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Forthwith his former ftate and be'ing forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Beyond this flood a frozen continent

Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual forms
Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin feems
Of ancient pile; or elfe deep fnow and ice,
A gulf profound, as that Serbonian bog
Betwixt Damiata and mount Cafius old,



Where armies whole have funk: the parching air Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. 595 Thither by harpy-footed furies hal'd,

At certain revolutions, all the damn'd


Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce ;
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice
Their foft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round,
Periods of time; thence hurried back to fire.
They ferry over this Lethean found

Both to and fro, their forrow to augment,
And wish and ftruggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting ftream, with one fmall drop to lose
In fweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,

All in one moment, and fo near the brink;


But Fate withstands, and, to oppofe th' attempt, 610
Medufa with Gorgonian terror guards

The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on

In confus'd march forlorn, th' advent'rous bands 615
With fhudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghaft,
View'd first their lamentable lot, and found
No ret through many a dark and dreary vale
They pafs'd, and many a region dolorous,


O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,


Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and fhades of

A universe of death, which God by curfe
Created ev'il, for evil only good,


Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverfe, all monftrous, all prodigious things, 625
Abominable, inutterable, and worfe

Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire.

Mean while the adverfary' of God and man,
Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of high'eft defign, 6,0
Puts on fwift wings, and tow'ards the gates of hell
Explores his folitary flight: fometimes


He fcours the right hand coaft, fometimes the left;
Now fhaves with level wing the deep, then foars
Up to the fiery concave tow'ring high.
As when far off at sea a fleet defcry'd
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Clofe failing from Bengala, or the ifles

Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their fpicy drugs; they on the trading flood
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape


Ply, ftemming nightly tow'ard the pole: fo feem'd
Far off the flying fiend
At last appear

Hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,

And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brafs,

Three iron, three of adamantine rock;

Impenetrable, impal'd with circling fire,

Yet unconfum'd. Before the gates there fat

On either fide a formidable fhape;


The one feem'd woman to the wafte, and fair; 650 But ended foul in many a fcaly fold

Voluminous and vaft, a serpent arm'd

With mortal fting: about her middle round
A cry of hell-hounds never ceafing bark'd




With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 655
A hideous peal; yet, when they lift, would creep,
If ought difturb'd their noife, into her womb,
And kennel there; yet there ftill bark'd and howl'd
Within unfeen. Far lefs abhorr'd than thefe
Vex'd Scylla, bathing in the fea that parts
Calabria from the hoarfe Trinacrian shore:
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when call'd
In fecret, riding through the air fhe comes,
Lur'd with the fmell of infant-blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the lab'ring moon 665-
Eclipfes at their charms. The other fhape,
If fhape it might be call'd that shape had none
Diftinguishable in member, joint, or limb;

Or fubftance might be call'd that shadow feem'd,
For each feem'd either; black it stood as night, 670
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,

And fhook a dreadful dart; what feem'd his head,

The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

Satan was now at hand, and, from his feat
The moalter moving onward came as fast
With horrid flrides; hell trembled as he ftrode..
Th' undaunted fiend what this might be admir'd,
Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except,
Created thing nought valu'd he nor fhunn'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began.



Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That dar'ft, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy mifcreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates? Through them I mean to pafs,
That be affur'd, without leave afk'd of thee:
Retire, or tafte thy folly', and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with fpi'rits of heaven.
To whom the goblin, full of wrath, reply'd.
Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he,



Who first broke peace in heav'n and faith, till then
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms



Drew after him the third part of heav'n's fons
Conjur'd against the High'ft, for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd
To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
And reckon'st thou thyself with spi'rits of heav'n,
Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn,
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,
Falfe fugitive, and to thy speed add wings,
Left with a whip of fcorpions I purfue
Thy ling'ring, or with one ftroke of this dart
Strange horror feize thee', and pangs unfelt before.
So fpake the grisly terror, and in shape,



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So fpeaking and fo threat'ning, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deform. On th' other fide,
Incens'd with indignation, Satan flood
Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th'arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes peftilence and war. Each at the head
Levell'd his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No fecond stroke intend; and fuch a frown
Each caft at th' other, as when two black clouds,
With heav'n's artillery fraught, come rattling on 715
Over the Cafpian, then stand front to front
Hov'ring 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; fo match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet fo great a foe: and now great deeds
Had been achiev'd, whereof all hell had rung,
Had not the fnaky forceress that fat

F 4.



Faft by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key,
Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rufh'd between.
O father, what intends thy hand, the cry'd,
Against thy only fon? What fury', O fon,
Poffeffes thee to bend that mortal dart



Against thy father's head and know'ft for whom?
For him who fits above, and laughs the while
At thee, ordaind his drudge, to execute
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls juftice, bids;
His wrath, which one day will deftroy ye both..

She fpake, and at her words the hellish peft 735 Forbore; then these to her Satan return'd.

So frange thy outcry, and thy words fo ftrange
Thou interpofeft, that my fudden hand
Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds
What it intends; till first I know of thee,


What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why,
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'ft
Me father, and that phantafm call'ft my fon :-
I know thee not, nor ever faw till now
Sight more deteftable than him and thee.

T'whom thus the portrefs of hell-gate reply'd.
Haft thou forgot me then, and do I feem
Now in thine eye fo foul? once deem'd fo fair
In heav'n, when at th' affembly, and in fight
Of all the Seraphim with thee combin'd
In bold confpiracy against heav'n's King,
All on a fudden miferable pain



Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy fwum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and falt
Threw forth, till on the left-fide op'ning wide, 755
Likeft to thee in fhape and-count'nance bright,
Then fhining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm'd,
Out of thy head I fprung: amazement feiz'd
All th' hoft of heav'n; back they recoil'd, afraid


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