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Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim
546 Into the Euboic sca. Others more mild, Retreated in a silent valley, sing With notes angelical to many a harp Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of battle; and complain that fate 551 free virtue should enthral to force or chance. Their song was partial; but the harmony What could it loss when spirits inimortal sing?)
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment
570 On bold adventure to discover wide That dismal world, if any clime perhaps Might yield them easier !abitation, bend Four ways their flying march, along the banks Of four infernal rivers that disgorge
575 Into the burning lake their baleful streams; Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate; Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep; Cocytus, named of lainentation loud Hcard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegethon, 680 Whose waves of torrent fire infiame with ragö. Far off from these, a slow and silent stream, Lothe, the river of oblivion, rolls Her watery labyrinth, whereof who drinks Forthwith his former state and being forgets, 585 Forgots both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. Beyond this flood a frozen continent Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seenis
690 Of anciert pile, or else deen snow and ice,
A gulf profound, as that Serbonian bog
G03 And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach l'he tempting stream, with one small drop to lose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woc, Ali in one moment, and so near the brink; But fate withstands, and to oppose the attempt 618 Medusa 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 confused march forlorn, the adventurous bands, 613 With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast, View'd first their lamentable lot, and found No rest : 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 death, A universe of death : which God by curse Created evil, for evil only good; Where all life dies, death lives, and nature hreeds, Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 625 Abominable, inutterable, and worse I han fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceived, Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire. .
Meanwhile the adversary of God and Man
Satun, with thoughts inflamed of highest design, 636
616 impenetrable, impaled with circling fire, Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat, On either side a formidable shape : The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair ; 650 But ended fou m many a scaly fold Voluminous and vast; a serpent arm'd With mortal sting: About her middle round A cry of Hellhounds never ceasing bark'd With wide Cerberian mouths full loud, and rung S55 A hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep, If aught disturb’d their noise, into her womb, And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howlid, Within, unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these Vex'd Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 600 Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore ; Nor uglier follow the night hag, when, callid In secret, riding through the air she comes, Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon 665 Eclipses at their charms. The other shape, If shape it might be call’d that shape had none
Distir.guishable in member, joint, or limbi
To whom the Goblin full of wrath replied : Art thou that Traitor-Angel, art thou He Who first broke peace in Heaven, and faith, till then Unbroken; and in proud rebellious arms
691 Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons Conjured against the Highest ; for which both thou And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd To waste eternal days in woe and pain ?
695 And reckon’st thou thyself with Spirits of
aven, Hell-doom'd! and breathest defiance here and scorn, Where I reign king; and, to enrage thee more, Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive ! and to thy speed add wings; 700 Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue Thy lingering; or with one stroke of this dart Etrange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt beforo.
So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, So speaking and so threatening, grew tunfold 706