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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 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
But thou, O Father, I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heav'nly, 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 for thy sire,
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in heav'n, and joys
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
Befall'n us unforseen, 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 heav'nly 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
Th’ unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold

Should be, and hy concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the purlieus of heav'n, and therein plac'd
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd
Lest heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude
Might hap to move new broils ; be this or aught

Than this more secret now design'd, I hasten
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 fillid
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 fill'd, and bless'd his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoic'd
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire. .

The key of this infernal pit by due
And by command of Heav'n's all-pow'rful King
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock '
These admantine 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 thither thrust me down
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here confin'd,
Inhabitant of heav'n, and heav'nly 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 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 wo, she took ;
And tow'rds the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew,

* Buxom air :" yielding.

Which but herself, not all the Stygian Powr's .
Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns
Th' 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
Th’ 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 pow'r; 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 ;
Şo 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, and height,
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 or dry, four champions fierce,
Strive here for mast'ry, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they round 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 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 ,
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,
Unless th’ 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 awhile,
Pond'ring 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 slorms,
With all her battering engines bent to raze
Some capital city; or less than if this frame
Of heav'n 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,
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 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 griphon 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
O'er bog, or steep, thro' strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
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,
Undaunted to meet there whatever Pow's
Or Spirit of the nethermost abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bord'ring on light; when straight behold the throne
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
Of Demogorgon ; Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths. -

T' whom Satan turning boldly, thus : ye Pow'rs
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
Wand'ring 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 heav'n; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, th’ ethereal king
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound: direct my course;
Directed no mean recompence it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce
To her original darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey) and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night;
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With falt'ring speech and visage incompos'd, Answer'd; I know thee, stranger, who thou art, That mighty leading Angel, who of late

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