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PARADISE LOST.

BOOK II.

THE ARGUMENT,

The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of heaven:

some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan, to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior to themselves, about this time to be created : their doubt who shall be sent on this dit ficult scarch : Satan their chief undertakes alone the voyage ; is honoured and applauded. The council

thus ended, the rest betake them several ways, and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time til Satan return. He passes on his journey to hell gates, finds them shut, and vho sat there to guard them, by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf letween hell and heaven: with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the power of that place, to the sight of this new world which he sought.

HIGH on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind;
Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd

5
To that bad eminence: and from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high ; insatiate to pursue
Vain war with heaven; and by success untaught;
His proud imaginations thus display'd :

10 “ Powers, and dominions, deities of heaven! (For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppress'd and fallen, I give not heaven for lost: from this descent Celestial virtues rising, will appear

15 More glorious and more dread than from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate.) Me, though just right and the fix'd laws of heaven Did first create your leader; next, free choice; With what besides, in council or in fight 20 Hath been achiev'd of merit: yet this loss Thus far at least recover'd, hath much more Establish'd in a safe unenvied throne, Yielded with full consent. The happier state In heaven, which follows dignity, might draw 25 Envy from each inferior : but who here Will envy whon the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thunderer's aim, Your bulwark; and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is then no good 30 For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction : for none sure will claim in hell Precedence ; none, whose portion is so small Of present pain, that with ambitious mind Will cover more! With this advantage then 35 To union, and firm faith, and firm accord, More than can be in heaven, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old, Surer to prosper than prosperity Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, 40 Whether of open war, or covert guile, We now debate : whó can advise may speak."

He ceas'd; and next him Moloch, sceptred king, Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest spirit That fought in heaven, now fiercer by despair : 45 His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather than be less, Cared not to be at all ; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or hell, or worse, 49 He reck'd not; and these words thereafter spake:

“ My sentence is for open war: of wiles, More unexpert, I boast not : them let those Contrive who need; or when they need, not

now: For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait 55 The signal to ascend, sit ling'ring here Heaven's fugitives, and for their

dwelling-place Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame, The prison of his tyranny who reigns By our delay ? No! let us rather choose, 60 Arm'd with hell flames and fury, all at once O'er heaven's high towers to force resistless way, Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer: when to meet the noise of his almighty engine he shall hear

65 Infernal thunder; and for lightning, see Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his angels: and his throne itselt Mix'd with Tartarean sulphur, and strange fire, His own invented torments.-- But perhaps 70 The way seems difficult and steep, to scale With upright wing against a higher foe:Let such bethink them, (if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful lake benumb not still) That in our proper motion we ascend

75 Up to our native seat: descent and fall To us is adverse. Who but felt of late, When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear Insulting, and pursu'd us through the deep, With what compulsion, and laborious flight 80 We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easy then; Th'event is fear'd; should we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find To our destruction : (if there be in hell Fear to be worse destroy'd) What can be worse 85 Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, con

demn'd In this abhorred deep to utter woe! Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us, without hope of end, The vassals of his anger, when the scourge 90 Inexorably, and the torturing hour, Calls us to penance ? more destroy'd than thus, We should be quite abolish'd, and expire. What fear we then? what doubt we to incense His utmost ire? which to the height enrag'd, 95 Will either quite consume us, and reduce To nothing this essential ; happier far, Than miserable to have eternal being; Or if our substance be indeed divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst 100

On this side nothing: and by proof we feel

Views all things at one view ? He from heaven's Our power sufficient to disturb his heaven,

height

190 And with perpetual inroads to alarm,

All these our motions vain sees and derides: Though inaccessible, his fatal throne :

Not more almighty to resist our might, Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."

105

Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.

Shall we then live thus vile, the race of heaven “ He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd Thus trampled, thus expell'd, to suffer here 195 Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous

Chains and these torments? Better these than To less than gods. On th' other side uprose

By my advice; since fate inevitable [worse, Belial, in act more graceful and humane :

Subdues us, and omnipotent decree; A fairer person lost not heaven; he seem'd 110 The victor's will. To suffer, as to do, For dignity compos'd, and high exploit :

Our strength is equal, nor the law unjust 200 But all was false and hollow : though his tongue That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd Dropp'd manna, and could make the worse appear If we were wise, against so great a foe The better reason, to perplex and dash

Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. Maturest counsels; for his thoughts were low: 115 I laugh, when those who at the spear are bold To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds

And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the ear, What yet they know must follow, to endure 206 And with persuasive accent thus began :

Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain,

The sentence of their conqueror: This is now “I should be much for open war, peers, Our doom! which if we can sustain and bear, As not behind in hate, if what was urg'd 120

Our supreme foe, in time, may much remit 210 Main reason to persuade immediate war,

His anger: and perhaps thus far remov'd, Did not dissuade me most; and seem to cast Not mind us, not offending, satisfied Ominous conjecture on the whole success;

With what is punishd: whence these raging fires When he who most excels in fact of arms,

Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames. In what he counsels, and in what excels, 125

Our purer essence then will overcome

215 Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair, Their noxious vapour; or inur'd, not feel; And utter dissolution, as the scope

Or chang'd at length, and to the place conform'd Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. (fill's In temper, and in nature, will receive First, what revenge? The towers of heaven are Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain, With armed watch, that render all access 130 This horror will grow mild, this darkness, light: Impregnable: oft on the bordering deep

Besides what hope the never-ending flight 221 Encamp their legions; or with obscure wing, Of future days may bring, what chance, what charige Scout far and wide into the realm of night,

Worth waiting, since our present lot appears Scorning surprise. Or could we break our way For happy, though but ill; for ill, not worst; By force, and at our heels all hell should rise 135 If we procure not to ourselves more woe." 225 With blackest insurrection, to confound Heaven's purest light; yet our great enemy,

Thus Belial with words cloth'd in reason's garb All incorruptible, would on his throne

Counsellid ignoble ease, and peaceful sloth, Sit unpolluted; and th'ethereal mould

Not peace: and after him thus Mammon spake. Incapable of stain, would soon expel

140 Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,

“Either to disenthrone the King of heaven Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope

We war, if war be best, or to regain

230 Is flat despair: we must exasperate

Our own right, lost: Him to unthrone we then Th' almighty Victor to spend all his rage,

May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield And that must end us; that must be our cure 145 To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife: To be no more. --Sad cure! for who would lose, The former vain to hope, argues as vain Though full of pain, this intellectual being; The latter: for what place can be for us 235 Those thoughts, that wander through eternity;

Within heaven's bound, unless heaven's Lord suTo perish rather, swallow'd up and lost

We overpower ? Suppose he should relent (preme In the wide womb of uncreated night,

150 And publish grace to all, on promise made Devoid of sense and motion ? And who knows, Of new subjection; with what eyes could we (Let this be good) whether our angry foe

Stand in his presence humble, and receive 240 Can give it, or will ever : how he can,

Strict laws impos'd, to celebrate his throne Is doubtful; that he never will, is sure.

With warbled hymns, and to his Godhead sing Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, 155 Forc'd hallelujahs? while he lordly sits Belike through impotence, or unaware,

Our envied Sovereign, and his altar breathes To give his enemies their wish, and end

Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers, 245 Them in his anger, whom his anger saves

Our servile offerings ! This must be our task To punish endless ? _Wherefore cease we then ? In heaven, this our delight; how wearisome Say they who counsel war; We are decreed, 160

Eternity so spent, in worship paid
Reserv'd, and destin'd to eternal woe:

To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue
Whatever doing,
what can we suffer more;
By force impossible, by leave obtain'd

250
What can we suffer worse?-Is this then worst, Unacceptable, though in heaven, our state
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms ? 164 Of splendid vassalage: but rather seek
What! when we fled amain, pursu'd, and struck Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
With heaven's afflicting thunder, and

hesought

Live to ourselves; though in this vast recess, The deep to shelter us? This hell then seem'd Free, and to none accountable; preferring 255 A refuge from those wounds. Or, when we lay Hard liberty before the easy yoke Chain'd on the burning lake?' That sure was Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear worse.

Then most conspicuous, when great things of small, What if the breath that kindled those grim fires, 170 Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse Awak'd, should blow them into

sevenfold rage, We can create; and in what place soe'er 260 And plunge us in the flames ? Or, from above, Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain, Should intermitted vengeance arm again

Through labour and endurance. This deep world His red right hand to plague us? What if all Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Her stores were open'd, and this firmament 175 Thick clouds and dark, doth heaven's all-ruling Sire Of hell should spout her cataracts of fire ?

