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Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scom
Where I reign king, and to enrage thec more,
Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive and to thy speed add wings, 700
Lest, with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy ling’ring, or with one stroke of this dart,
Strange horror seize thee', and

unfelt before.
So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threatning, grew ten-fold 705
More dreadful and deform: on th' other side
Incens'd with indignation Satan stood
Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In th’ Arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 710
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 th' other, as when two lack clouds,
With Heav’n’s artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front 716
Hov'ring 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 721
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds
Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky sorceress that sat
Fast by Hell gate, and kept the fatal key, 725
Ris’n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.

pangs

O Father! what intends thy hand, she cry'd, 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 731 At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute Whatc'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 735 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 WVhat it intends ; till first I know of thee, 140 What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, 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. 1745

To'whom thus the portress of Hell gate reply'd. Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem Now in thine eye so foul? once deem'd so fair In Heav'n, when at th’assembly, and in sight Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd 750 In bold conspiracy against Heav'n's King, All on a sudden miserable pain Surpris’d 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, 755 Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright,

Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm’d
Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd
All th' host of Heav'n; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call’d me Sin, and for a sign 760
Portentous held me; but familiar grown,
I pleas’d, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam’st enamor’d, and such joy thou took'st 763
With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd
A growing burden. Mean while war arose,
And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein remain'd
(For what could else?) to our almighty Foe
Clear victory, to our part loss and rout 770
Through all the empyréan: down they fell
Driv'n headlong from the pitch of Heav'n, 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 773 These

gatcs for ever shut, which none can pass Without iny ope’ning. Pensive here I sac Alone, but long I sat not, till my wołnb Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown, Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.

780 At last this odious offspring whom thou seest 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

783 Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart

Made to destroy : I fled, and cry'd 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,
Inflam’d with lust than rage) and swifter far, 791
Me overtook his mother all dismay'd,
And in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendring with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 795
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 guaw
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 805
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounc'd.
But shou, O Father! I forewarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heav'nly, 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 smooch.

VOL.!

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 Heav'n, and joys Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change Befall’n us unforeseen, unthought of ; know 821 I come no enemy, but to set free From out this dark and dismal house of pain Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly host Of spi'rits that in our just pretences arm’d 825 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 Th’unfounded deep, and through the void immense To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now 831 Created vast and round, a place of bliss In the purlieus of Heav'n, and therein placid A race of upstart creatures, to supply Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov’d, Lest Heav'n surcharg’d with potent multitude 836 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 Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 811 Wing silently the buxom air, imbalm'd With odors; there ye shall be fed and fill'd Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey. He ceas’d, for both scem’d highly pleas’d, and Death

845

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