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النشر الإلكتروني

So spake this Oracle, then verify'd When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve, Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heav'ng Prince of the Air; then rising from his grave Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd In open show, and with ascension bright Captivity led captive through the air, The realm itself of Satan long usurp'd, Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; 190 Ev'n he who now foretold his fatal bruise, And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd: Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply By thy conception; children thou shalt bring In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd: Because thou’hast hearken' to th' voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree, concerning which 199 I chargd thee, say'ing, thou shalt not eat thereof: Curs’d is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life; Thorns also' and thistles it shall bring thee forth Unbid; and thou shalt eat th' herb of the field, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread Till thou return unto the ground; for thou Out of the ground wast taken; know thy birth, For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return. So judg’d he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, And th' instant stroke of death denounc'd that day Remov'd far off; then pitying how they stood 211

Before him naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume,
As when he wash'd his servants' feet, so now
As father of his family he clad
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
And thought not much to clothe his enemies :
Nor he their outward only with the skins 220
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobious, with his robe of righteousness
Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him

with swift ascent he up return'd,
Into his blissful bosom reassum'd
In glory as of old; to him appeas'd
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Meanwhile ere thus was sinn'dand judg’d on Earth, Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 230 In counterview within the gates, that now Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Far into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through, Sin opening, who thus now to Death began:

O Son, why sit we here each other viewing Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives In other worlds, and happier seat provides For us his offspring dear? It cannot be But that success attends him; if mishap, Ere this he had return'd, with fury driven 240 By his avengers, since no place like this

Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
Wings growing and dominions giv'n me large
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
Or sympathy, or some connatural force
Powerful at greatest distance to unite
With secret amity things of like kind
By secretest conveyance. Thou my shade
Inseparable must with me along:

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For Death from Sin no power can separate.
But lest the difficulty' of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassable, impervious, let us try
Advent'rous work, yet to thy power and mine
Not unagreeable, to found a path
Over this main from Hell to that new world
Where Satan now prevails, a monument
Of merit high to all th' infernal host,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse, 260
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
By this new felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon: Go whither Fate and inclination strong Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The

way, thou leading, such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste The savor of death from all things there that live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 270 Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

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So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell
Of mortal change on carth. As when a flock,
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
Against a day of battle, to a field,
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd
With scent of living carcasses design'd
For death, the following day, in bloody fight;
So scented the grim feature, and upturn'd
His nostril wide into the murky air,
Sagacious of his

quarry

from so far. Then both from out Hell gates into the waste Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark Flew diverse, and with power (their power was great) Hovering upon the waters, what they met Solid or slimy, as in raging sea Tost up and down, together crowded drove From each side shoaling tow'ards the mouth of Hell: As when two polar winds, blowing adverse Upon the Cronian sea, together drive 290 Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way Beyond Pecsora eastward, to the rich Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry, As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm As Delos floting once; the rest his look Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move; And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the gate, Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on Over the foaming deep high arch'd, a bridge 301

Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immoveable of this now fenceless world
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive down to Hell.
So, if great things to small may be compar'd,
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
From Suza his Memnonian palace high
Came to the sea, and over Hellespont
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia join'd, 310
And scourg'd with many a stroke th'indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,
Over the vex'd abyss, following the track
Of Satan to the self same place where he
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
Of this round world: with pins of adamant
And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
And durable; and now in little space

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The confines met of empyréan Heav'n
And of this world, and on the left hand Hell
With long reach interpos'd; three several ways
In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to Earth they had deseryed,
To Paradise first tending, when behold
Satan in likeness of an Angel bright
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose :
Disguis'd he came, but those his children dear 330
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.

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