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With bright imblazonry, and horrent arms. Four ways their flying march along the banks
Then of their session ended they bid cry

Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
With trumpets' regal sound the great result: Into the burning lake their baleful streams;
Tow'rds the four winds four speedy cherubim Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy

Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep;
By herald's voice explain'd; the hollow abyss Cocytus, nam’d of lamentation loud,
Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon,
With deafʼning shout return’d them loud acclaim. Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat Far off from these a slow and silent stream,

Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers Her wat’ry labyrinth, whereof who drinks
Disband, and wand'ring, each his several way Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Leads him, perplex'd where he may likeliest find Beyond this flood a frozen continent
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
The irksome hours, till his great chief return. Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,

Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems Upon the wing, or in swift race contend,

Of ancient pile; or else deep snow and ice, As at th' Olympian games or Pythian fields. A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goal Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, With rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form, Where armies whole have sunk: the parching air As when to warn proud cities war appears

Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. Wag'd in the troubled sky, and armies rush Thither, by harpy-footed furies haled, To battle in the clouds, before each van

At certain revolutions, all the damn'd
Prick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
Till thickest legions close; with feats of arms Of fierce extremes, by change more fierce,
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns. From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Others, with vast Typhæan rage more fell,

Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the air Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round,
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar, Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
As when Alcides, from Oechalia crown'd

They ferry over this Lethean sound
With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, And wish and struggle as they pass, to reach
And Lichas from the the top of Oeta threw

The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose Into th' Euboic sea. Others more mild,

In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, Retreated in a silent valley, sing

All in one moment, and so near the brink; With notes angelical to many a harp,

But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall

Medusa with Gorgonian terror, guards By doom of battle; and complain that fate

The ford, and of itself the water flies Free virtue should inthrall to force or chance. . All taste of living wight, as once it fled Their song was partial, but the harmony

The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on (What could it less when spirits immortal sing :) In confus'd march forlorn, th’advent'rous bands, Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment

With shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghast, The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet View'd first their lamentable lot, and found (For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense) No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale Others apart sat on a hill retired,

They pass'd, and many a region dolorous, In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high O’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate, Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of Fix'd fate, free-will, foreknowledge absolute, A universe of death, which God by curse [death, And found no end, in wand'ring mazes lost. Created evil, for evil only good, Of good and evil much they argu'd then,

Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds, Of happiness and final misery,

Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, Passion and apathy, and glory and shame,

Abominable, unutterable, and worse Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy:

Than fables yet have feign’d, or fear conceiv'd, Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm

Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. Pain for a while, or anguish, and excite

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man, Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured breast

Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of high’st design, With stubborn patience'as with triple steel. Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of Hell Another part, in squadrons and gross bands Explores his solitary flight; sometimes On bold adventure to discover wide

He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left, That dismal world, if any clime perhaps

Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Might yield them easier habitation, bend

Up to the fiery concave towering high.

As when far off at sea a fleet descry'd

Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more, Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds

Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment, Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles

False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings,
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring

Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood Thy ling’ring, or with one stroke of this dart
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape

Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.
Ply stemming nightly tow'rd the pole. So seem'd So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
Far off the flying fiend : at last appear

So speaking and so threat'ning, grew ten-fold Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid roof, More dreadful and deform: on th' other side, And thrice three-fold the gates; three folds were

Incens'd with indignation, Satan stood Three iron, three of adamantine rock, (brass, Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd, Impenetrable, impal'd with circling fire,

That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge Yet unconsum'd. Before the gates there sat In the Arctic sky, and from his horrid hair On either side a formidable shape;

Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair, Level’d his deadly aim; their fatal hands But ended foul in many a scaly fold

No second stroke intend, and such a frown Voluminous and vast, a serpent arm'd

Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds, With mortal sting: about her middle round With Heav'n's artillery fraught, come rattling on A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark'd

Over the Caspian, then stand front to front With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung Hov’ring a space, till winds the signal blow A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, To join their dark encounter in mid air: If aught disturb'd their noise, into her womb, So frown'd the mighty combatants, that Hell And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd Grew darker at their frown, so match'd they stood; Within, unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these For never but once more was either like Vex'd Scylla bathing in the sea that parts

To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore:

Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung, Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when callid Had not the snaky sorceress that sat In secret, riding through the air she comes,

Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, Lur’d with the smell of infant blood, to dance Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. With Lapland witches, while the lab’ring moon O father, what intends thy hand, she cry'd, Eclipses at their charms. The other shape, Against thy only son? What fury, O son! If shape it might be call’d that shape had none Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,

Against thy father's head? and know'st for whom; Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, For him who sits above and laughs the while For each seem'd either; black it stood as night, At thee ordain’d his drudge, to execute Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,

Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids; And shook a dreadful dart: what seem'd his head, His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both. The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

She spake, and at her words the hellish pest Satan was now at hand, and from his seat

Forbore. Then these to her Satan return'd. The monster moving, onward came as fast

So strange the outcry, and thy words so strange With horrid strides : Hell trembled as he strode. Thou interposest, that my sudden hand Th’undaunted fiend what this might be admir’d; Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except