Choose to reside, his glory unobscurd ? 265 Impendent horrors ! threat'ning hideous fall And with the majesty of darkness round One day upon our heads : while we perhaps Covers his throne; from whence deep thunders roar Designing or exhorting glorious war,

Mustering their rage, and heaven resembles hell ? Caught in a fiery tempest shall be hurl'd 180 As he our darkness, cannot we his light Each on his rock transfix'd, the sport and prey Imitate when we please? This desert soil 270 Of racking whirlwinds: or for ever sunk

Wants not her hidden lustre, gems, and gold : Under yon boiling ocean, wrapp'd in chains; Nor want we skill or art, from

whence to raise There to converse with everlasting groans,

Magnificence; and what can heaven show more? Unrespited, unpitied, unrepriev'd,

185 Our torments also may in length of time Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse. Become our elements; these piercing fires 275 War therefore, open or conceald, alike

As soft as now severe, our temper chang'a My voice dissuades: for what can force or guile Into their temper; which must needs remove With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye The sensible of pain. All things invite

To peaceful counsels, and the settled state

The puny habitants; or, if not drive, Of order, how in safety best we may

280 Seduce them to our party, that their God Corpose our present evils, with regard

May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Of what we are, and were ; dismissing quite Abolish his own works. This would surpass 370
All thoughts of war.-Ye have what I advise." Common revenge, and interrupt his joy

In our confusion, and our joy upraise
He scarce had finish'd, when such murmur fill'd In his disturbance'; when his darling sons,
Th'assembly, as when hollow rocks retain 285

Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse The sound of blustering winds, which all night long Their frail original, and faded bliss :

375 Had rous'd the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth Sea-faring men o'erwatch'd, whose bark by chance, Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay

Hatching vain empires." Thus Beelzebub After the tempest: such applause was heard 290

Pleaded his devilish counsel, first devis'd
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleas'd, By Satan, and in part propos'd: for whence, 380
Advising peace. For, such another field

But from the author of all ill, could spring
They dreaded worse than hell: so much the fear So deep a malice, to confound the race
Of thunder, and the sword of Michael,

Of mankind in one root, and earth with hell
Wrought still within them; and no less desire 295 To mingle and involve, done all to spite
To found this nether empire, which might rise, The great Creator? But their spite still serves 385
By policy, and long process of time,

His glory to augment. The bold design In emulation opposite to heaven.

Pleas'a highly those infernal states, and joy Which when Beelzebub perceiv'd (than whom, Sparkled in all their eyes; with full assent Satan except, none higher sat) with grave '300 They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews : Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd A pillar of state: deep on his front engraven,

“ Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate, Deliberation sat, and public care;

Synod of gods! and, like to what ye are, 391 And princely counsel in his face yet shone,

Great things resolv'd; which from the lowest deep Majestic though in ruin! sage he stood, 305 Will once more lift us up, in spite of fate, With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear

Nearer our ancient seat; perhaps in view 394 The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring Drew audience, and attention still as night, And opportune excursion, we may chance [arms, Or summer's noon-tide air; while thus he spake: Re-enter heaven: or else, in some mild zone

Dwell not unvisited of heaven's fair light, “Thrones, and imperial powers, offspring of Secure, and at the brightning orient beam heaven,

310 Purge off this gloom: the soft delicious air, 400 Ethereal virtues! or these titles now

To heal the scar of these corrosive fires, [send Must we renounce, and, changing style, be call'd Shall breathe her

balm.-But first whom shall we Princess of hell ? For, so the popular vote

In search of this new world? whom shall we find Inclines, here to continue, and build up here Sufficient? Who shall tempt with wandering feet A growing empire: doubtless! while we dream, 315 The dark, unbottom'd, infinite abyss,

405 And know not that the King of heaven hath doom'd And through the palpable obscure find out This place our dungeon; not our safe retreat His uncouth way, or spread his airy flight, Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt

Upborne with indefatigable wings From Heaven's high jurisdiction, in new league Over the vast abrupt, e'er he arrive Banded against his throne: but to remain

320 The happy isle? What strength, what art can then In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd, Suffice,

or what evasion bear him safe

411 Under th' inevitable curb, reserv'd

Through the strict senteries, and stations thick His captive multitude: for he, be sure,

Of angels watching round ? Here he had need
In height, or depth, still first and last will reign All circumspection; and we now no less
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part 325 Choice in our suffrage: for, on whom we send, 415
By our revolt; but over hell extend

The weight of all, and our last hope, relies."
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in heaven.

