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Than unknown dangers and as hard es- That for the general safety he despised cape?
His own; for neither do the Spirits damned But I should ill become this throne, O Lose all their virtue, -lest bad men should Peers,
boast And this imperial sovranty, adorned Their specious deeds on Earth, which glory With splendor, armed with power, if excites, aught proposed
Or close ambition varnished o'er with zeal. And judged of public moment, in the shape Thus they their doubtful consultations Of difficulty or danger, could deter
dark Me from attempting. Wherefore do I | Ended, rejoicing in their matchless Chief:
As when from mountain-tops the dusky These royalties, and not refuse to reign,
clouds Refusing to accept as great a share Ascending, while the North-wind sleeps, Of hazard as of honor, due alike
o'erspread To him who reigns, and so much to him Heaven's cheerful face, the louring eledue
490 Of hazard more, as he above the rest
Scowls o'er the darkened landskip snow or High honored sits? Go therefore, mighty shower, Powers,
If chance the radiant sun with farewell Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at sweet home,
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive, While here shall be our home, what best The birds their notes renew, and bleating may ease
494 The present misery, and render Hell Attest their joy, that hill and valley rings. More tolerable; if there be cure or charm O shame to men! Devil with devil damned To respite, or deceive, or slack the pain 461 Firm concord holds; men only disagree Of this ill mansion; intermit no watch Of creatures rational, though under hope Against a wakeful foe, while I abroad Of heavenly grace; and, God proclaiming Through all the coasts of dark destruction
Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strife 500 Deliverance for us all. This enterprise 465 Among themselves, and levy cruel wars, None shall partake with me.” Thus say- Wasting the earth, each other to destroy: ing, rose
As if (which might induce us to accord) The Monarch, and prevented all reply; Man had not hellish foes enow besides, Prudent, lest, from his resolution raised, 1 That day and night for his destruction Others among the chief might offer now,
505 Certain to be refused, what erst they The Stygian council thus dissolved; and feared,
forth And, so refused, might in opinion stand In order came the grand Infernal Peers: His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Midst came their mighty Paramount, and Which he through hazard huge must earn. seemed But they
Alone the antagonist of Heaven, nor less Dreaded not more the adventure than his Than Hell's dread Emperor, with pomp voice
510 Forbidding; and at once with him they | And god-like imitated state; him round
475 A globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed Their rising all at once was as the sound With bright emblazonry and horrent Of thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend
Then of their session ended they bid cry With awful reverence prone, and as a god With trumpet's regal sound the great Extol him equal to the Highest in Heaven. result:
515 Nor failed they to express how much they Toward the four winds four speedy praised
480 Cherubim 1 encouraged by his resolution.
Put to their mouths the sounding alchymy,' Free Virtue should enthrall to Force or By harald's voice explained; the hollow Chance.
Their song was partial, but the harmony Heard far and wide, and all the host of Hell (What could it less when Spirits immortal With deafening shout returned them loud sing?) acclaim.
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishThence more at ease their minds, and ment somewhat raised
The thronging audience. In discourse By false presumptuous hope, the rangèd more sweet
(For eloquence the soul, song charms the Disband; and, wandering, each his several sense) way
Others apart sat on a hill retired, Pursues, as inclination or sad choice In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned Leads him perplexed, where he may like- high liest find
525 Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and Truce to his restless thoughts, and enter- fate, tain
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge abThe irksome hours, till his great Chief solute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,
lost. Upon the wing or in swift race contend, Of good and evil much they argued then, As at the Olympian games or Pythian Of happiness and final misery, fields;
Passion and apathy, and glory and shame: Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!-goal
Yet with a pleasing sorcery could charm With rapid wheels, or fronted brigads Pain for a while or anguish, and excite 567 form:
Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured3 As when, to warn proud cities, war appears breast Waged in the troubled sky, and armies rush With stubborn patience as with triple steel. To battle in the clouds; before each van Another part, in squadrons and gross Prick forth the aery knights, and couch bands,
570 536 On bold adventure to discover wide Till thickest legions close; with feats of That dismal world, if any clime perhaps arms
Might yield them easier habitation, bend From either end of Heaven the welkin Four ways their flying march, along the burns.
banks Others, with vast Typhæan rage, more Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge 575 fell,
Into the burning lake their baleful streams: Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the Abhorrèd Styx, the flood of deadly hate; air
540 Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep; In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild Cocytus, named of lamentation loud uproar:
Heard the rueful stream; fierce As when Alcides, from @chalia crowned Phlegeton,
580 With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with and tore
rage. Through pain up by the roots Thessalian Far off from these a slow and silent stream, pines,
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls And Lichas from the top of Eta threw 545 Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks Into the Euboic sea. Others, more mild, Forthwith his former state and being Retreated in a silent valley, sing
585 With notes angelical to many a harp Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and Their own heroic deeds, and hapless fall
pain. By doom of battle, and complain that Fate Beyond this flood a frozen continent 1 trumpet.
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature storms
breeds, Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious land
things, Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conOf ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, ceived, A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimæras Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old, dire. Where armies whole have sunk: the parch- Meanwhile the Adversary of God and ing air
Man, Burns frore, and cold performs the effect Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest of fire.