What it intends ; till first I know of thee,
Created thing naught valued he or shunn'd; What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why
And with disdainful look thus first began:

In this infernal vale, first met, thou call'st
Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son ;
That dar’st, though grim and terrible, advance I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Thy miscreated front athwart my way

Sight more detestable than him and thee.
To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass, T' whom thus the portress of Hell-gate replied:
That be assur'd, without leave ask'd of thee: Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair
Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of Heav'n. In Heav'n, when at th' assembly, and in sight

To whom the goblin full of wrath reply'd: Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd
Art thou that traitor angel, art thou he

In bold conspiracy against Heav'n's King,
Who first broke peace in Heav'n and faith, till then All on a sudden miserable pain
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms

Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Conjur'd against the High'st, for which both thou Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright, To waste eternal days in woe and pain?

Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm'd And reckons't thou thyself with spirits of Heav'n, Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd Hell-doom'd,and breath’st defiance here, and scorn, All th' host of Heav'n; back they recoil'd afraid

At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a sign

Befall'n us unforeseen, unthought of; know Portentous held me; but familiar grown,

I come no enemy, but to set free I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won

From out this dark and dismal house of pain, The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft

Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly host Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing,

Ofspirits that in our just pretences arm’d, Becam'st enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st Fell with us from on high : from them I go With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd

This uncouth errand sole, and one for all A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein re- Th’unfounded deep, and through the void immense (For what could else ?) to our almighty Foe (main'd To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold Clear victory, to our part loss and rout

Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now Through all the empyrean, down they fell,

Created vast and round, a place of bliss Driv’n headlong from the pitch of Heav'n down In the purlieus of Heav'n, and therein plac'd Into this deep, and in the general fall

A race of upstart creatures, to supply I also ; at which time this powerful key

Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov’d, Into my hand was given, with charge to keep Lest Heav'n, surcharg'd with potent multitude, These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Might hap to move new broils : be this or aught Without my op'ning. Pensive here I sat

Than this more secret now design'd, I haste Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb,

To know, and this once known, shall soon return, Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, And bring ye to the place where thou and Death Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes.

Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen At last this odious offspring whom thou seest, Wing silently the buxom air, embalm’d Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,

With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey. Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew

He ceas’d; for both seem'd highly pleas'd, and Transform’d: but he my inbred enemy

Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear [Death Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart

His famine should be fill'd, and blest his maw, Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out Death; Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoic'd Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire: From all her caves, and back resounded Death. The key of this infernal pit by due, I fled, but he pursued (though more, it seems,

And by command of Heav'ns all-powerful King, Inflam'd with lust than rage) and swifter far, I keep, by him forbidden to unlock Me overtook, his mother, all dismay’d,

These adamantine gates: against all force And in embraces forcible and foul

Death ready stands to interpose his dart, ingendering with me, of that rape begot

Fearless to be o'ermatch'd by living might. These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry But what owe I to his commands above, Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceiv'd Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down And hourly born, with sorrow infinite

Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, To me; for when they list, into the womb

To sit in hateful office here confin'd, That bred them, they return and howl, and gnaw Inhabitant of Heav'n, and heav'nly born, My bowels, their repast ; then bursting forth Here in perpetual agony and pain, Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round, With terrors and with clamours compass'd round That rest or intermission none I find.

Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? Before mine eyes in opposition sits

Thou art my father, thou my author; thou Grim Death, my son and foe, who sets them on, My being gav’st me; whom should I obey And me his parent would full soon devour

But thee, whom follow? thou wilt bring me soon For want of other prey, but that he knows

To that new world of light and bliss, among His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I The Gods who live at ease, where I shall reign Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,

At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems Whenever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd. Thy daughter and thy darling, without end. But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope

Sad instrument of all our woe, she took ; To be invulnerable in those bright arms,

And tow'rds the gate rolling her bestial train, Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint, Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew, Save he who reigns above, none can resist.

Which but herself not all the Stygian powers She finish'd ; and the subtle fiend his lore Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns Soon learn'd, now milder; and thus answer'd Th’intricate wards, and every bolt and bar smooth :

Of massy iron or solid rock, with ease
Dear daughter, since thou claim'st me for thy sire,

Unfastens: on a sudden open fly,
And my fair son here shew'st me, the dear pledge With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
Of dalliance had with thee in Heav'n, and joys

Th’infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Then sweet, now sad to mention through dire change Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook

Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut

Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth Excell'd her pow'r; the gates wide open stood,

Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd That with extended wings a banner'd host,

The guarded gold: so eagerly the Fiend [rare, Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through, O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array;

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies: Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. At length an universal hubbub wild Before their eyes in sudden view appear

Of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd, The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark

Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear Illimitable ocean, without bound, [height, With loudest vehemence: thither he plies, Without dimension, where length, breadth, and Undaunted, to meet there whatever power And time, and place, are lost ; where eldest Night Or spirit of the nethermost abyss And Chaos, ancestor of Nature, hold

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise



the nearest coast of darkness lies Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.

