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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

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Than this more secret, now designed, I haste
To know; and, this once known, shall soon return
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death 840
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalmed
With odors. There ye shall be fed and filled
Immeasurably: all things shall be your prey.'

He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:
“ The key of this infernal pit, by due,

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
My being gavest me: whom should I obey
But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon
To that new world of light and bliss, 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 saying, from her side the fatal key,
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took ;
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian powers
Could once have moved; then in the keyhole turns
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy

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


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Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in sudden view appearo

The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimensions; where length, breadth, and

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
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds
Into this wild abyss the wary fiend
Stood on the brink of hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage°; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 920
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellonao storms
With all her battering engines, bent to raze
Some capital city; or less than if this frame
Of heaven were falling, and these elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The steadfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity: all unawares,
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops
Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour
Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance,
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and niter, hurried him
As many miles aloft. That fury stayed,

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