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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 805

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 810
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 815 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 unforeseen, unthought of; know 821
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 Sp'rits, that in our just pretences arm'd 825
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 im


To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now 831
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 haste
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 841
Wing silently the buxom air, embalm'd
With odours: there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceas'd, for both seem'd highly pleas'd; and



Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fill'd, and blest 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 adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,


Fearless to be o'ermatch'd by living might. 855
But what owe I to his commands above

Who hates me, and hath hither 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 865
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. 870
Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
And tow'rds the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
Which but herself, not all the Stygian pow'rs 875
Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole



Th' intricate wards, and ev'ry bolt and bar
Of massy ir'n 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 885

Under spread ensigns marching might pass thro'
With horse and chariots rank'd 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


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 mast'ry, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag 900
Of each his faction, in their sev'ral clans,
Light-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or

Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,


Levy'd to side with warring winds, and poise 905 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:

Chance governs all.

next him high arbiter

Into this wild abyss, 910

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 a while,
Pond'ring his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal'd 920
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellona


With all her batt'ring engines bent, to raze
Some cap'tal city; or less than if this frame
Of Heav'n were falling, and these elements 925
In mutiny had from her axle torn

The stedfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

Audacious; but that seat soon failing, meets

A vast vacuity: all unawares


Flutt'ring 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, 936 Instinct with fire and nitre, hurry'd him


many miles aloft: that fury stay'd,



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