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At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a fign
Portentous held me; but familiar grown,
I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won
The most averfe, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyfelf in me thy perfect image viewing,
Becam'ft enamour'd, and fuch joy thou took't
With me in fecret, that my womb conceiv'd
A growing burden. Mean while war arofe,
And fields were fought in heav'n; wherein remain'd
(For what could elfe?) to our almighty foe
Clear victory, to our part lofs and rout,
Through all the empyrean: down they fell
Driv'n headlong from the pitch of heav'n, down
Into this deep; and in the gen'ral fall


I alfo; at which time this pow'rful key

Into my hand was giv'n, with charge to keep
Thefe gates for ever fhut, which none can pass


Without my op'ning. Penfive here I fat
Alone; but long I fat not, till my womb
Pregnant by thee, and now exceffive grown,
Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes.
At laft this odious offspring whom thou seest,
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore thro' my intrails, that with fear and pain.
Distorted, all my nether fhape thus grew
Transform'd: but he my inbred enemy:
Forth iffu'd, brandishing his fatal dart,

Made to deftroy: I fled, and cry'd out, Death;
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and figh'd
From all her caves, and back refounded, Death.
I fled, but he purfu'd, (tho' more, it seems,
Inflam'd with luft than rage,) and, swifter far,
Me overtook, his mother, all difmay'd,
And in embraces forcible and foul

lagend'ring with me, of that rape begot





Thefe yelling monsters, that with ceafelefs cry 795
Surround me, as thou faw'ft, hourly conceiv'd
And hourly born, with forrow infinite

To me; for when they lift, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw
My bowels, their repaft; then bursting forth 800
Afrefh, with confcious terrors vex me round,
That reft or intermiffion none I find.
Before mine eyes in oppofition fits

Grim Death, my fon and foe, who fets them on,
And me his parent would full foon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morfel, and his bane,
Whenever that fhall be; fo fate pronounc'd.
But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,



Tho' temper'd heav'nly; for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can resist.

She finish'd; and the fubtle fiend his lore Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus anfwer'd fmooth.


Dear daughter, fince thou claim'ft me for thy fire,
And my fair fon here fhow'ft me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in heav'n, and joys
Then fweet, now fad to mention, thro' dire change
Befall'n us, unforefeen, unthought of; know
I come no enemy, but to fet free

From out this dark and difmal houfe of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly hoft
Of fpirits, that, in our just pretences arm'd,
Fell with us from on high: from them I go
This uncouth errand fole; and one for all
My felf expofe, with lonely fteps to tread



Th' unfounded deep, and thro' the void immenfe


To fearch with wand'ring queft a place foretold 830
Should be, and, by concurring figns, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss

In the parlieus of heav'n, and therein plac'd
A race of upstart creatures. to supply

Perhaps our vacant room, tho' more remov'd, 835
Lést heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or ought
Than this more fecret, now defign'd, I haste

To know; and this once known, fhall foon return
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at eafe, and up and down unfeen
Wing filently the buxom air,' imbalm'd

With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd,
Immeasurably, all things fhall be your prey.


He ceas'd, for both feem'd highly pleas'd, and Death

Grinn'd horrible'a ghastfy'smile; to hear


His famine fhould be fill'd, and blefs'd his maw

Deftin'd to that good hour: no lefs rejoic'd

His mother bad, and thus befpake her fire.
The key of this infernal pit by due,


And by command of heav'n's all-pow'rful King,

I keep, by him forbidden to unlock 2.

Thefe adamantine gates; against all force

Death ready flands to interpofe his dart,
Fearless to be o'ermatch'd by living might.
But what owe I to his commands above


Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down

Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,

To fit in hateful office here confin'd,

Inhabitant of heav'n, and heav'nly born,

Here in perpetual agony and pain,

With terrors and with clamours compafs'd round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed?

Thou art my father,

thou my author, thou



My being gav'it me; whom fhould I obey
But thee whom follow? thou wilt bring me foon
To that new world of light and blifs, 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.
Thus faying, from her fide the fatal key,
Sad inftrument of all our woe, fhe took;
And tow'rds the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew,


Which, but herself, not all the Stygian pow'rs 875 Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns Th' intricate wards, and ev'ry bolt and bar

Of maffy ir'on or folid rock with ease

Unfaftens on a fudden open fly,


With impetuous recoil and jarring found,
'Th' infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open'd, but to fhut
Excell'd her pow'r; the gates wide open flood,
That with extended wings a banner'd hoft,
Under fpread enfigns marching, might pafs thro'
With horfe and chariots rank'd in loofe array;
So wide they flood, and like a furnace mouth
Caft forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in fudden view appear
The fecrets of the hoary deep; a dark

Illimitable ocean, without bound,




Without dimenfion, where length, breadth, and height, And time, and place, are loft; where eldeft Night. And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold

Eternal anarchy, amidst the noife


Of endless wars, and by confufion ftand.

For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce, Strive here for maft'ry, and to battle bring

Their embryon atoms; they around the flag


Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light-arm'd or heavy, fharp, fmooth, fwift, or flow,
Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the fands
Gf Barca or Cyrene's torrid foil,

Levy'd to fide with warring winds, and poife


Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire fits,
And by decifion more embroils the fray

By which he reigns:

next him high arbiter

Into this wild abyfs,

Chance governs all.
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither fea, nor fhore, 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
His dark materials to create more worlds.
Into this wild abyfs 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 crofs. Nor was his ear lefs peal'd 920 With noifes loud and ruinous, (to compare

Great things with fmall), than when Bellona ftorms,
With all her batt'ring engines bent to raze

Some capital city'; or lefs than if this frame
Of heav'n were falling, and thefe elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn


The ftedfaft earth. At laft his fail-broad vans
He fpreads for flight, and in the furging smoke
Uplifted fpurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, afcending rides.

Audacious; but that feat foon failing, meets

A valt vacuity: all unawares


Flutt'ring his pennons vain, plumb down he drops Ten thousand fathoms deep, and to this hour


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