תמונות בעמוד
PDF
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

More dreadful and deform. On the other eide,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified; and like a comet burn'd,
Ilat tires the length of Ophiuclus huge
Ir. the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levei'd his deadly aim ; their fatal hands
No second stroke iniend; and such a frown
Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds,
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 715
Over the Caspian ; then stand front to front,
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air:
So frown'd the mighty combatants that Hell
Grew darker at their frown: so match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a foc : And now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat
Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, 725
Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.

O Father! what intends thy hand, she cried,
Against thy cnly Son? What fury, O Son !
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father's head ? and know'st for whom,
For him who sits above, and laughs the while 731
At thee ordain'd his drudge; to execute
Whatc’er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids ?
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both!

Sie spake, and at her words the hellish Pest 735 Forbore ; then these to her Satan return'd:

So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strango
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand,
Prevented, spares to tell tl ee yet by deeds
What it intends ; till first I know of thee

740
What thing thou art, ihus double-form’d; and why,
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st
Me Father, and that phantasm call’et my Son:.

1 know thee nor, nor ever saw till now
Bight more detestable than him and thee

To włrom thus the Portress of Hellgate .epried
last thou forgot me then and do I scem
Now in thine cye so foul ? once deern'd so fair
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined

754
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swam
Ir darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth ; till, on the left side opening wide, 755
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm’d,
Out of thy head I sprang ; Amazement seized
All the host of Heaven ; back they recoild afraid
At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a sign

760 Portentous held me; but, familiar grown, I pleased, and with attractive graces won The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing Becamest enamour'd ; and such joy thou took'st 760 With me in secret that my womb conceived A growing burden. Meanwhile war arosc, And fields were fought in Heaven ; Wherein remain'd (For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe Clear victory; to our part loss and rout,

770 Through all the empyréan; down they fell Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down Into this deep; and in the general fall I also; at which time, this powerful key Int) my hand was given, with charge to kcep 770 These gates for ever shut, which none can pass Without my opening. Pensive here I sat Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb Pregnant by thes, and now excessive grown, Prodigious motion telt, and rueful throcs. At last this odious offspring whom thou roost

•Thine ovn begotten, breaking violent way
Core through my entrails, that, with fear and para
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transform’d: But he my inbred enemy

784
Forth issued, handishing his fatal dart
Mlade to destr::y! I fled, and cried out Death!
floll trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death !
I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 790
Inflamed with lust than rage,) and, swifter far,
Me overtook, his mother, all dismay'd ;
And, in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters that with ceaseless cry 795
Surround me, as thou saw'st : hourly conceived
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
l'o me; for, when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl and gnaw
My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth 800
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 involved ; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be; so Fate pronounced.
But thou, O Father! I forcwarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow ; neither vainly hopo
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
'I hough temper'd heavenly ; for that mortal dint,
Gave he who reigns above, none can focist.

She tinish’d; and the subtle Fiend hix lore 815 Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'il smooth Dear Daughter! since thou claim’st me for thy sire And my fair son here show'st me, (the dear pledge Or dalliance had with thee in Heavrn and joy

[ocr errors]

Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
Befallen us, unforeseen, unthought of) know, 821
I come no enemy, but to set free
From out this dark and disn:al house of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host
Of Spirits, that, in our just pretences arn'd,
Fell with us from on high : From them I go
This uncouth errand sole; and one for all
Myself expuse, with lonely steps to tread
The unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wandering quest a place foretold 830
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the purlieus of Heaven, and therein placed
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room ; though inore removed, 835
Lest Heaven, surcharged 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 840
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, embalm'd
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fillid
(mmeasurably, all things shall be your prey.

He ceased, for both seem'd highly pleased ; and Death Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear

848 His famine should be fill'd; and bless'd his maw Destined to that good hour : No less rejoiced His mother bad, and thus bespoke her sire. The key of this infernal pit by due,

850 and by command of Heaven's all-powerful Kins, 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 hy living might 853 But what owe I to iis commands above Who hater me, and hath nither thrust me down

[ocr errors]

Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful cfice here :ontined,
Inhabitant of Heaven, and heavenly born, 860
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamo urs compass'd round
Of mine own brood, that on iny bowels feed?
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gavest me; whom should I ober 865
But thee? whom follow? thou wilt bring me soon
To that new world of light and blisz, among
The gods who live at case, where I shall reign
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end.
Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,
Sad instrument of all our woc, she took;
And, toward the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portrullis high updrew,
Which but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 875
Could once have moved; then in the keyhole turns
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy iron or solid rock with case
Unfastens : On a suulden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jaring sounil

880
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'l, but to shut
Excell'd her power; the gates wille open stood,
That with extended wings a banner'd host, 885
Under spread ensigns, marching, might pass througb
With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array:
So wide they stool, and like a furnace mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in sudden view appear

830 The secrets of the hoary deep; a dark Illimitablc ocean, without bound, Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height, And time, and place are lost; where eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold

895

« הקודםהמשך »