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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, 850
And by command of Heav'n's all-powerful 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, 860
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamors, 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’ards the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high updrew,
Which but herself, not all the Stygian powers 875

Could once have mov’d; then in the key-hole turns
Th’ intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy ir'on or solid rock with ease
Unfastens : on a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound 880
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 through
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

highth, And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold 895 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 battel bring Their embryon atoms; they around the flag 900 Of each his faction, in several clans, Light-arm’d or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or slow, Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,

Levied 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 : next him high arbiter
Chance governs all.

Into this wild abyss 910
The womb of Nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sca, 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 915
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 storms, With all her battering engines bent to rase Some capital 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 league, As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

930 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 935
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft : that fury stay'd,
Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: nigh founder'd on he fares, 940
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half fly’ing; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a gryphon through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 945
Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold: so eagerly the Fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or

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

951 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 power

955 Or spirit of the nethermost abyss Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Which


the nearest coast of darkness lies Bord’ring on light; when strait behold the throne Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread

960 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 Damogorgon; Rumor next and Chance, 965
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To'whom Satan turning boldly, thus. Ye Powers !
And Spirits of this nethermost abyss !
Chaos and ancient Night! I come no spy,

970 With purpose to explore or to disturb The secrets of

your realm, but by constraint Wand'ring this darksome desert, 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 bounds 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 ;

980 Directed no mean recompense it brings To your behoof, if I that region lost, All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce To her orig'inal darkness and your sway, (Which is my present journey) and once more 985 Erect the standard there of ancient Night; Yours be th advantage all, mine the revenge.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With faltring speech and visage incompos’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


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