Bord’ring on light; when strait behold the throne For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champious fierce, Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread Strive here for mast'ry, and to battle bring

Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthron'd Their embryon atoms; they around the flag

Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, Of each his faction, in their several clans,

The consort of his reign; and by them stood Light-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands

Of Demogorgon : Rumour next, and Chance, Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,

And Tumult and Confusion, all embroil'd, Levied to side with warring winds, and poise And Discord, with a thousand various mouths. Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere, T' whom Satan turning boldly, thus: Ye powers He rules a moment; Chaos umpire sits,

And Spirits of this nethermost abyss, And by decision more embroils the fray

Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy, By which he reigns: next him high arbiter


purpose to explore or to disturb Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss

The secrets of your realm, but by constraint The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, Wand'ring this darksome desart, as my way Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,

Lies through your spacious empire up to light, But all these in their pregnant causes mix'd

Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight, What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain

Confine with Heav'n; or if some other place, His dark materials to create new worlds :

dominion won, th' ethereal King Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend

Possesses lately, thither to arrive
Stood on the brink of Hell, and look'd a while, I travel this profound; direct my course ;
Pond'ring his voyage; for no narrow frith

Directed, no mean recompense it brings
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal'd To your behoof, if I that region lost,
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare

All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce Great things with small) than when Bellona storms To her original darkness and your sway, With all her battering engines, bent to raze

(Which is my present journey) and once more Some capital city; or less than if this frame Erect the standard there of ancient Night; Of heaven were falling, and these elements

Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge. In mutiny had from her axle torn

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, The stedfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans With fault'ring speech, and visage incompos'd, He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke Answer'd. I know thee, stranger, who thou art, Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league, That mighty leading Angel, who of late [throwo. As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

Made head against Heaven's King, though overAudacious; but that seat soon failing, meets

I saw and heard, for such a numerous host A vast vacuity: all unawares,

Fled not in silence through the frighted deep Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour Confusion worse confounded ; and Heav'n gates Down had been falling, had not by ill chance Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here Instinct 'with fire and nitre, hurried him

Keep residence ; if all I can will serve As many miles aloft: that fury stay'd,

That little which is left so to defend, Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither sea

Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils Nor good dry land, nigh founder'd, on he fares, Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,

Weak’ning the sceptre of old Night; first Hell Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.

Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath ;

Now lately Heav'n and Earth, another world,
As when a gryphon through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,

Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain
To that side Heav'n from whence your legions fell:

From your

If that way be your walk, you have not far: The rising world of waters dark and deep,
So much the nearer danger; go and speed ;

Won from the void and formless infinite.
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.

Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, He ceas'd; and Satan stay'd not to reply; Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd But glad that now his sea should find a shore,

In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight With fresh alacrity and force renew'd,

Through utter and through middle darkness borne Springs upward like a pyramid of fire

With other notes than to th’Orphean lyre
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Of fighting elements, on all sides round

Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down Environ'd wins his way; harder beset

The dark descent, and up to re-ascend
And more endanger'd than when Argo pass'd Through hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks : And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp ; but thou
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd

Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steer’d. To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So he with difficulty and labour hard

So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, Mov'd on; with difficulty and labour he;

Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more But he once past, soon after when man fell,

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt, Strange alteration ! Sin and death amain

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way

Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath, Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf

That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous length, Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget From Hell continued reaching th’ utmost orb Those other two equalld with me in fate, of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse So were I equall'd with them in renown, With easy intercourse pass to and fro

Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides, To tempt or punish mortals, except whom

And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old : God and good angels guard by special grace.

Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move But now, at last, the sacred influence

Harmonious numbers, as the wakeful bird Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid Shoots far into the bosom of dim night

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year A glimmering dawn ; here Nature first begins Seasons return, but not to me returns Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire

Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn, As from her utmost works a broken foe

Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, With tumult less and with less hostile din,

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; That Satan with less toil, and now with ease But cloud instead, and ever-during dark Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men And like a weather-beaten vessel holds

Cut off, and for the book of Knowledge fair
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; Presented with a universal blank
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,

Of Nature's works to me expung'd and rais'd,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
Far off th' empyreal Heav'n extended wide So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers With opal tow'rs and battlements adorn'd

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence Of living sapphire, once his native seat ;

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
And fast by hanging in a golden chain

Of things invisible to mortal sight.
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,

Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour he hies.

Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,

Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.

Mean while, upon the firm, opacous globe

Of this round world, whose first convex divides
Hail holy Light, offspring of Heav'n first born,
Or of th' eternal coeternal beam,

The luminous inferior orbs inclos'd
May I express thee, unblam'd? Since God is light, From Chaos, and th' inroad of darkness old,
And never but in unapproached light

Satan alighted walks: a globe far off
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,

It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent Bright effluence of bright essence increate.

Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Or hear’st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,

Starless expos'd, and ever threat'ning storms Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, Of Chaos blust'ring round, inclement sky; Before the Heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, Of God, as with a mantle didst invest

Tho' distant far, some small reflection gains

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