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Of Erebus. She open'd, but to shut

Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth Excell'd her pow'r; the gates wide open stood, Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd That with extended wings a banner'd host,

The guarded gold: so eagerly the Fiend [rare, Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through, O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or With horse and chariots rank'd in loose


With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way, So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies: Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. At length an universal hubbub wild Before their eyes in sudden view appear

Of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd, The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark

Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear Illimitable ocean, without bound, [height, With loudest vehemence: thither he plies, Without dimension, where length, breadth, and Undaunted, to meet there whatever power And time, and place, are lost ; where eldest Night Or spirit of the nethermost abyss And Chaos, ancestor of Nature, hold

Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise

Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.

Bord'ring on light; when strait behold the throne For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce, Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread Strive he for mast'ry, and to battle bring

Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthron'd Their embryon atoms; they around the flag Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, Of each his faction, in their several clans,

The consort of his reign; and by them stood Light-arm’d or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow, Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the sands

Of Demogorgon: Rumour next, and Chance, Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,

And Tumult and Confusion, all embroil'd, Levied to side with warring winds, and poise And Discord, with a thousand various mouths. Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere, T' whom Satan turning boldly, thus : Ye powers He rules a moment; Chaos umpire sits,

And Spirits of this nethermost abyss, And by decision more embroils the fray

Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy, By which he reigns : next him high arbiter With purpose to explore or to disturb Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss

The secrets of your realm, but by constraint The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, Wand'ring this darksome desart, as my way Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,

Lies through your spacious empire up to light, But all these in their pregnant causes mix'd

Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,

What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain

Confine with Heav'n; or if some other place, His dark materials to create new worlds :

From your dominion won, th' ethereal King
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend

Possesses lately, thither to arrive
Stood on the brink of Hell, and look'd a while, I travel this profound; direct my course ;
Pond'ring his voyage; for no narrow frith

Directed, no mean recompense it brings
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal'd To your behoof, if I that region lost,
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare

All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce Great things with small) than when Bellona storms To her original darkness and your sway, With all her battering engines, bent to raze

(Which is my present journey) and once more Some capital city; or less than if this frame Erect the standard there of ancient Night; Of heaven were falling, and these elements

Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge. In mutiny had from her axle torn

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, The stedfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans With fault'ring speech, and visage incompos’d, He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke Answer'd. I know thee, stranger, who thou art, Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league, That mighty leading Angel, who of late (thrown. As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

Made head against Heaven's King, though over-
Audacious ; but that seat soon failing, meets I saw and heard, for such a numerous host
A vast vacuity: all unawares,

Fled not in silence through the frighted deep
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour

Confusion worse confounded; and Heav'n gates
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud, Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Instinct 'with fire and nitre, hurried him

Keep residence ; if all I can will serve As many miles aloft: that fury stay'd,

That little which is left so to defend, Quench'd in a boggy syrtis, neither sea

Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils Nor good dry land, nigh founder'd, on he fares, Weak’ning the sceptre of old Night; first Hell Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath ; Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail. Now lately Heav'n and Earth, another world, As when a gryphon through the wilderness

Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale, To that side Heav'n from whence your legions fell :

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If that way be your walk, you have not far: The rising world of waters dark and deep,
So much the nearer danger; go and speed ;

Won from the void and formless infinite.
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain.

Thee I revisit now with bolder wing, He ceas'd; and Satan stay'd not to reply; Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd But glad that now his sea should find a shore,

In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight With fresh alacrity and force renew'd,

Through utter and through middle darkness borne Springs upward like a pyramid of fire

With other notes than to th’Orphean lyre
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Of fighting elements, on all sides round

Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down Environ'd wins his way; harder beset

The dark descent, and up to re-ascend
And more endanger'd than when Argo pass'd Through hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks : And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp ; but thou
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd

Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steer’d. To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So he with difficulty and labour hard

So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, Mov'd on; with difficulty and labour he;

Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more But he once past, soon after when man fell,

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt, Strange alteration ! Sin and death amain

Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way

Thee, Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath, Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf

That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous length, Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget From Hell continued reaching th’ utmost orb Those other two equalld with me in fate, of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse So were I equall'd with them in renown, With easy intercourse pass to and fro

Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides, To tempt or punish mortals, except whom

And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old : God and good angels guard by special grace.

Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move But now, at last, the sacred influence

Harmonious numbers, as the wakeful bird Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid Shoots far into the bosom of dim night

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year A glimmering dawn ; here Nature first begins Seasons return, but not to me returns Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire

Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn, As from her utmost works a broken foe

Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, With tumult less and with less hostile din,

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; That Satan with less toil, and now with ease But cloud instead, and ever-during dark Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light, Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men And like a weather-beaten vessel holds

Cut off, and for the book of Knowledge fair
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn; Presented with a universal blank
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,

Of Nature's works to me expung'd and rais'd,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
Far off th' empyreal Heav'n extended wide So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers With opal tow'rs and battlements adorn'd

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence Of living sapphire, once his native seat ;

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
And fast by hanging in a golden chain

Of things invisible to mortal sight.
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.

Thus they in Heav'n, above the starry sphere,

Their happy hours in joy and hymning spent.

Mean while, upon the firm, opacous globe

Of this round world, whose first convex divides
Hail holy Light, offspring of Heav'n first born,
Or of th' eternal coeternal beam,

The luminous inferior orbs inclos'd
May I express thee, unblam'd? Since God is light, From Chaos, and th' inroad of darkness old,
And never but in unapproached light

Satan alighted walks: a globe far off
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,

It seem'd, now seems a boundless continent Bright effluence of bright essence increate.

Dark, waste, and wild, under the frown of Night Or hear’st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,

Starless expos'd, and ever threat'ning storms Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the sun, Of Chaos blust'ring round, inclement sky; Before the Heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice Save on that side which from the wall of Heaven, Of God, as with a mantle didst invest

Tho' distant far, some small reflection gains



Of glimmering air, less vex'd with tempest loud: And flutter'd into rags, then reliques, beads,
Here walk'd the Fiend at large in spacious field. Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,
As when a vulture, on Imaus bred,

The sport of winds: all these upwhirl'd aloft
Whose snowy ridge the roving Tartar bounds, Fly o'er the backside of the world far off
Dislodging from a region scarce of prey,

Into a limbo large and broad, since call'd To gorge the flesh of lambs or yeanling kids

The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown On hills where flocks are fed, flies tow'rds the springs ong after, now unpeopled and untrod. Of Ganges or Hydaspes, Indian streams;

All this dark globe the Fiend found as he pass’d, But in his way lights on the barren plains

And long he wander'd, till at last a gleam
Of Sericana, where Chineses drive

Of dawning light turn'd thither-ward in haste
With sails and wind their cany waggons light: His travell’d steps: far distant he descries
So on this windy sea of land the Fiend

Ascending by degrees magnificent
Walk'd up and down alone, bent on his prey; Up to the wall of Heav'n a structure high ;
Alone, for other creature in this place

At top whereof, but far more rich, appear'd
Living or lifeless to be found was none;

The work as of a kingly palace gate, None yet, but store hereafter from the earth

With frontispiece of diamond and gold Up hither like aereal vapours flew

Embellish’d; thick with sparkling orient gems Of all ings transitory and vain, when sin

The portal shone, inimitable on earth
With vanity had fill'd the works of men ;

By model, or by shading pencil drawn.
Both all things vain, and all who in vain things The stairs were such as whereon Jacob saw
Built their fond hopes of glory, or lasting fame, Angels ascending and descending, bands
Or happiness in this or th' other life;

Of guardians bright when he from Esau fled
All who have their reward on earth, the fruits To Padan-Aram, in the field of Luz,
Of painful superstition and blind zeal,

Dreaming by night under the open sky,
Nought seeking but the praise of men, here find And waking cry'd, This is the gate of Heaven.
Fit retribution, empty as their deeds ;

Each stair mysteriously was meant, nor stood
All th' unaccomplish'd works of Nature's hand, There always, but drawn up to Heav'n sometimes
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mix’d,

Viewless, and underneath a bright sea flow'd
Dissolv'd on earth, fleet hither, and in vain,

Of jasper, or of liquid pearl, whereon Till final dissolution, wander here,

Who after came from earth, sailing arriv'd, Notin the neighbouring moon,as some have dream'd; Wafted by angels, or flew o'er the lake Those argent fields more likely habitants,

Rapt in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. Translated saints, or middle spirits hold

The stairs were then let down, whether to dare Betwixt th' angelical and human kind.

