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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 caves, and back resounded Death!
I fed ; but he pursued, (though more, it seems,
Inflamed with lust than rage,) and, swifter far,
Me overtook his mother all dismayed;
And, in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry
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
Afresh, with conscious terrours 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
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
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 learned, now milder, and thus answered 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
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 armed,
Fell with us from on high : from them I go
This uncouth errand sole; and one for all of this,
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
The unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wandering quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the pourlieus of Heaven, and therein placed
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room ; though more removed,
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new oroils. Be this or aught
Than this more secret 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, imbalmed
With odours; there ye shall be fed and filled
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and

Death
Grinned horrible 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'ermatched by living might.
But what owe I to his commands above
Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here confined,
Inhabitant of Heaven, and heavenly-born,
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrours and with clamours compassed round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed ?
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey
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.

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, Sad instrument of all our woe, she took ; And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train, Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew, Which but herself, not all the Stygian Powers Could once have moved; then in the key-hole 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 jarring sound,
The infernal doors, and on 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 pass 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 secrets of the hoary deep; a dark
Mlimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; where length, breadth, and

highth,
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 champions 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 or 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,

1

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 ordain
His dark materials to create 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 cross. Nor was his ear less pealed
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
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The stedfast 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
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
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft : that fury staid,

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