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In th'Artic fky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes peftilence and war. Each at the head
Levell'd his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend, and fuch a frown
Each caft at th'other, as when two black clouds
With heav'n's artill'ry fraught, came rattling on
Over the Cafpian, then ftand front to front
Hov'ring a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air :

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So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell
Grew darker at their frown, fo matcht they food &
For never but once more was either like

To meet fo great a foe: and how great deeds
Had been atchiev'd, whereof all hell had rung,
Had not the fnaky forceress that fat

Faft by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key,
Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.
O Father, what intends thy hand, the cry'd,
Against thy only fon? what fury, O son,
Poffeffes thee to bend that mortal dart

Against thy father's head? and know’st for whom ;
For him who fits above and laughs the while
At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute
Whate're his wrath, which he calls juftice, bids,
His wrath which one day will deftroy ye both.
She spake, and at her words the hellish peft
Forebore, then these to her Satan réturn'd:
So ftrange thy outery, and thy words so strange
Thou interpofeft, that my fudden händ
Prevented spares to tell thee yet by deeds
What it intends; till first I know of thee,

What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why
In this infernal vale firft met thou call'ft

Me father, and that fantasm, call'ft my fon?
I know thee not, nor ever faw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.
T'whom thus the portrefs of hell-gate reply'd;
Haft thou forgot me then? and do I seem
Now in thine eye fo foul? once deem'd so fair
In heav'n, when at th'assembly, and in fight
Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd
In bold confpiracy against heav'n's king,
All on a fudden miserable pain

Surpriz'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swumm
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
Threw forth, till on the left fide op'ning wide,
Likeft to thee in shape and count'nance bright,
Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm'd
Out of thy head I fprung: amazement seiz'd
All the host of heav'n; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a fign
Portentous held me
e; but familiar grown
I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won
The most averfe, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam'ft enamour'd, and fuch joy thou took'st
With me in fecret, that my womb conceiv'd
A growing burden. Mean while war arofe,
And fields were fought in heav'n; wherein remain'd
(For what could elfe) to our almighty foe
Clear victory, to our part lofs and rout
Through all the Empyrean: 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 giv'n, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without my op'ning. Penfive here I fat
Alone, but long I fat not, till my womb
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.
At laft this odious offspring whom thou seeft
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 enemie

Forth iffu'd, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy: I filed, and cry'd out Death;
Hell trembl'd at the hideous name, and figh'd
From all her caves, and back refounded Death.
I fied, but he pursu'd (though more, it seems,
Inflam'd with luft than rage) and swifter far,
Me overtook his mother all dismaid,

And in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendring with me, of that rape begot
Thefe yelling monsters that with ceaseless cry
Surround me, as thou faw'ft, hourly conceiv'd
And hourly born, with forrow infinite

To me, for when they lift into the womb

That bred them they return, and howle and gnaw
My bowels, their repaft; then bursting forth
Afresh with confcious terrors vex me round,
That reft or intermiffion none I find.

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Before mine eyes in oppofition fits

Grim Death my fon and foe, who fets them on,
And me his parent would full foon devour
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morfel, and his bane,
When ever that shall be ; fo fate pronounc'd.
But thou O father, I forewarn thee, fhun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in thofe bright arms,
Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can refift.

She finish'd, and the futtle fiend his lore

Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus anfwer'd smooth.
Dear daughter, fince thou claim'ft me for thy Sire,
And my fair fon here show'ft me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in heav'n, and joys
Then fweet, now fad to mention, through dire change
Befall'n us unforeseen, unthought of, know
I come no enemie, but to fet free

From out this dark and dismal house of pain,
Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly hoft
Of fpirits that in our just pretences arm'd
Fell with us from on high: from them I go
This uncouth errand fole, and one for all
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
Th'unfounded deep, and through the void immenfe
To search with wandring quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring figns, ere now
Created vaft and round, a place of blifs
In the pourlieues of heav'n, and therein plac't

A race of upstart creatures, to supply

Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd,
Left heav'n furcharg'd with potent multitude
Might hap to move new broils: be this or aught
Than this more secret now defign'd, I haste

To know, and this once known, shall foon return,
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing filently the buxom air, imbalm'd
With odours; there ye fhall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceas'd, for both feem'd highly pleas'd, and Death
Grinn'd horrible a gastly smile, to hear

His famine fhould be fill'd, and bleft his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoyc'd
His mother bad, and thus befpake her Sire.
The key of this infernal pit by due,
And by command of heav'n's all-powerful king
I keep, by him forbidden to unlock
These adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpofe his dart,
Fearless to be orematcht 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 fit in hateful office here confin'd,
Inhabitant of heav'n, and heav'nly-born,
Here in perpetual agonie and pain,

With terrors and with clamours compast round

* 1ft. and 2d. Edit. wight 3d, and 4th, Edit.

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