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And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies: 950
At length, a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confus'd,
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 960
Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign ; and by him stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded Name
Of Demogorgon;l Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus: Ye Powers
And Spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night ! I come no spy, 970
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint,
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lics through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place,
From your dominion won, the ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound; direct my course; 980
Directed, no mean recompence it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,

"Demogorgon: the mystic name of an enchanter.

All usurpation thence expell'd, reduce 983
To her original darkness and your sway,
(Which is my present journey), and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night:
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge |

Thus Satan ; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
Answer'd : I know thee, stranger, who thou art ; 990
That mighty leading Angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven's King, though overthrown.
I saw, and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded ; and Heaven-gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend, 1000
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils,
Weakening the scepter of old Night: first Hell,
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;
Now lately Heaven, and Earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell:
If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger; go, and speed
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.

He ceas'd; and Satan staid not to reply, 1010 But, glad that now his sea should find a shore, With fresh alacrity, and force renew’d, Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire, Into the wild expanse; and, through the shock Of fighting elements, on all sides round Environ'd, wins his way: harder beset,

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And more endanger'd, than when Argo" pass'd 1017
Through Bosporus” betwixt the justling rocks:
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd
Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool” steer'd.
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Mov'd on ; with difficulty and labour he ;
But, he once past, soon after, when man fell,
Strange alteration Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endured a bridge of wonderous length,
From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb
Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse, 1080
With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God and good Angels guard by special grace.
But now at last the Sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim night
A glimmering dawn : Here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works, a broken foe
With tumult less, and with less hostile din; 1040
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light;
And like a weather-beaten vessel holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide

** Argo: the first long ship ever seen in Greece, which conveyed Jason in search of the Golden Fleece.—” “Bosporus:” the Straits of Constantinople.— • ‘The other whirlpool:' Scylla.

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In circuit, undetermined square or round, I 0.48 o

With opal towers and battlements adorn'd |
Of living sapphire, once his native seat; -
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain, l
This pendent world," in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. |
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 1055

** Pendent world :' not the earth, but the newly-created heavens and earth.

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BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT.

God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly

created; shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretells the suc

cess of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom

from all imputation, having created man free and able enough to have

withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in

regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced.

The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards man: but God again declares that grace cannot be extended towards man without the satisfaction of divine justice: man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for man: the Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in heaven and earth; commands all the angels to adore him: they obey, and hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb: where wandering, he first finds a place since called the Limbo of Wanity: what persons and things fly up thither: thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it; his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation, and man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed: alights first on Mount Niphates.

HAIL, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first born,
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam
May I express thee unblam'd : since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, 5
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou" rather pure ethereal stream,

** Hear'st thou:' i.e., art pleased rather to be called.

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