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Sin, the female figure, here explains that she is the daughter of Satan, and that Death is both her son and his, the fruit of an incestuous connexion between the father and daughter. This ends the strife. The parties enter into a compact of mutual assistance, and Sin and Death then open the gates.


OVER Chaos.

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 key-hole lurns
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 opened, but to shut
Excelled her power: the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a bannered host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through
With horse and chariots ranked 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, and highth,

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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-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Awarm populous, unnumbered as the sands
Or Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Leavied to side with warring winds and poise
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,
Anti by decision more embroils the fray,
By which he reigns: next him high arbiter
Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss,
Thewomb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of seither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But:dll these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confisedly, 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 looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed.
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great thãngs with small), than when Bellona storma.
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 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 staid,
Quenched in a boggy syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: nigh foundered 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 wingéd course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded gold: so eagerly the fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through straight, 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 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



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 dreaded name
Of Demogorgon! Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroiled,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.

Satan finds himself at the court of Chaos, “ Anarch old," as Milton calls him. Learning that he is on the confines of Creation, he immediately proceeds on his journey, and without much further adventure at length reaches the new world.

The Third Book opens by an easy transition, with an address to Light. It seems to be naturally suggested by the dark and terrible images of the previous books, when contrasted with the resplendent scenes about to be presented, and is connected with his own blindness, in a manner most exquisitely tender and beautiful. The whole passage has been greatly admired.

Hail, holy light! offspring of heaven first born,
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hearest thou rather, pure ethereal stream,

Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest The rising world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite. Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight Through utter and through middle darkness borne, With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre, I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe, And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou Revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs, Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more Cease I to wander where the muses haunt Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, That wash thy hallowed feet and warbling flow, Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget Those other two equalled with me in fate, So were I equalled with them in renown, Blind Thamyris, and blind Mæonides, And Tiresias, and Phineas, prophets old : Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid

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