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Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan,
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffer'd. Th' other way Satan went down
The causey to Hell-gate; on either side

415
Disparted Chaos over built exclaim'd,
And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd
That scorn'd his indignation. Through the gate,
Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,
And all about found desolate ; for those

420 Appointed to sit there had left their charge, Flown to the upper world; the rest were all Far to th' inland retired, about the walls Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat Of Lucifer, so by allusion call’d,

425 Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd. There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand In council sat, solicitous what chance Might intercept their emperor sent; so he Departing, gave command; and they observed. 430 As when the Tartar from his Russian foe By Astracan over the snowy plains Retires, or Bactrian Sophi from the horns Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond The realm of Aladule, in his retreat

435 To Tauris or Casbeen, so these the late Heav'n-banish'd host, left desert utmost Hell Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch Round their metropolis, and now expecting Each hour their great advent'rer from the search 440 Of foreign worlds; he through the midst, unmark’d, In show plebeian Angel militant Of lowest order, pass'd ; and from the door Of that Plutonian hall, invisible, Ascended his high throne, which under state Of richest texture spread, at th' upper end Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while He sat, and round about him saw, unseen.

445

412. See Ovid, Met. ii. 791. 426. Paragon'd, from the French parungonner. 432. Astracan, a large city in one of the islands of the Volga. -Sophi, the king of Persia, who is styled Bactrian, from one of the richest of the Persian provinces.

433. Aladule, the greater Armenia.--Tauris, a city in Persia, now called Ecbatana. ---Casbeen, another great city in the same country.

R

At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
And shape star-bright appear'd, or brighter, clad 450
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,
Their mighty chief return'd. Loud was th' acclaim :
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers, 456
Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy
Congratulant approach'd him, who with hand
Silence, and with these words attention won:

Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms,Virtues, Pow'rs,
For in possession such, not only' of right, 461
I call ye, and declare ye now, return'd
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe, 405
And dungeon of our tyrant. Now possess,
As Lords, a spacious world, to' our native Hear'n
Little inferior, by my adventure hard
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done, what suffer'd, with what pain 470
Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion, over which
By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved
To expedite your glorious march; but I
Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 475
Th' untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild,
That jealous of their secrets fiercely opposed
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found 480
The new-created world, which fame in Heav'n
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful,
Of absolute perfection, therein Man
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy. Hira by fraud I have seduced 485
From his Creator, and the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple! He thereat
Offended (worth your laughter) hath given up
Both his beloved Man and all his world,
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,

490 Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,

To range in, and to dwell, and over Man
To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
True is, me also he hath judged, or rather
Me not, but the brute Serpent, in whose shape 495
Man I deceived. That which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind: I am to bruise his heel;
His seed (when is not set) shall bruise my head.
A world who would not purchase with a bruise, 500
Or much more grievous pain? Ye have th' account
Of my performance: What remains, ye Gods,
But up and enter now into full bliss ?

So having said, a while he stood, expecting
Their universal shout and high applause

505 To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears On all sides, from innumerable tongues A dismal universal hiss, the sound Of public scorn.

He wonder'd, but not long Had leisure, wond'ring at himself now more : 510 His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare, His arms clung to his ribs, his legs intwining Each other, till supplanted down he fell A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, Reluctant, but in vain; a greater Pow'r

515 Now ruled him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd, According to his doom. He would have spoke, But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd Alike; to serpents all as accessories

520 To his bold riot. Dreadful was the din Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now With complicated monsters, head and tail, Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbæna dire, Cerastes horn'd, Hydrus, and Elops drear, 525 And Dipsas (not so thick swarm'd once the soil

504. The transformation of the fallen angels inentioned in this passage is a fine invention, and one of those bold marvels which so well fit the nature of epic poetry.

513. Supplanted, here used in its original sense, from the Latin supplanture, to trip up by the heels.

524. Amphisbæna, a serpent with a head at both ends of its body; Cerastes, as here called, a horned snake; Hydrus, a water snake; Elops, a serpent which gives no notice of its approach. and Dipsas, one which occasions a feverish thirst by its bite.

M

Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa); but still greatest he the midst,
Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
Engender'd in the Pythian vale on slime, 530
Huge Python, and his pow'r no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain. They all
Him follow'd, issuing forth to th’ open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout
Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood or just array,

535
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious chief:
They saw, but other sight instead, a crowd
Of ugly serpents. Horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for what they saw,

540 They felt themselves now changing Down their

arms, Down fell both spear and shield, down they as fast, And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form Catch'd by contagion, like in punishment, As in their crime. Thus was th' applause they meant Turn’d to exploding hiss ; triumph to shame,

516 Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There

stood A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, His will who reigns above, to aggravate Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that 550 Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve Used by the Tempter. On that prospect strange Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining For one forbidden tree a multitude Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; 555 Yet parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, Though to delude them sent, could not abstain, But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks That curl's Megæra. Greedily they pluck'd 560 The fruitage, fair to sight, like that which grew

527. Lucan, Phars. ix. 696. in which the account is given of Perseus slaying the Gorgon.-Ophiusa is an island in the Medi. terranean, which was deserted by its inhabitants, on account of the enormous multitude of serpents there.

530. The Python was a serpent said to have sprung from the flime that was left after the Deucalian deluge.

560. Megera, one of the furies.

Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceived: they fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit

565
Chew'd bitter ashes; which th' offended taste
With spatt'ring noise rejected. Oft they' assay'd,
Hunger and thirst constraining, drugg'd as oft
With hatefullest disrelisli, writhed their jaws
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell 570
Into the same illusion, not as Man
Whom they triumph'd once lapsed. Thus were they

plagued
And worn with famin, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed ;
Yearly enjoin'd, some say, to undergo

575
This annual humbling certain number'd days,
To dash their pride, and joy for Man seduced.
However, some tradition they dispersed
Among the Heathen of their purchase got,
And fabled how the Serpent, whom they call'd 580
Ophion with Eurynome, the wide
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driv'n
And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born.

Mean while, in Paradise the hellish pair 585 Too soon arrived, Sin there in Pow'r before, Once actual, now in body, and to dwell Habitual habitant; behind her Death Close following, pace for pace, not niounted yet On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began: 590

562. It is said by Josephus that trees were to be seen about this devoted spot, whíci bore fruit delicious to the eye, but falling into ashes the moment it was touched.

573. Bentley reads with thirst and famin dire.

574. This idea is supposed to have been taken from the old romances, or from Ariosto, Can. 43. st. 38

581. So true it is that the most ancient mythological fables bear evident traces of having originated in traditions derived from the scripture history.--Ophion, or the serpent, was undoubtedly Satan; and Enrynome, or the wide-ruling, must have referred to Eve, who was so called from the ambitious desires with which she eat the forbidden fruit.-Jortin says, Milton took the idea from Apollonius, I.

586. Sin in pow'r, that is, there was a possibility of its betraying man. Actual once, namely, when Adam really sinned; and in body, when it became always present and active.

590, Rev. vi. 8.

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