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“ Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, 780 “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 785 “ 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!' 790 “I fled; but he pursu'd, (though more, it seems,

“ Inflam'd with lust than rage,) and, swifter far,
“Me overtook-his mother-all dismay'd,
"And, in embraces forcible and foul,

Engendering with me, of that rape begot
795 “ These yelling monsters, that, with ceaseless cry,

“Surround me, as thou saw'st; hourly conceiv'd,
“ And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me; for, when they list, into the womb

“ That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw 800 “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

parent would full soon devour
“For want of other prey, but that he knows
“ His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
“Should prove a bitter morsel and his bane,

“ Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounc'd. 810 “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:

805

me his

815

“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 820 “ Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change

“Befall'n 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 825 “ Of spirits, that in our just pretences arm'd

“ Fell with us from on high: from thein 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 830 “ 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 plac'd

A race of upstart creatures, to supply
835 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 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 embalm'd
“With odours: there ye shall be fed and fill'd
“Immeasurably: all things shall be your prey."

He ceas’d, for both seem'd highly pleas'd; and Death
Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile to hear
His famine should be fillid; and bless'd his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoic'd

His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire: 850

“ 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

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810

845

E

“Death ready stands to interpose his dart, 855 “ 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 confin'd,
860 “ 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 865 "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 870 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, 875 Which, but herself, not all the Stygian powers

Could once have mov'd ; 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,
880 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, 885 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

890

Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension ; where length, breadth, and height,

And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night 895 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 900 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,
905 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 910 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

Confus'dly; and which thus must ever fight, 915 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
920 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 batt'ring engines bent to rase

Some capital city; or less than if this frame 925 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 league,

930 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 935 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,

Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither sea,
940 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 gryphon, through the wilderness

With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale 945 Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth

Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold: so eagerly the fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, , 950 And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.

At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confus'd,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear

With loudest vehemence: thither he plies, 955 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 960 Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread

Wide on the wasteful deep! With him enthron'd
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign ; and by them stood

Orcus, and Ades, and the dreaded name
965 Of Demogorgon! Rumour next, and Chance,

And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths!

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