The fiend by easy ascent, or aggravate
Hither of ill-join'd sons and daughters born

His sad exclusion from the doors of bliss :
First from the ancient world those giants came Direct against which open'd from beneath,
With many a vain exploit, tho' then renown'd: Just o'er the blissful seat of Paradise,
The builders next of Babel on the plain

A passage down to th' earth, a passage wide,
Of Sennaar, and still with vain design

Wider by far than that of after times
New Babels, had they wherewithal, would build : Over mount Sion, and, tho' that were large,
Others came single ; he who, to be deem'd

Over the Promis'd Land, to God so dear,
A god, leapt fondly into Ætna flames,

By which, to visit oft those happy tribes, Empedocles; and he who to enjoy

On high behests his angels to and fro Plato's Elysium, leapt into the sea,

Pass'd frequent, and his eye with choice regard Cleombrotus; and many more too long,

From Paneas, the fount of Jordan's flood
Embryos and idiots, eremites and friars

To Beersaba, where the Holy Land
White, black, and grey, with all their trumpery.. Borders on Egypt and th’ Arabian shore ;
Here pilgrims roam, that stray'd so far to seek So wide the opening seem'd, where bounds were set
In Golgotha him dead, who lives in Heav'n;

To darkness such as bound the ocean wave.
And they who, to be sure of Paradise,

Satan from hence, now on the lower stair Dying put on the weeds of Dominic,

That scal'd by steps of gold to Heaven gate,
Or in Franciscan think to pass disguis’d.

Looks down with wonder at the sudden view
They pass the planets sev'n, and pass the fix'd, Of all this world at once. As when a scout
And that crystalline sphere whose balance weighs Through dark and desart ways with peril gone
The trepidation talk'd, and that first mov'd; All night, at last by break of cheerful dawn
And now Saint Peter at Heav'n's wicket seems Obtains the brow of some high-climbing hill,
To wait them with his keys, and now at foot Which to his eye discovers unaware
Of Heav'n's ascent they lift their feet, when lo The goodly prospect of some foreign land
A violent cross wind from either coast

First seen, or some renown'd metropolis
Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues awry With glist'ring spires and pinnacles adorn'd,
Into the devious air; then might ye see

Which now the rising sun gilds with his beams : Cowls, hoods, and habits, with their wearers tost, Such wonder seiz'd, tho' after Heaven seen,

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The sp'rit malign, but much more envy seiz'd, For sight no obstacle found here, or shade,
At sight of all this world beheld so fair.

But all sunshine; as when his beams at noon
Round he surveys (and well might, where he stood Culminate from th’equator; as they now
So high above the circling canopy

Shot upward still direct, whence no way round Of night's extended shade) from eastern point Shadow from body opaque can fall, and th' air Of Libra to the fleecy star that bears

(No where so clear) sharpen’d his visual ray Andromeda far off Atlantic seas

To objects distant far, whereby he soon Beyond th' horizon; then from pole to pole

Saw within ken a glorious angel stand, He views in breadth, and without longer pause The same whom John saw also in the sun: Downright into the world's first region throws His back was turn'd, but not his brightness hid: His flight precipitant, and winds with ease

Of beaming sunny rays a golden tiar Through the pure marble air his oblique way Circl'd his head, nor less his locks behind Amongst innumerable stars, that shone

Ilustrious on his shoulders, fledge with wings, Stars distant, but nigh hand seem'd other worlds: Lay waving round: on some great charge employ'd Or other worlds they seem'd, or happy isles, He seem'd, or fixed in cogitation deep. Like those Hesperian gardens fam’d of old,

