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Sin His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw unlocks Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced Hell-gate 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'ermatched 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, Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly born- 860 Here in perpetual agony and pain, With terrors and with clamours compassed round Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed? Thou art my father, thou my author, thou My being gav'st me; whom should I obey But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me

soon

To that new world of light and bliss, among
The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end.' 870
Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,
Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers
Could once have moved; then in the key-hole

turns

The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy. iron or solid rock with ease

Unfastens. On a sudden open fly,
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut
Excelled her power:
: the gates wide open
That with extended wings a bannered host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass

stood,

The

880 secrets of the hoary Deep

through

With horse and chariots ranked in loose array;
So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in sudden view appear 890
The secrets of the hoary Deep-a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,

Without dimension; where length, breadth, and

highth,

And time, and place, are lost; where eldest
Night

And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold
Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise

Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions
fierce,

Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms: they around the flag 900
Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or

slow,

Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands
Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise
Their lighter wings. To whom these most

adhere

The He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits, quest And by decision more embroils the fray perilous By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter, Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss, 910 The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire, But all these in their pregnant causes mixed Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight, Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain His dark materials to create more worldsInto this wild Abyss the wary Fiend Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while, Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed 920 With noises loud and ruinous (to compare Great things with small) than when Bellona

storms

With all her battering engines, bent to rase
Some capital city; or less than if this frame
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn

The steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke
Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a

league,

As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity. All unawares,
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he drops
Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour
Down had been falling, had not, by ill chance,
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft.
That fury stayed-

930

Chaos and Night

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
939 The
Nor good dry land-nigh foundered, on he fares, throne of
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a gryphon through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend
O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense,
or rare,

With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.
At length a universal hubbub wild

951

Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence. Thither he plies
Undaunted, to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bordering on light; when straight behold the

throne

Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful Deep!

throned

960

With him en

Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance,
And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan, turning boldly, thus :-"
Powers

-"Ye

Satan And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss,
and Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy
Chaos
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but, by constraint
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,
What readiest path leads where your gloomy

bounds

970

Confine with Heaven; or, if some other place,
From your dominion won, the Ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive

I travel this profound. Direct my course: 980
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expelled, reduce
To her original darkness and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night.
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!'

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
Answered:-'I know thee, stranger, who thou

art

991

That mighty leading Angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven's King, though
overthrown.

I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted Deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates
Poured out by millions her victorious bands,
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve

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