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The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
By night, and listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom; which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to hell he now return'd:
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased.
Long he admiring stood; till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke:

O parent, these are thy magnific deeds,
Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own:
Thou art their authour, and prime architect:
For I no sooner in my heart divined,

(My heart, which by a secret harmony
Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet)
That thou on earth hadst prosper'd, which thy looks
Now also evidence, but straight I felt,

Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt
That I must after thee, with this thy son;
Such fatal consequence unites us three.
Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds,
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
Detain from following thy illustrious track:
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined
Within hell-gates till now; thou us impower'd
To fortify thus far, and overlay,
With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gain'd
With odds what war hath lost; and fully avenged
Our foil in heaven: here thou shalt monarch reign,
There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
As battel hath adjudged; from this new world
Retiring, by his own doom alienated;
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.

Whom thus the prince of darkness answer'd glad:
Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both:
High proof ye now have given to be the race
Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of heaven's Almighty King),

344. Which being understood not now, but of future time: joy and tidings, for joyful tidings.

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381. His quadrature. The holy city, the New Jerusalem, is described of this figure. See Rev. xxi. 16.

Amply have merited of me, of all

The infernal empire, that so near heaven's door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,

Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore,-while I
Descend through darkness, on your road, with ease,
To my associate powers, them to acquaint
With these successes, and with them rejoice;--
You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth
Dominion exercise and in the air,

Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declared:
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create
Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
Issuing from me; on your joint vigour now
My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs
No detriment need fear: go, and be strong!

hell

So saying, he dismiss'd them; they with speed
Their course through thickest constellations held,
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan;
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffer'd. The other way Satan went down
The causey to hell-gate: on either side
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaim'd,
And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd,
That scorn'd his indignation: through the gate,
Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,
And all about found desolate; for those,
Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,
Flown to the upper world; the rest were all
Far to the inland retired, about the walls
Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat
Of Lucifer; so by allusion call'd

Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd:
There kept their watch the legions, while the grand
In council sat, solicitous what chance
Might intercept their emperour sent; so he
Departing gave command, and they observed.
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
By Astracan, over the snowy plains,

413. Planet-struck. We say of a thing, when it is blasted and withered, that it is planet-struck, and that is now applied to the planets themselves. And what a sublime idea doth it give us of the devastations of Sin and Death!-NEWTON.

432-6. Astracan: A city at the mouth

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of the Volga. Sophi, a title of the king of Persia, called Bactrian, from one of his richest provinces. Turkish crescent, for Turkish standard or power. Aladule, the Greater Armenia, so called from its last king, Aladulis. Casbeen, or Kashin, a city south of the Caspian Sea, a little north

Retires; or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
To Tauris or Casbeen: so these, the late
Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost hell
Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch
Round their metropolis; and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurer, from the search
Of foreign worlds: he through the midst unmark'd,
In show plebeian angel militant

Of lowest order, pass'd; and from the door
Of that Plutonian hall, invisible

Ascended his high throne; which, under state
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
Was placed in regal lustre. Down awhile
He sat, and round about him saw, unseen:
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
And shape star-bright appear'd, or brighter; clad
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,
Their mighty chief return'd: loud was the acclaim;
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy
Congratulant approach'd him; who with hand
Silence, and with these words attention, won:

Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers;
For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye, and declare ye now; return'd
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native heaven
Little inferiour, by my adventure hard
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done, what suffer'd; with what pain
Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion; over which

By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved,
To expedite your glorious march; but f

Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forced to ride
The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;

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west of Teheran, where the Persian mo- | The said council is said (i. 795) to sit in narchs made their residence after the secret conclave. The Devil, the Turk, loss of Tauris, (Ecbatana.) and the Pope being commonly thought to be nearly related, and often joined together.-NEWTON.

445. State: A canopy, covering. 457. Divan. The Devils are frequently described by metaphors taken from the Turks. Satan is called the sultan (1.348) | as here the council is styled the divan.

475. Uncouth: Unknown. Unoriginal: Not originated, not generated.

That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed-
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting fate supreme; thence how I found
The new-created world, which fame in heaven
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
Of absolute perfection! therein man
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile

Made happy: him by fraud I have seduced ·
From his Creator; and, the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat
Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up
Both his beloved man and all his world,
To Sin and Death a prey; and so to us,
Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,
To range in, and to dwell, and over man
To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
True is, me also he hath judged, or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent, in whose shape
Man I deceived: that which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head.
A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
Or much more grievous pain? Ye have the account
Of my performance: what remains, ye gods,
But up, and enter now into full bliss?

So having said, awhile he stood, expecting
Their universal shout, and high applause,
To fill his ear: when, contrary, he hears
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
A dismal universal hiss, the sound
Of public scorn: he wonder'd, but not long
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more:
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
Each other, till supplanted down he fell
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
Reluctant, but in vain; a greater Power
Now ruled him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
According to his doom. He would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To his bold riot: dreadful was the din

Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now
With complicated monsters head and tail,
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire,

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480. Protesting fate supreme: Calling | throw," a term of the gymnasium; so upon fate as a witness against my pro- reluctant, "struggling against." ceedings.

513. Supplanted: From the Latin supplanto, "to trip up one's heels, to over

524. Amphisbana, &c. See Webster's Dict. Ophiusa, (from the Greek opis, ophis, "a serpent:") a small island in the

Cerastes horn'd, hydrus, and elops drear,
And dipsas, (not so thick swarm'd once the soil
Bediopt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa;) but still greatest he the midst,
Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
Ingender'd in the Pythian vale on slime,
Huge Python, and his power no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain. They all
Him follow'd, issuing forth to the open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array;
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious chief.
They saw, but other sight instead! a crowd
Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,
They felt themselves, now changing: down their arms,
Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;
And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form

525

Now risen, to work them farther woe or shame;
Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain;
But on they roll'd in heaps, and, up the trees
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
That curl'd Megæra. Greedily they pluck'd
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceived: they fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
Chew'd bitter ashes, which the offended taste
With spattering noise rejected: oft they assay'd,
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg'd as oft,
With hatefulest disrelish writhed their jaws,
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell
Into the same illusion, not as man

Mediterranean, off the coast of Spain, the inhabitants of which are said to have quitted it for fear of being devoured by serpents.

525. Elops, a serpent spoken of by Pliny.

530

535

Catch'd, by contagion; like in punishment,

As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant 545
Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame

540

Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There stood
A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change
His will who reigns above, to aggravate
Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
Used by the tempter: on that prospect strange
Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining
For one forbidden tree a multitude

550

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560. Megara: One of the Furies, whose hair was serpents, like Medusa's. 562. Bituminous lake: The Dead Sea. 572. Triumph'd: That is, triumph'd over. So in line 186 of this book.

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