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Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, - And eaten of the tree concerning which

I charged thee saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof,
Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life;
Thorns, also, and thistles, it shall bring thee forth,
Unbid, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
Out of the earth wast taken, know thy birth,
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.

So judged he man, both Judge and Saviour sent,
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
Removed far off. Then pitying how they stood
Before him, naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdained not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
As when he washed his servants' feet; so now
As Father of his family, he clad

Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid,
And thought not much to clothe his enemies.
Nor he their outward only with the skins
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness
Arraying, covered from his Father's sight.
To Him, with swift ascent, he up returned,
Into his blissful bosom reassumed,

In glory, as of old; to Him, appeased,


though all-knowing, what had passed with Man Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinned and judged on earth,

Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,

In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through,

Sin opening; who thus now to Death began :
O son, why sit we hear, each other viewing
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
In other worlds, and happier seat provides
For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
But that success attends him; if mishap,
Ere this he had returned, with fury driven
By his avengers; since no place like this
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
Wings growing, and dominion given me large,
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
With secret amity, things of like kind,
By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
Inseparable, must with me along,

For Death from Sin no power can separate.
But lest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return, perhaps, over this gulf
Impassable, impervious, let us try

Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine
Not unagreeable, to found a path

Over this main from Hell to that new World,
Where Satan now prevails; a monument

Of merit high to all the infernal host,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead,
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn

By this new-felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meagre shadow answered soon:

Go, whither fate, and inclination strong,

Lead thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err

The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw

Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste

The savor of death from all things there that live;

Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell
Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
Against the day of battle, to a field,
Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured
With scent of living carcases designed

For death the following day, in bloody fight;

So scented the grim feature, and upturned
His nostril wide into the murky air,

Sagacious of his quarry from so far.

Then both, from out Hell gates, into the waste

Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,

Flew diverse; and with power—their power was great— Hovering upon the waters, what they met,

Solid or slimy, as in raging sea

Tossed up and down, together crowded drove,

From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell:

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse

Upon the Cronian sea, together drive

Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil,

Death, with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fixed as firm
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move;
And with asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach
They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on,
Over the foaming Deep, high-arched, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immovable of this now fenseless world,
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.


So, if great things to small may be compared,
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined,

And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,

Over the vexed abyss, following the track
Of Satan to the self-same place where he
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare

Of this round world. With pins of adamant
And chains they made all fast; too fast they made
And durable! And now in little space

The confines met of empyrean Heaven
And of this world; and, on the left hand Hell
With long reach interposed; three several ways
In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to earth they had descried,
To Paradise first tending; when, behold!
Satan, in likeness of an angel bright,
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose,
Disguised he came; but those his children dear
Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise.
He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk
Into the wood fast by; and changing shape
To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act,

By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures. But when he saw descend

The Son of God to judge them, terrified
He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun
The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned

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