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Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceived,
Gorgons, and hydras, and chimæras dire.

Meanwhile, the adversary of God and man,
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of hell
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes
He scours the right-hand coast, sometimes the left;
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
Up to the fiery concave towering high.
As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs, they on the trading flood
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape
Ply, stemming nightly toward the pole: so seem'd
Far off the flying tiend. At last appear
Hell bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,
And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass, 645
Three iron, three of adamantine rock,
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,
Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there sat
On either side a formidable shape;
The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair,
But ended foul in many a scaly fold
Voluminous and vast, a serpent arm’d
With mortal sting: about her middle round
A cry of hell hounds never ceasing bark'd
With wide Cerberean mouths full lond, and rung
A hideous peal: yet, when they list, would creep,
If aught disturb'd their noise, into her womb,
And kennel there; yet there still bark’d and howl'd
Within unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these
Vex'd Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore:
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, call'd
In secret, riding through the air she comes,
Lured with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the labouring moon
Eclipses at their charms. The other shape,
If shape it might be call’d, that shape had none

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648. Here begins that renowned alle a mixture of classical and demonological gory, the most territically sublime, it learning: bags were fubled as slaughterseeins to me, of any thing written by ing infants, drinking their blood, and apthat “greatest of all great men." The plying their mangled limbs to purposes blea is taken from James i. 15: "Then. of incantation. when Lust hath conceived, it bringeth 666. The other shape, &c. “One of those forth Sin; and Sin, when it is finished, masterly touches of horrible magnifibringetb forth Death."

cence which the band of Milton only 664. Lured with the smell, &c. Here is could delincate."--Todd.

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Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either: black it stood as night,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast,
With horrid strides; hell trembled as he strode.
The undaunted fiend what this might be admired
Admired, not fear'd: God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunn'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began:-

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That darest, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front athwart my way
To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave ask'd of thee:
Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of heaven!

To whom the goblin full of wrath replied:-
Art thou that traitor angel, art thou he,
Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms
Drew after him the third part of heaven's sons
Conjured against the Highest; for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd
To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of heaven,
Hell-doomed, and breathest defiance here and scorn,
Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings;
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart
Strange horrour seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.

So spake the grisly terrour; and in shape,
So speaking, and so threatening, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deform: on the other side,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burn’d,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levell’d his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend; and such a frown
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds

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678. God and his Son ercept, &c. Todd did not fear: them he did fear; but crefustifies this ungrammatical expressionated thing he valued not." by this paraphraxe: “Include pot God 709. Ophiuchus, or Septeptarius, was and his Son among the objects whom he a northern constellation of about forty

I degrees in length.

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With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian; then stand front to front,
Hovering 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; so match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like
To meet so great a Foe: and now great deeds
Had been achieved, whereof all hell bad rung,
Had not the snaky sorceress, that sat
Fast by hell gate, and kept the fatal key,
Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.

O father, what intends thy hand, she cried,
Against thy only son? What fury, O son,
Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart
Against thy father's head? and know'st for whom?
For him who sits above, and laughs the while
At thee, ordain'd his drudge, to execute
Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids;
His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both.

She spake, and at her words the hellish pest
Forbore; then these to her Satan return'd:-

So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange
Thou interposest, that my sudden hand
Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds
What it intends; till first I know of thee,
What thing thou art, thus double-formed; and why,
In this infernal vale first met, thou call'st
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son:
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.

To whom thus the portress of hell gate replied:
Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul, once deem'd so fair
In heaven? when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the seraphim with thee combined
In bold conspiracy against heaven's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surprised thee; dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth: till on the left side opening wide,
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright,
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm’d,
Out of thy head I sprung; amazement seized
All the host of heaven; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call’d me Sin, and for a sign

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716. The Caspian sex here mentioned, power of death, that is, the Devil.Heb. is remarkably tempestuous.

ii. 14. 721. Nerer but once more. That is, in 758. Out of thy head I sprung. Sin is Jesus Christ, who is alluded to in the rightly made to spring out of the bead 731th line, and who will one day destroy of Satan, as Wisdom, or Minerva, did out both Death, and “ Him that has the l of Jupiter's.

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Portentous held me: but, familiar grown,
I pleased, and with attractive graces won
The most averse; thee chiefly; who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becamest enamour'd: and such joy thou took'st
With me in secret, that my womb conceived
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,
And fields were fought in heaven; wherein remain'd
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe
Clear victory, to our part loss and rout
Through all the empyrean: down they fell
Driven headlong from the pitch of heaven, down
Into this deep, and in the general fall
I also; at which time this powerful key
Into my hand was given, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat
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 scost,
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 enemy,
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy: I fled, and cried out, Death;
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded, Death.
I fled, but he pursued, though more, it seems,
Inflamed 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 conceived
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
Afresh with conscious terrours 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
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,

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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

815
Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'd smooth:-
Dear daughter, 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
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change 820
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 wandering quest a place foretold

830 Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now Created, vast and round, a place of bliss In the purlieus of heaven, and therein placed A race of upstart creatures, to supply Perhaps our vacant room; though more removed, 835 Lest heaven, surcharged, with potent multitude, Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught Than this more secret, now design'd, 1 haste To know; and, this once known, shall soon return, And bring ye to the place where thou and Death Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen Wing silently the buxom 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

846 His famine should be fill'd, and bless'd 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,

850 And by command of heaven's all-powerful King, I keep, by him forbidden to unlock 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 confined,

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846. Grinn'd horrible a ghastly smile. 1 855. Liring might. It has been sug. “ Several poets have endeavoured to ex- gested that living wight, that ix, creapress much the same image, but I believe ture, would be a better reading, as it is it will be readily allowed that Milton has found in some early editions, as living Kreatly exceeded them all."-NEWTON. might would include the ever-living God

himself.

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