This said, he sat; and expectation held
What sít we then projecting peace and war? His look suspense, awaiting who appear'd
War hath determind us, and foil'd with loss 330 To second or oppose, or undertake
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none

The perilous attempt: but all sat mute,

420 Vouchsaf'd, or sought: for what peace will be given Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and To us enslav'd, but custody severe,

In other's countenance read his own dismay, (each And stripes, and arbitrary punishment

Astonish'd ! None, among the choice and prime Inflicted? and what peace can we return ? 335 Of those heaven-warring champions, could be found But, to our power hostility and hate,

So hardy, as to proffer, or accept

425 Untam'd reluctance, and revenge; though slow, Alone, the dreadful voyage: till at last Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least

Satan, whom now transcendent glory rais'd May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice Above his fellows, with monarchial pride In doing what we most in suffering feel? 340 (Conscious of highest worth) unmovid thus spake : Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need With dangerous expedition, to invade

“O progeny of heaven, empyreal thrones!

430 Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege, With reason hath deep silence, and demur, Or ambush from the deep: what if we find

Seiz'd us, though undismay'd : long is the way Some easier enterprise ? There is a place, 345 And hard, that out of hell leads up to light: (If ancient and prophetic fame in heaven

Our prison strong; this huge convex of fire, Err not) another world, the happy seat

Outrageous to devour, immures us round 435
Of some new race call'd Man; about this time Ninefold: and gates of burning adamant
To be created like to us, though less

Barr'd over us, prohibit all egress.
In power and excellence, but favour'd more 350 These pass'd (if any pass) the void profound
Of him who rules above: so was his will

Of unessential night receives him next
Pronounc'd among the gods, and by an oath,. Wide gaping! and with utter loss of being 440
That shook heaven's whole circumference, con Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf.
firm'd.

If thence he 'scape into whatever world, Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn Or unknown region, what remains him less What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, 355 Than unknown dangers, and as hard escape ? Or substance, how endued, and what their power, But I should ill become this throne, O peers! 145 And where their weakness, how attempted best, And this imperial sovereignty, adorn'd By force, or subtilty. Though heaven be shut, With splendour,

arm'd with power, ifought propos'd And heaven's high Arbitrator sit secure

And judg'd of public moment, in the shape In his own strength, this place may lie expos'd 360 of difficulty, or danger, could

deter The utmost border of his kingdom, left

Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume 450 To their defence who hold it: here perhaps These royalties, and not refuse to reign, Some advantageous act may be achiev'd

Refusing to accept as great a share By sudden onset, either with hell fire

Of hazard, as of honour, due alike To waste his whole creation; or possess

365 To him who reigns, and so much to him due All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, Of hazard more, as he above the rest

455

560

High-honour'd sits ? Go therefore, mighty powers! And Lichas from the top of Eta threw 545
Terror of heaven, though fallen ! intend at home, Into th' Euboic Sea. Others more mild,
(While here shall be our home) what best may ease Retreated in a silent valley, sing,
The present misery, and render hell

With notes angelical to many a harp
More tolerable; if there be cure, or charm, 460 Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall
To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain

By doom of battle: and complain that fate 550 Of this ill mansion. Intermit no watch

Free virtue should enthrall to force, or chance. Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad,

Their song was partial; but the harmony Through all the coasts of dark destruction, seek (What could it less when spirits immortal sing?) Deliverance for us all: this enterprise

465 Suspended hell, and took with ravishment None shall partake with me." Thus saying, rose The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet, The monarch, and prevented all reply:

(For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) 556 Prudent, lest, from his resolution raisid,

Others apart sat on a hill retird, Others among the chief might offer now

In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high, (Certain to be refus'd) what erst they fear'd; 470 Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate; And so refus'd, might in opinion stand

Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute;
His rivals; winning cheap the high repute, [they And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost.
Which he through hazard huge rust earn. But Of good, and evil, much they argued then,
Dreaded not more th' adventure, than his voice Of happiness, and final misery,
Forbidding; and at once with him they rose: 475 Passion, and apathy, and glory, and shame:
Their rising all at once was as the sound

Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy! 565
Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend Yet with a pleasing sorcery, could charm
With awful reverence prone; and as a god

Pain for a while, or anguish; and excite Extol him equal to the highest in heaven;

Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdurate breast Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, With stubborn patience, as with triple steel. That for the general safety he despis'd

481

Another part, in squadrons and gross bands, 570 His own: (for neither do the spirits damn'd

On bold adventure to discover wide Lose all their virtue; lest bad men should boast That dismal world (if any clime perhaps Their specious deeds on earth, which glory excites; Might yield them easier habitation) bend Or close ambition varnish'd o'er with zeal.) 485 Four ways their flying march, along the banks Thus they their doubtful consultations dark

