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But thou, O father! I forewarn thee, shun
810 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 claimst me for thy sire, And my fair son here show'st me, ... know I come no enemy, but to set free
822 From out this dark and dismal house of pain Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host Of spirits that, in our just pretences armed, Fell with us from on high. From them I go This uncouth errand sole, and one for all Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread The unfounded deep, and through the void immense To search with wandering quest a place foretold 830 Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now Created vast and round--a place of bliss In the purlieus of heaven; and, therein placed, A race of upstart creatures, to supply Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed, Lest heaven, surcharged with potent multitude, Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught
Than this more secret, now designed, I haste
He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death
850 And by command of heaven'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’ermatched 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 sit in hateful office here confined, Inhabitant of heaven and heavenly born, Here in perpetual agony and pain, With terrors and with clamors com passed round ? ...
Thou art my father; thou my author; thou
iron or solid rock with ease Unfastens. On a sudden open fly, With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
880 The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut Excelled her power: the gates wide openo stood, That with extended wings a bannered host, Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through With horse and chariots ranked in loose array: So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
highth, And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold Eternal anarchy amidst the noise Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. For Hot,° Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce, Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring Their embryon atoms: they, around the flag Of each, his faction, in their several clans, Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or slow, Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil, Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 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 sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed