folds were

brass,

Three iron, three of adamantine rock
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,
Ifet unconsumed. Before the gates 1here sat
On either side a formidable <hape;
The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair,
But ended foul in many a scaly fold
Voluminous and vast, a serpent armed
With mortal sting; about her middle round
A ery of hell-hounds, never ceasing, barked
With wide Cerberean nwuths full loud, and rung

A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb, And kennel there; yet there still barked ind

howled,

Within unseen. Far less abhorred than these
Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from ths hoarse Trinacrian shore:
Nor uglier follow the nighthag, when, called
In seeret, riding through the air she coinos.
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witehes, while the lah'rin; moon
EcliIwes at their charms. The other slmpo,
If shape it might be called that shape hud none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be called that shadow sorn.e.l-
For each seemed either; black it stood as nijlit,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seemed his hend
The likeness of a kingly erown had on.
Satan was now at hand; and from his seat
The monster, moving onward, came as fa.-*
With horrid strides; hell trembled as he strode.
The undaunted fiend what this might be ad,niml,
Admired, not feared: God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunned;
And with disdainful look thus first began.

"Whence and what art thou, exeerable shaIw!
That dares, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy misereated front athwart my way
To yonder gates? through them I mean to pare,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee:
Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof,
Hell-born! not to contend with spirits of Heaven.'t

To whom the goblin, full of wrath, replied, "Art thou that traitor angel, art thou ho, Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons

'onjured against the Highest, for which both then And they, outeast from God, are here condemned To waste eternal dsys, in wo and pain? And reckonest thou thyself with spirits of heaver. Hell-doomed! and breathest defiance here am!

scorn,

Where 1 reign king, and, to enrage thee mon,
Thy king and lord! Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive! and to thy speed add wingo, .

Lcxt with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt befo'*.'

So spake the grisly terror, and in sh.ipe,
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deformed: on the other side,
Incensed wtth indignation. Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the send
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hLinls

Xo second stroke intend; and such a frown
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds,
Wilh heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Cuspian, then stand front to front
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blew
Tu join their dark encounter in mill air:
So frowned the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown; so matehed they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all hell had rung,
Had not the snaky soreeress that sat
Fast by hell gate, and kept the fatal key,
Risen, and with hideous outery rushed between.

"0 father! what intends thy hand," she eried,
"Against thy only son! What fury, O son!
Possesses thce to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father's head! and knowest for whom?
For him who sits altove and laughs the while
At thee ordained his drudge, to execute
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids;
His wrath which will one day destroy ye both."

She spake, and at her words the hellish pest Ferebore; then these to her Satan returned.

"So strange thy outery, and thy words Bo

strange

Thou intiTjosesl. that my sudden hand,
Preventrd, spares to tell thee yet hy deeds
What it intends! till first I know of thee,
What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why,
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son;
! 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 forgotten me then', and do I seem Now in thine eyes so foull once deemed so fair Is Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight Of all the seraphim with thee combined In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, AII on a sudden miserable pain -Surprised lhee, dim thine eye•. and dizzy swam In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, Litest to thee in shape and countenance bright, Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed, Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seized All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled, afraid At first, and called me Sin, and fur a sign Portentous held me; hut, familiar grown, I pleased, and with attractive graces won The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft, Thynclf in me thy perfect image viewing, Bream'st enamoured, and such joy thou took'st With me in seeret, that my womb conceived A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein remained 'Por what could else?) to our Almighty Foe

Clear victory, to our part loss and rout
Through all the empyrean: down they fell,
Driven headlong from the piteh of Heaven, dowt
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
These gates forever shut, which none can paw t
Without my opening. Pensive here I ant
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 pails
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transformed; but he my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,
Made to destroy: I fled, and cried out Death!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed
From all her coves, and back resounded Death.
I fled; but he pursued, (though more it seems,
Inflamed with lust than rage,) and swifter far,
Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,
And, in embraces foreible and foul
Engendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseles.> ery
Surrounded me, as thou sawest, 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 bewels, their repast; then, bursting forth
Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in Opposition siu
Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets thfcm oll,
And me his parent would full soon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involved; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and hi s bane,
Whenever that shall be; so fate pronounced.
But thou, O father! I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can resist."
She finished, and the subtle fiend his lore
Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answered

smooth. "Dear daughter! since thou claim'st me for th

sire,

And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge Of dalliance, had with thee in Heaven, and joy? Then sweet, now sad to mention. through dire

change

Befallen us, unforeseen, unthought of; know,
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, L

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
Th' unfounded deep, and through the void im-
mense

To search with wandering quest a place foretold
Sm.nl' I be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
I n the purlieus of Heaven, and therein placed
A race of upstart ereatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed,
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils: be this or aught
Than this more seeret now designed, I haste
To know, and this once known, shall soon return,
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fille>
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.'
He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and

Death

Grinned horribly a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled, and blest 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'ermatehed by living might.
But what owe I to his commands above
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down
Into the gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here conftned,
Inhabitant of heaven, and heavenly bom,
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamours compassed 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
But thce, 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 rcign
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end."

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, Sad instrument of all our wo, she took; And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, Forthwith the huge porteullis high up drew, Which, but herself, not all the Stygian powers ''m,l'I once have moved: then in the keyhole

turns

Th' intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of rnassy iron or solid rock with ease
Unfadtens: on a sudden open fly
With impeti'.ous recoil and jarring sound,
Th' infern1t, doors. and or. their hinges grate

Harsh thunder; that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She opened, but to shut
Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a bannered host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pa*f

through

With horse and chariots ranked 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 Bcerets of the hoary deep, a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; where length, breadth, and

heighth,

And time, and place are lost; where eldest Night
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise •,
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four championt

fierce,

Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag
Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, oi

slow,
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands

| Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise
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,
The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,

| Unless the almighty Maker them onlr.in
His dark materials to ereate more worlds;
Into this wild abyss the wary fiend
Stood on the brink of hell, and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to eross. Nor was his ear less pealed

I With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellor..i

storms,

With all her battering engines bent to raxe
Some capital city; or less than if this frame
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements
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 leagn*
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rtdes
Audacious; but, that seat soon falling, meets
A vast vacuity: all unawares,
Fluttering his pennons vain, plump down he droff
Ten thousand fathom deep; and to this hom

I Down had been falling, had not by ill chance

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,

Instinct with 6re and nitre, hurried him

As many miles aloft: that fury stayed,

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea

\or good dry land: nigh foundered, on he fares,

Treading the erude consistence, half on foot,

Half flying; behi.oves 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

Had from his wakeful custody purloined

The guarded gold: so eagerly the fiend

Ter hog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or

rare,

With head, hands, wings, or feet pursues his way,
Ami swims, or sinks, or wades, or ereeps, or flies:
At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his car
With loudest vehemence: thither he plies,
Undaunted to meet there whatever power
Or spirit of the nethermost abyss
Might in I hat 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
Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned
Sal sable vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Oreus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance,
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
T'whom Satan, turning boldly, thus, "Ye powers
And spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient night! I come no spy,
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The seerets 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
What readiest path leads where your gloomy

bounds

Confine with Heaven; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, th'ethereal King
Ponsesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound: direct my course;
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if f that region lost,
AI! unurpation thence expelled reduce,
Th her original darkness, and your sway,
(Which is my present journey,) and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient night:
Vonrs be th' advantage all, mine the revenge."
Thus Satan; and him thus the Anareh old,
With 'altering speech and visage incomposed
Answered, " I know thee, stranger! who thou art,
That mighty leading angel, who of late

Made head against Heaven's King, though over

thrown.

I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep.
With ruin upon ruin. rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven gates
Poured out by millions her victorious handn
iPursuing. I upon my frontiers here
!Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend,
Eneroached on still through your intestine brods
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first hell,
jYour dungeon, stretehing far and wide lieneath;
: Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, linked in a golden chain
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!
Havoe, and spoil, and ruin are my gain."

He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply,
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
I With fresh alacrity and foree renewed,
I Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
|lntothe wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environed. wins his way; harder beset,
And more endangered, than when Argo passed
Through Bosphorus, betwixt the justling rocks;
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steered.
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on, with difficulty and labour he:
But, he once past, 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 nnd beaten way
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 intereourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the saered influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim night
A glimmering dawn: here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,
As from her outmost works a broken foe,
With tumult less, and with less hostile din:
That Satan with less toil, and now with caso
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And, like a weatherbeaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port; though shrouds and tackle torn .
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to tehold
Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide
In cireuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adannl

I

Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude -.lose by the moon
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Aecursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

BOOK HI.

THE ARGUMENT.

God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this Vorid, then newly ereated; shows him to the Son, who sai at nis right hand; foretells the suecess of Satan In iwrverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all Imputation, Imving ereated man free, and able enough to hare with•Mod his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Ron of God renders praises to his Father, for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards man; but Cod ugain declares, that gmee can not be extended towards man without the satisfaction of divine justice; man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and, therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo hts punishment. The Son of God freely oflers himself a mraom for man: the Father aecepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him; they obey, and, hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Mennwhile Satan alights upon the hnre convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering, he first finds a place since cailed the Limbo of Vanity: whit persons and things fly up :hi;U.-. thence comes to the gate of Heaven, deseribed ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that How about it; his passage thence to the nrb of the Mm; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself Into the shape of a meaner angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new ereation, and man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and i- directed: alights fint on mount Nil-hates.

Hail, holy Light! offspring of Heaven first bom!
Or of the eternal coeternal beam
May I express tliee unblamed ? since God is light,
And never but in mmpproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence inereate.
Or hearesl thou rather pure ethereal stream.
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and, at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revuit now with holder wing,
K scaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure unjourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With cl her notes than to the Orphean lyre,
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
Tbc daik descent, and up to reascend,
Thonyh liar J and rare: thce I revisit wfe,

And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thon
Revisitest not these eyes, that roll m vain
To find thy piereing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their jrtu,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of saered song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling to*
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other tvsg equalled with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mteonides,
And Tiresias and Phincus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or mom,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fan-
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expunged and razml,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers.
Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

Now had the almighty Father from above,
From the pure empyrean where he sits
High throned above all height, bent down his eye,
His own works and their works at once to view:
About him all the sanctities of Heaven
Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receive*I
Beatitude past utterance; on his right
The radiant image of his glory sat,
His only Son; on the earth he first beheld
Our two first parents, yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden placed,
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivalled love,
In blissful solitude; he then surveyed
Hell and the gulf between, an/l Satan there
Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop, with wearied wings, and willing fert,
On the bare outside of this world, that seemed
Firm land embosomed, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect bigh
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.

i> Only begotten Son, seest Uiau whs' r..-:-.

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