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge

575 Ended, rejoicing in their matchless chief:

Into the burning lake their baleful streams: As when from mountain-tops the dusky clouds Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate; Ascending, while the north-wind sleeps, o'er-spread Sad Acheron, of sorrow; black and deep! Heaven's cheerful face, the lowering element 490 Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud Scowls o'er the darken'd landscape snow, or shower: Heard on the rueful stream: fierce Phlegethon, 580 If chance the radiant sun with farewell'sweet Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. 495 Her wat'ry labyrinth; whereof who drinks, O shame to men ! Devil with devil damn'd Forth with his former state and being forgets, 585 Firm concord holds, men only disagree

Forgets both joy, and grief, pleasure, and pain. Of creatures rational, though under hope

Beyond this flood a frozen continent Of heavenly grace: and, God proclaiming peace, Lies dark, and wild; beat with perpetual storms Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 300 of whirlwind, and dire hail; which on firm land Among themselves, and levy cruel wars,

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems 690 Wasting the earth, each other to destroy :

Of ancient pile: all else, deep snow and ice: As if(which might induce us to accord)

A gulf profound! as that Serbonian bog Man had not hellish foes enow besides,

Betwixt Damiata, and mount Casius old, That day and night, for his destruction wait. 505 Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air

Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. The Stygian council thus dissolv'd; and forth Thither by harpy-footed furies hald,

596 In order came the grand infernal peers:

At certain revolutions, all the damn'd Midst came their mighty paramount, and seem'd Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change Alone th' antagonist of heaven, nor less

Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce! Than hell's dread emperor, with pomp supreme, From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600 And godlike imitated state. Him round 511 Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine A globe of fiery seraphim inclos'd,

Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round, With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms. Periods of time; thence hurried back to fire. Then, of their session ended, they bid cry

They ferry over this Lethæan sound With trumpets regal sound the great result: 515 Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, 605 Towards the four winds four speedy cherubim And wish, and struggle as they pass to reach Put to their mouths the sounding alchymy,

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose By herald's voice explain'd: the hollow abyss In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, Heard far and wide, and all the host of hell 519 All in one moment, and so near the brink: With deaf'ning shout return'd them loud acclaim. But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt 610

Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat The ford, and of itself the water flies rais'd

All taste of living wight; as once it fled By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way In confus'd march forlorn th' advent'rous bands, Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

With shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghast, 616 Leads hím perplex'd, where he may likeliest find View'd first their lamentable lot, and found Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain 526 No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale The irksome hours, till his great chief return. They pass'd, and many a region dolorous, Part on the plain, or in the air sublime

O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,

620 Upon the wing, or in swift race contend,

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of As at th' Olympian games, or Pythian fields: 530 A universe of death! which God by curse (death; Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal Created evil; for evil only good, With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form. Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds As when, to warn proud cities, war appears

Perverse, all monstrous, all pro things, 625 Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush

Abominable, inutterable; and worse To battle in the clouds; before each van 535 Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd, Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms From either end of heaven the welkin burns.

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man 629 Others, with vast Typhæan rage, more fell! Satan, with thoughts inflanr'd of highest design, Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air 540 Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell In whirlwind : hell scarce holds the wild uproar. Explores his solitary flight: sometimes As when Alcides from Echalia crown'd

He scours the right-hand coast, sometimes the left: With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Now shaves with level wing the deep; then soars Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines; Up to the fiery concave tow'ring high. 635

As when far off at sea a fleet descry'd,

To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds Hangs in the clouds, by Equinoctial winds

Had been achier'd, whereof all hell had rung, Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles

Had not the snaky sorceress that sat Of Ternate, and Tidore, whence merchants bring Fast by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, 725 Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood 640 Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. Through the wide Æthiopian, to the Cape Ply, stemming nightly toward the Pole: so seem'd “O father! what intends thy hand," she cry'd, Far off the flying fiend. At last appear

“ Against thy only son? What fury, O son, Hell bounds, high-reaching to the horrid roof; Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart And thrice threefold the gates: three folds were Against thy father's head? and knowest for whom ; brass,

645 For him who sits above, and laughs the while 731 Three iron, three of adamantine rock;

At thee, ordain'd his drudge, to execute Impenetrable, impal'd with circling fire,

Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids; Yet unconsum'a. Before the gates there sat His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both!" On either side a formidable shape; The seem'd woman to the waist, and fair; 650 She spake, and at her words the hellish pest 735 But ended foul in many a scaly fold,