Glad was the spirit impure, as now in hope Fortunate fields, and groves, and flow'ry vales, To find who might direct his wand'ring flight Thrice happy isles, but who dwelt happy there To Paradise, the happy seat of man, He stay'd not to enquire: above them all

His journey's end, and our beginning woe. The golden sun in splendour likest Heaven

But first he casts to change his proper shape, Allur'd his eye: thither his course he bends Which else might work him danger, or delay: Through the calm firmament (but up or down, And now a stripling cherub he appears, By centre, or eccentric, hard to tell,

Not of the prime, yet such as in his face Or longitude) where the great luminary

Youth smil'd celestial, and to every limb Aloof the vulgar constellations thick,



diffus'd, so well he feign'd. That from his lordly eye keep distance due, Under a coronet his flowing hair Dispenses light from far; they, as they move In curls on either cheek play'd; wings he wore Their starry dance in numbers that compute Clamp Of many a colour'd plume, sprinkl'd with gold: Days, months, and years, tow'rds his all-cheering His habit fit for speed succinct, and held Turn swift their various motions, or are turn'd Before his decent steps a silver wend. By bis magnetic beam, that gently warms

He drew not nigh unheard, the angel bright, The universe, and to each inward part

Ere he drew nigh, his radiant visage turn'd, With gentle penetration, though unseen,

Admonish'd by his ear; and straight was known Shoots invisible virtue ev'n to the deep;

Th' archangel Uriel, one of the sev'n So wondrously was set his station bright.

Who in God's presence nearest to his throne, There lands the fiend, a spot like which perhaps Stand ready at command, and are his eyes Astronomer in the sun's lucent orb

That run through all the heav'ns, or down to the Through his glaz'd optic tube yet never saw. Bear his swift errands, over moist and dry, (earth The place he found beyond expression bright, O'er sea and land: him Satan thus accosts: Compar'd with aught on earth, metal or stone, Uriel ! for thou of those sev'n spirits that stand Not all parts like, but all alike inform’d

In sight of God's high throne, gloriously bright, With radiant light, as glowing iron with fire; The first art wont his great authentic will If metal, part seem'd gold, part silver clear; Interpreter through highest Heav'n to bring, If stone, carbuncle most or crysolite,

Where all his sons thy embassy attend: Ruby or topaz, to the twelve that shone

And here art likeliest by supreme decree In Aaron's breast-plate, and a stone besides

Like honour to obtain, and as his eye, Imagin'd rather oft than elsewhere seen,

To visit oft this new creation round; That stone, or like to that, which here below Unspeakable desire to see, and know Philosophers in vain so long have sought,

All these his wondrous works, but chiefly man, In Fain, though by their powerful art they bind His chief delight and favour; him, for whom Volatile Hermes, and call up unbound,

All these his works so wondrous he ordain'd, In various shapes, old Proteus from the sea, Hath brought me from the choirs of Cherubim Drain'd through a limbec to his naked form. Alone thus wandering: brightest Seraph! tell, What wonder then if fields and regions here

In which of all these shining orbs hath man
Breathe forth elixir pure, and rivers run

His fixed seat, or fixed seat hath none,
Potable gold, when with one virtuous touch But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell;
T'arch-chemic sun, so far from us remote,

That I may find him, and with secret gaze,
Produces, with terrestrial humour mix'd,

Or open admiration, him behold Here in the dark so many precious things

On whom the great Creator hath bestow'd Of colour glorious, and effect so rare ?

Worlds, and on whom hath all these graces pour’d; Here matter new to gaze the devil met

That both in him, and all things, as is meet, l'ndazzled : far and wide his eye commands,

The universal Maker we may praise;


Who justly hath driven out his rebel foes

Took leave, and tow'rd the coast of Earth beneath, To deepest Hell; and, to repair that loss,

Down from th' ecliptic, sped with hop'd success, Created this new happy race of men

Throws his steep fight in many an airy wheel;
To serve him better: wise are all his ways !

