صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Transform'd : But he my inbred enemy 785
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,
Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death 1
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
Fröm all her caves, and back resounded Death !
I fled; but he pursued, (though more it seems 790
Inflam'd with lust than rage) and, swifter far,
Me overtook his mother all dismay’d,
And, in embraces forcible and foul,
Ingendering with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that, with ceaseless cry,
Surround me, as thou saw'st ; hourly conceiv'd,
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me; for, when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl, and gnaw
My bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth 800
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 involved ; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel and his bane,
Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounced.
But thou, O Father | I forewarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow ; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heavenly; for that mortal dint,
Save He who reigns above, none can resist.
She finish'd; and the subtle Fiend his lore
Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'd smooth.
Dear Daughter 1 since thou claim'st me for thy sire,
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge

Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys 819
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
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 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
The unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold 830
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created, vast and round, a place of bliss
In the pourlieus 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 design'd, 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 buxoml air imbalm'd
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceased, for both seem'd highly pleased; and Death
Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fill'd ; and blest 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,
And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King,
* “Buxom :'yielding.

[ocr errors]

Ikeep; by him forbidden to unlock 852
These adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,
Fearless to be o'ermatch'd 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 confin'd,
Inhabitant of Heaven, and heavenly born, 860
Here, in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrours and with clamours compass'd round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed 2
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey
But thee? whom follow 4 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
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 open'd, but to shut
Excell'd her power; the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a banner'd host,

[ocr errors][graphic]

Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through 888
With horse and chariots rank'd 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
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-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumber'd 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 mix'd
Confus'dly, 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 look’d a while,

“Barca and Cyrene:’ regions of Africa.


Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith 919
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal’d
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare
Great things with small), than when Bellonal 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 spreads 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, plump 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 staid,
Quench'd in a boggy Syrtis,” neither sea
Nor good dry land: Nigh founder'd on he fares, 940
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.
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 purloin'd
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,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »