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In th'Artic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Leveli'd his deadly aim ; their fatal hands
No second Stroke intend, and such a frown
Each cast at th'other, as when two black clouds
With heav'n's artill’ry fraught, catne rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front
Hov’ring a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air :
So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown, fo matcht chey food;
For never but once more was either like 1
To meet so great a foe : and how great deeds
Had been atchiev'd, whereof all hell had rung,
Had not the fnaky forceress that fat :
Fast by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key,
Ris'n, and with hideous outcry ruth'd between.

O Father, what intends thy hand, me cry'd,
Against thy only fon? what fury; o fon,
Poffefses thee to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father's head ? and know'ft for whom
For him who fits above and laughs the while
At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute
Whate're his wrath, which he calls justice, bids;
His wrath which one day will destroy ye both.

She spake, and at her words the hellith peft
Forebore, then there to her Satan return'd:
So strange thy outcry, and thy words to strange
Thou interposest, that my sudden hånd
Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds
What it intends ; till first I know of thee,

What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why
In this infernal vale first met thou call'ft
Me father, and that fantasm, call'st my son ?
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.

T'whom thus the portress of hell-gate reply'd;
Hast thou forgot me then ? and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair
In heav'n, when at th'assembly, and in sight
Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd
In bold conspiracy against heav'n's king,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surpriz'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy fwumın
In darkness, while thy head Aames thick and fast
Threw forth, till on the left side op'ning wide,
Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright,
Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm’d
Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd
All the host of heav'n; back they recoild afraid
At first, and callid me Sin, and for a sign
Portentous held me ; but familiar grown
I pleas’d, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam'ft enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st
With me in secret, 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 elle) to our almighty foe
Clear victory, to our part loss 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 general fall
I also; at which time this powerful key
Into my hand was giv'n, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without my op'ning. Pensive here I fat
Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transform'd : but he my inbred enemie
Forth issu’d, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy : I Aed, and cry'd out Death ;
Hell trembl’d at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death.
I fled, but he pursu'd (though more, it seems,
Inflam'd with luft than rage) and swifter far,
Me overtook his mother all dismaid,
And in embraces forcible and foul,
Ingendring with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters that with ceaseless cry
Surround me, as thou saw'ft, hourly conceiy'd
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me, for when they lift into the womb
That bred them they return, and howle and gnaw
My bowels, their repaft ; then bursting forth
Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.

Before mine eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death my son and foe, who sets them on,
And me his parent would full soon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
When ever that shall 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,
Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can refift.

She finish'd, and the suttle fiend his lore
Scon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'd smooth.
Dear daughter, since thou claim'ft me for thy Sire,
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in heav'n, and joys
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
Befall’n us unforeseen, unthought of, know
I come no enemie, but to set free
From out this dark and dismal house of pain,
Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly host
Of spirits that in our just pretences arm’d
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
Th’unfounded deep, and through the void immenfe
To search with wandring quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the pourlieues of heav'n, and therein plac't

A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd,
Left heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude
Might hap to move new broils : be this or aught
Than this more secret now design'd, I hafte
To know, and this once known, shall soon retum,
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing filently the buxom air, imbalm'd
With odours ; there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things Mall be your prey.
He ceas'd, for both seem'd highly pleas'd, and Death
Grinn'd horrible a gastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fillid, and blest his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoyc'd
His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire.

The key of this infernal pit by due,
And by command of heav'n's all-powerful kingi
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock
These adamantine gatęs ; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,
Fearless to be orematcht 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 heay'n, and heav'nly-born,
Here in perpetual agonie and pain,
With terrors and with clamours compast round

* ift. and 2d. Edit. wight 3d, and 4th. Edit.


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