Nor staid, till on Niphates' top he lights.
So spake the false dissembler unperceiv'd;
For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy (the only evil that walks

Invisible, except to God alone,

O thou that with surpassing glory crown'd, By his permissive will, through Heaven and Earth: Look'st from thy sole dominion, like the God And oft though wisdom wake, suspicion sleeps Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars At wisdom's gate, and to simplicity

Hide their diminish'd heads; to thee I call, Resigns her charge, while goodness thinks no ill But with no friendly voice, and add thy name, Where no ill seems) which now for once beguil'd O Sun, to tell thee how I hate thy beams, Uriel, though regent of the sun, and held

That bring to my remembrance from what state The sharpest-sighted spirit of all in Heav'n: I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere; Who to the fraudulent impostor foul,

Till pride and worse ambition threw me down, In his uprightness answer thus return'd.

Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's matchless King; Fair Angel! thy desire which tends to know Ah wherefore! he deserv'd no such return The works of God, thereby to glorify

From me, whom he created what I was The great work-master, leads to no excess

In that bright eminence, and with his good That reaches blame, but rather merits praise Upbraided none; nor was his service hard. The more it seems excess, that led thee hither What could be less than to afford him praise, From thy empyreal mansion thus alone,

The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, To witness with thine eyes what some perhaps, How due! yet all his good prov'd ill in me, Contented with report, hear only in Heav'n: And wrought but malice; lifted up so high, For wonderful indeed are all his 'works!

I disdain’d subjection, and thought one step higher Pleasant to know, and worthiest to be all

Would set me high’st, and in a mnoment quit Had in remembrance always with delight.

The debt immense of endless gratitude, But, what created mind can comprehend

So burdensome still paying, still to owe, Their number, or the wisdom infinite

Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd, That brought them forth, but hid their causes deep? And understood not that a grateful mind I saw when at his word the formless mass,

By owing owes not, but still pays, at once This world's material mould, came to a heap; Indebted and discharg'd; what burden then? Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar

O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd Stood rul'd, stood vast infinitude confin'd:

Me some inferior Angel, I had stood Till at his second bidding darkness fled,

Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd Light shone, and order from disorder sprung. Ambition. Yet, why not? some other power Swift to their several quarters hasted then

As great might have aspir’d, and me, though mean, The cumbrous elements, earth, flood, air, fire, Drawn to his part; but other pow'rs as great And this ethereal quintessence of Heav'n

Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within Flew upward, spirited with various forms,

Or from without, to all temptations arm’d. That rollid orbicular, and turn'd to stars,

Hadst thou the same free will and pow'r to stand ?
Numberless, as thou seest, and how they move; Thou hadst; whom hast thou then, or what, t'accuse,
Each had his place appointed, each his course; But Heav'n's free love dealt equally to all ?
The rest in circuit walls this universe.

Be then his love accurs’d, since love or hate,
Look downward on that globe whose hither side To me alike, it deals eternal woe.
With light from hence, tho' but reflected, shines : Nay curs'd be thou; since against his thy will
That place is earth, the seat of man; that light Chose freely what it now so justly rues.
His day, which else, as th' other hemisphere, Me miserable! which way shall I dy
Night would invade; but there the neighbouring Infinite wrath, and infinite despair?
(So call that opposite fair star) her aid (moon Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
Timely interposes, and her monthly round

And in the lowest deep a lower deep
Still ending, still renewing through mid Heav'n, Still threat'ning to devour me opens wide,
With borrow'd light her countenance triform To which the hell I suffer seems a Heav'n.
Hence fills, and empties, to enlighten th' Earth, O then at last relent: is there no place
And in her pale dominion checks the night. Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
That spot to which I point is Paradise,

None left but by submission ; aud that word
Adam's abode, those lofty shades his bow's; Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame
Thy way thou can’st not miss, me mine requires. Among the Sp'rits beneath, whom I seduc'd

Thus said, he turn'd; and Satan bowing low With other promises and other vaunts (As to superior spirits is wont in Heav'n,

Than to submit, boasting I could subdue Where honour due and reverence none neglects) Th’ Omnipotent. Ay me, they little know


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