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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, 941
Half fly'ng; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a Griffon 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, through 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'r 955 Or Spirit of the nethermost abyss

Which way

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask the nearest coast of darkness lies Bord'ring on light; when strait behold the


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, 965

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 to spy, 970
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm, but by constraint
Wand'ring this darksome desart, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek 975
What readiest path leads where your gloomy

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 recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expell'd, reduce
To her orig'nal darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey) and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night; 986
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With fault'ring speech and visage uncompos'd, Answer'd: I know thee, stranger, who thou art ; That mighty leading Angel, who of late 991 Made head against Heav'n's King, though over


I saw and heard; for such a num'rous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heav'n gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils,
Weak'ning the sceptre of old Night: first Hell
Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately Heav'n and Earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain 1005
To that side Heav'n from whence your legions



If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger; go and speed;
Havock, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.

He ceas'd, and Satan stay'd not to reply; 1010
But glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity and force renew'd,
Springs upward like a pyramid of fire


Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset
And more endanger'd than when Argo pass'd
Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks :
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shun'd
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steer'd.



So he with difficulty and labour hard
Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he;
But he once past, soon after when man fell,
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n,
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endur'd a bridge of wond'rous length
From Hell continu'd reaching th' utmost orb
Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse
With easy intercourse pass to and fro,
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night 1036
A glimm'ring dawn. Here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works a broken foe


With tumult less, and with less hostile din, 1040
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,
And like a weather-beaten vessel holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in th' emptier waste, resembling air, 1045
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal Heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,
With opal tow'rs and battlements adorn'd


Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by hanging in a golden chain
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.



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