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Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,

And in embraces forcible and foul

Engendering with me, of that rape begot

These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 795
Surround me, as thou saw'st - hourly conceived
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite

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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 terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before mine eyes in opposition sits

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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,
Though tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,
Save He who reigns above, none can resist.'

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She finished; and the subtle Fiend his lore 815 Soon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth: :

Dear daughter

sire,

since thou claim'st me for thy

Satan per

suades Sin

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 and Death to

change

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allow his exit.

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 armed,
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

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The unfounded Deep, and through the void im

mense

To search, with wandering 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 Heaven; and, therein placed,

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A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, - though more removed,
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught
Than this more secret, now designed, 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
Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed
With odors. There ye shall be fed and filled
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey.'

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He ceased, for both seemed highly pleased, and
Death

Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear

His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw
Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced

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His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:
The key of this infernal Pit, by due

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And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King, Sin owns her
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 -
Here, in perpetual agony and pain,

855

860

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With terrors and with clamors 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.'

Thus saying, from her side the fatal key, (Sad instrument of all our woe she took;

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And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high updrew,
Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers 875
Could once have moved; then in the keyhole 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

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allegiance to the author of her being.

She opens the

gates of Hell.

The ocean of
Chaos.

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Of Erebus. She opened; but to shut
Excelled her power. The gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a bannered host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass
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
The secrets of the hoary Deep — a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,

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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.

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For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions

fierce,

Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring

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Their embryon atoms; they around the flag
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 905
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment; Chaos umpire sits,

And by decision more embroils the fray
By which he reigns; next him high arbiter,
Chance governs all.

Into this wild Abyss —

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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 worlds,
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend

Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith

915 The terrors of the Abyss.

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 raze
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.

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At last his sail-broad vans

He spreads 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,

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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, 935

The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,
Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him

Satan's toilsome and perilous

journey.

As many miles aloft.

That fury stayed

Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea

Nor good dry land- nigh foundered on he fares

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