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Forth with his former state and be'ing forgets, 585
600 Their soft 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 sound Both to and fro, their forrow to augment, And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach The tempting Itream, with one small drop to lose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, All in one moment, and so near the brink; But Fate withstands, and, to oppose th’attempt, 616 Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards The ford, and of itself the water flies All taite 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 shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghaft, View'd first their lamentable lot, and found No reit: through many a dark and dreary vale They pass’d, and many a region dolorous,
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
620 Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of A universe of death, which God by curse [death, Created ev'il, for evil only good, Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds, Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 625 Abominable, inutterable, and worfe Than fables yet have feign’d, or fear conccivd, Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire.
Mean while the adversary of God and man, Satan, with thoughts infiam'd of high'eit design, 6,0 Puts on swift wings, and towards tlie gates of hell Explores his folitary flight: sometimes He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left; Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Up to the fiery concave tow'ring high.
635 As when far off at sea a fleet defcry'd Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds Close failing from Bengala, or the illes Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring Their spicy drugs; they on the trading ilood 040 Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape Ply, Itemming nightly toward the pole: fo feem'd Far off the fiying fiend At last
appear Hello bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof, And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brals, Three iron, three of adamantine rock ;
646 Impenetrable, impal'd with circling fire, Yet unconsum’d. - Before the gates there fat On either side a formidable shape ; The one feem'd woman to the waite, and fair ; 650 But ended foul in many a scaly fold Voluminous and valt, a serpent arm'd With mortal sting : about her middle round А A cry of hell-hounds never ceafing bark'd
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 655
Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
685 Retire, or taste thy folly', and learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with spi'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
So fpake the grilly terror, and in shape,
721 To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Had been achiev'd, whereof all hell had rung, Had not the snaky sorceress that fat
Falt by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, 725 Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.
O father, what intends thy hand, fhe cry'd, Against thy only fon? What fury', O son, Poffertes thee to bend that mortal dart Against thy father's head? and know'lt for whom? For him who fits above, and laughs the while 731 At thee, ondaind his drudge, to execute Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids; His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both.
She fpake, and at her words the hellish pelt 735 Forbore; then these to her Satan return'd.
So frange thy outcry, and thy words so strange Thou interposest, that my sudden hand Prevented fpares to tell theç yet by deeds What it intends ; till first I know of thee, 740 What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, 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.
745 T' whom thus the portress of hell-gate reply'd. Haft thou forgot me then, and do I feem Now in thine eye fo fout? once deem'd fo fair In heav'n, when at th' assembly, and in fight. Of all the Seraphim with thee combin'd
750 In bold conspiracy against heav'n's King, All on a sudden miserable pain Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum In darkness, while thy head flames thick and falt Threw forth, till on the left-fide op'ning wide, 755 Likest to thee in shape and-countnance bright, Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm’d, Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz’d All th' holt of heav'n; back they recoild, afraid