Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys Satao Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire declares

his change

820

errand
Befallen us unforeseen, unthought-of-know,
I come no enemy, but to set free
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 fore-

told
Should be-and, by concurring signs, ere now 831
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
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, embalmed
With odours. 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

Sin His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw unlocks Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced Hell-gate 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— 860
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrors and with clamours compassed round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed ?
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gav'st 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.' 870

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 key-hole

turns

The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy. iron or solid rock with ease

880 Secrets

Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,

The With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,

of the The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate

hoary Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook

Deep
Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut
Excelled her power: the gates wide open 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.
Before their

eyes
in sudden view appear

890
The secrets of the hoary Deep-a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension; 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 900
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

The He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits, quest And by decision more embroils the fray perilous

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 Bellona

storms

With all her battering engines, bent to rase
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 spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke
Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a

league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

930
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 nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft. That fury stayed

939 The

951

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land-nigh foundered, on he fares, throne of

Chaos Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,

and Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. Night As when a gryphon through the wilderness With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth Had from his wakeful custody purloined The guarded gold ; so eagerly the Fiend O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense,

or rare, With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues

his

way,
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which

way

the nearest coast of darkness lies Bordering on light; when straight behold the

throne
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him en-

throned
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign ; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon ; Rumour next, and Chance,
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus :

-Ye
Powers

960

« ForrigeFortsæt »