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Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son :
I 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 forgot me then, and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim, with thee combined,
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,

a sudden miserable pain Surprised thee; dim thine

eyes,

and dizzy swam In darkness, while thy head Aames thick and fast Threw forth, till on the left side, opening wide, Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm’d, Out of thy head I sprang. Amazement seized All the host of Heaven; back they recoil'd, afraid At first, and callid me Sin: and for a sigr Portentous held me: but familiar grown, I pleased, and with attractive graces won The most averse; thee chiefly, who full oft, Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing, Becamest enamour'd; and such joy thou took'st With me in secret, that my womb conceived A growing burden. Mean while war arose, And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein remain'd, For 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 pitch of Heaven, down 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 for ever shut; which none can pass Without my opening. Pensive here I sat, 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 pain Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew Transform'd: 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 sigh'd From all her caves, 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 dismay'd,
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 terrors 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 parenț, 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 temper'd heavenly; for, that mortal dint
Save he who reigns above, none can resist.”

She finish'd; and the subtle fiend his lore Soon learn’d, now milder, and thus answer'd smooth “Dear daughter, since thou claim'st me forthy 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 arm’d, 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 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 purlieus of Heaven; and therein placed A race of upstart creatures, to supply Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed ; Jest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,

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Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught
Than this more secret, now design'd, 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, imbalm’d
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably : all things shall be your prey.”

He ceased; for both seem'd highly pleased, and
Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear [Death
His famine should be fill'd ; and bless'd 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'ermatch'd 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 terrors and with clamours compass’d 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 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 keyhole turns
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar,
Of massy iron or solid rock, with ease
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'd; but to shut

Excell'd her power; the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings, a banner'd host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through,
With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array ;
So wide they stood; and like a furnace-mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes, in sudden view appear,
The secrets of the hoary deep; a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; where length, breadth, & 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-arm’d, or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poize
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,

mix'd
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 look'd a while,
Pondering his voyage ; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal’d
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

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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 stay'd,
Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land ; nigh founder'd, on he fares,
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a griffon, through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had, from his wakeful custody, purloin'd
The guarded gold : so eagerly the fiend, [rare,
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way:
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
At length an universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies.
Undaunted, to meet there, whatever power,
Or spirit, of the nethermost abyss,
Might in that 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,
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreadful name
Of Demogorgon: Rumor next, and Chance,
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroil'd ;
And Discord, with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus. “Ye powers
And Spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy,
With purpose to explore, or to disturb,
The secrets 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,

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