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Another Eclipses at their charms. The other Shape-
Monster If shape it might be called that shape had none

Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,
For each seemed either-black it stood as
Night,

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Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart : what seemed his

head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode.
The undaunted Fiend what this might be ad-

mired
Admired, not feared (God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he nor shunned),
And with disdainful look thus first began : 680

•Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape,
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates ? Through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee.
Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven.'

To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied:-
• Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou he,
Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till
then

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Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons,
Conjured against the Highest—for which both

thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned

To waste eternal days in woe and pain ? Satan And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of and the Heaven,

grisly

Terror Hell-doomed, and breath'st defiance here and

scorn,

Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings, 700
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt be-

fore.'
So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deform. On the other side,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 719
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levelled his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend ; and such a frown
Each cast at the other as when two black clouds,
With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
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 frowned the mighty combatants that Hell
Grew darker at their frown; so matched they

stood;

720

For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a foe. And now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky Sorceress, that sat

her

6

730

Sin Fast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key, declares Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between.

“O father, what intends thy hand,' she cried, parentage

Against thy only 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
At thee, ordained his drudge to execute
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye

both!'
She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest
Forbore : then these to her Satan returned :-
•So strange thy outcry, and thy words so

strange
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand,
Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds
What it intends, till first I know of thee
What thing thou art, thus double-formed, and

why,
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son.
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.'
To whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate

replied :
• Hast thou forgot me, then ; and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul ?-once deemed so fair
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combined
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee, dim thine eyes and dizzy swum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast

740

750 was con

770

Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide, and how Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright, Death Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed,

ceived Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seized of her All the host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraid At first, and called 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, Becam’st enamoured; and such joy thou took'st With me in secret that my womb conceived A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose, And fields were fought in Heaven : wherein

remained
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout
Through all the Empyrean. 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
Into my hands was given, with charge to keep
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 thee, and now excessive grown,
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.

780
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transformed : but he my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,

Death Made to destroy. I fied, and cried out Death! and Sin Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighed

From all her caves, and back resounded Death!
I Aed; but he pursued (though more, it seems, 790
Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far,
Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,
And, in embraces forcible and foul
Engendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry
Surround me, as thou saw'st-hourly conceived
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To 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
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 forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can resist.'

She finished ; and the subtle Fiend his lore
Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered

smooth: • Dear daughter-since thou claim’st me for

thy sire, And

my

fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge

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