630 Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled, Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates At certain revolutions all the damned
of Hell Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter Explores his solitary flight: sometimes change
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes Of fierce extremes, extremes by change the left; more fierce,
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then From beds of raging fire to starve in ice Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to Up to the fiery concave towering high. 635 pine
As when far off at sea a fleet descried Immovable, infixed, and frozen round Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds Periods of time,-thence hurried back to Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles fire.
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants They ferry over this Lethean sound
bring Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment, Their spicy drugs; they on the trading And wish and struggle, as they pass, to flood,
606 Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, The tempting stream, with one small drop Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so to lose
seemed In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear All in one moment, and so near the brink; Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid But Fate withstands, and, to oppose the roof, attempt
610 And thrice threefold the gates; three folds Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
645 The ford, and of itself the water flies Three iron, three of adamantine rock All taste of living wight, as once it fled Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire, The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there In confused march forlorn, the adventur- sat ous bands,
615 On either side a formidable Shape. With shuddering horror pale, and eyes The one seemed woman to the waist, and aghast,
650 Viewed first their lamentable lot, and But ended foul in many a scaly fold, found
Voluminous and vast—a serpent armed No rest. Through many a dark and dreary With mortal sting. About her middle vale
round They passed, and many a region dolorous, A cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barked O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 620 With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and
655 shades of death
A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would A universe of death, which God by curse creep, Created evil, for evil only good;
If aught disturbed their noise, into her 1 frozen.
And kennel there; yet there still barked “Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou he and howled
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, Within unseen. Far less abhorred than till then
659 Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms Vexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts Drew after him the third part of Heaven's Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore; sons, Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, Conjured against the Highest, for which called
both thou In secret, riding through the air she And they, outcast from God, are here concomes,
demned Lured with the smell of infant blood, to To waste eternal days in woe and pain? 695 dance
And recon'st thou thyself with Spirits of With Lapland witches, while the laboring Heaven, moon
665 Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee If shape it might be called that shape had more, none
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishDistinguishable in member, joint, or limb; ment, Or substance might be called that shadow False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, seemed,
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 701 For each seemed either-black it stood as Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this Night,
670 dart Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unAnd shook a dreadful dart; what seemed felt before." his head
So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, The likeness of a kingly crown had on. So speaking and so threatening, grew tenSatan was now at hand, and from his seat fold
705 The monster moving onward came as fast, More dreadful and deform. On the other With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he side. strode.
676 Incensed with indignation, Satan stood The undaunted Fiend what this might be Unterrified, and like a comet burned, admired!
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge Admired, not feared-God and his Son In the arctic sky, and from his horrid except,
710 Created thing naught valued he nor Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the shunned
head And with disdainful look thus first began: Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands “Whence and what art thou, execrable No second stroke intend; and such a frown Shape,
681 Each cast at the other as when two black That dar’st, though grim and terrible, clouds, advance
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come Thy miscreated front athwart my way
715 To yonder gates? Through them I mean Over the Caspian--then stand front to
front That be assured, without leave asked of Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow thee.
To join their dark encounter in mid-air. Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by So frowned the mighty combatants that proof,
Hell Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Grew darker at their frown; so matched Heaven."
720 To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, re- For never but once more was either like plied:
To meet so great a foe. And now great 1 wondered.
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement rung,
seized Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat 724 All the host of Heaven: back they recoiled Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key, afraid
759 Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed be- At first, and called me Sin, and for a sign tween.
Portentous held me; but, familiar growil, “O father, what intends thy hand,” she I pleased, and with attractive graces won cried,
The most averse; thee chiefly, who full oft "Against thy only son? What fury, O son, Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart Becam'st enamored; and such joy thou Against thy father's head? and know'st for took'st
730 With me in secret, that my womb conFor him who sits above, and laughs the ceived while
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, At thee, ordained his drudge to execute And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, remained bids
(For what could else?) to our Almighty His wrath, which one day will destroy ye Foe both!”
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout 770 She spake, and at her words the hellish | Through all the Empyrean. Down they Pest
fell, Forbore: then these to her Satan returned: Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, “So strange thy outcry, and thy words down so strange
Into this deep; and in the general fall Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, I also: at which time this powerful key Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds Into my hands was given, with charge to What it intends, till first I know of thee
775 What thing thou art, thus double-formed, These gates forever shut, which none can and why,
pass In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st Without my opening. Pensive here I sat Me father, and that phantasm call'st my Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb,
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
grown, Sight more detestable than him and thee.” | Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate At last this odious offspring whom thou replied:746 seest,
781 “Hast thou forgot me, then, and do I seem Thine own begotten, breaking violent way, Now in thine eye so foul? once deemed so Tore through my entrails, that, with fear, fair
and pain In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew sight
Transformed; but he, my inbred enemy, Of all the Seraphim with thee combined 750 Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart, In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King, Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out All on a sudden miserable pain
787 Surprised thee; dim thine eyes, and dizzy Hell trembled at the hideous name, and
sighed In darkness, while thy head flames thick From all her caves, and back resounded and fast
Death! Threw forth, till on the left side opening I fled; but he pursued (though more, it wide,
790 Likest to thee in shape and countenance Inflamed with lust than rage) and, swifter bright,
far, Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed, armed,
And, in embraces forcible and foul