Forbore: then these to her Satan return'd:. Voluminous and vast! a serpent arm'd With mortal sting: about her middle round

“So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark'd

Thou interposest, that my sudden hand With wide Cerberian mouths full loud, and Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds rung

655

What it intends; till first I know of thee, 740 A hideous peal: yet, when they list, would creep, What thing thou art, thus double-form'd; and why, If ought disturb'd their noise, into her womb, In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st And kennel there; yet there still bark'd, and Me father, and that phantom call'st my son: howl'd

I know thee not, nor ever saw till now Within, unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these Sight more detestable than him and thee." 715 Vex'd Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 660 Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore:

T' whom thus the portress of hell-gate reply'd : Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when callid * Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem In secret, riding through the air she comes

Now in thine eye so foul? once deem'd so fair Lur'd with the smell of infant-blood, to dance In heaven! when at th' assembly, and in sight With Lapland witches, while the lab'ring moon Of all the seraphim, with thee combin'd 750 Eclipses at their charms. The other shape 666 In bold conspiracy against heaven's King, (If shape it might be call'd, that shape had none All on a sudden miserable pain Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;

Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swam Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, In darkness; while thy head flames thick and fast For each seem'd either:) black it stood as night, Threw forth; till on the left side op'ning wide, 755 Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,

671

Likest to thee in shape, and count'nance bright, And shook a dreadful dart : what seem'd his head, Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm'd, The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

Out of thy head 1 sprung: amazement seiz'd Satan was now at hand, and from his seat

All th' host of heaven; back they recoil'd, afraid The monster moving, onward came as fast 675 At first, and call'd me Sin; and for a sign 760 With horrid strides : hell trembled as he strode. Portentous held me: but familiar grown, Th' undaunted fiend what this might be admir'd; I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except, The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft Created thing naught valued he, nor shunn'd; (Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing) And with disdainful look thus first began : 680 Becam'st inamour'd, and such joy thou took'st 765

With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd “Whence, and what, art thou ! execrable shape! A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance And fields were fought in heaven; wherein remain'd Thy miscreated front athwart my way

(For what could else?) to our almighty foe To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass, Clear victory; to our part loss, and rout, 770 That be assurd, without leave ask'd of thee. 685

Through all the empyrean: down they fell Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Driven headlong from the pitch of heaven, down Hell-born! not to contend with spirits of heaven." Into this deep; and in the general fall

I also: at which time this powerful key To whom the goblin full of wrath reply'd: Into my hand was given, with charge to keep 775 Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he,

These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then Without my opening. Pensive here I sat Unbroken; and in proud rebellious arms 691

Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb Drew after him the third part of heaven's sons, Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, Conjured against the Highest; for which both thou Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes! 780 And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 1 695 Thine own begotten, breaking violent way And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of heaven, Tore through my entrails; that with fear and pain Hell-doom'd! and breath'st defiance here and scorn, Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more, Transform'd. But he, my inbred enemy 785 Thy king, and lord? Back to thy punishment, Forth-issu'd, brandishing his fatal dart False fugitive! and to thy speed add wings; 700 Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out, Death! Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue

Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd Thy ling'ring; or with one stroke of this dart From all her caves, and back resounded, Death! Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." I fled, but he pursu'd (though more, it seems, 790

Inflam'd with lust than rage) and, swifter far ! So spake the grisly terror, and in shape,

Me overtook, his mother, all dismay'd :
(So speaking, and so threat'ning) grew tenfold 705 And in embraces forcible, and foul,
More dreadful and deform. On th' other side Engendering with me, of that rape begot
Incens'd with indignation Satan stood

These yelling monsters; that with ceaseless cry 795 Unterrify'd; and like a comet burn'd,

Surround me, as thou saw'st; hourly conceiv'd, That fires the length of Ophiucus huge

And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 710 To me! For, when they list, into the womb
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head

That bred them they return; and howl, and gnaw Leveli'd his deadly aim; their fatal hards

My bowels, their repast: then bursting forth, 800 No second stroke intend: and such a frown

Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round, Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds That rest, or intermission none I find. With heaven's artil'ry fraught, come rattling on 715 Before mine eyes in opposition sits Over the Caspian; then stand front to front, Grim Death, my son and foe: who sets them on, Hov'ring a space, till winds the signal blow

And me his parent would full soon devour 805 To join their dark encounter in mid-air:

For want of other prey, but that he knows So frown'd the mighty coml atants, that hell

His end with mine involv'd: and knows that I Grew darker at their frown: so match'd they stood : Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane For never but once more was either like 721 Whenever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd.

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