High on a Throne of Royal State, which far Outshon the wealth of ORMUS and of IND, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showrs on her Kings BARBARIC Pearl & Gold, Satan exalted sat, by merit rais'd To that bad eminence; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain Warr with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus displaid.
Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heav'n, For since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigor, though opprest and fall'n, I give not Heav'n for lost. From this descent Celestial vertues rising, will appear More glorious and more dread then from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate: Mee though just right, and the fixt Laws of Heav'n Did first create your Leader, next, free choice, With what besides, in Counsel or in Fight, Hath bin achievd of merit, yet this loss Thus farr at least recover'd, hath much more Establisht in a safe unenvied Throne Yeilded with full consent. The happier state In Heav'n, which follows dignity, might draw Envy from each inferior; but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Formost to stand against the Thunderers aime Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? where there is then no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From Faction; for none sure will claim in hell Precedence, none, whose portion is so small Of present pain, that with ambitious mind Will covet more. With this advantage then To union, and firm Faith, and firm accord, More then can be in Heav'n, we now return To claim our just inheritance of old, Surer to prosper then prosperity Could have assur'd us; and by what best way, Whether of open Warr or covert guile, We now debate; who can advise, may speak.
He ceas'd, and next him MOLOC, Scepter'd King Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest Spirit That fought in Heav'n; now fiercer by despair: His trust was with th' Eternal to be deem'd Equal in strength, and rather then be less Car'd not to be at all; with that care lost Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse He reckd not, and these words thereafter spake.
My sentence is for open Warr: Of Wiles, More unexpert, I boast not: them let those Contrive who need, or when they need, not now. For while they sit contriving, shall the rest, Millions that stand in Arms, and longing wait The Signal to ascend, sit lingring here Heav'ns fugitives, and for thir dwelling place Accept this dark opprobrious Den of shame, The Prison of his Tyranny who Reigns By our delay? no, let us rather choose Arm'd with Hell flames and fury all at once O're Heav'ns high Towrs to force resistless way, Turning our Tortures into horrid Arms Against the Torturer; when to meet the noise Of his Almighty Engin he shall hear Infernal Thunder, and for Lightning see Black fire and horror shot with equal rage Among his Angels; and his Throne it self Mixt with TARTAREAN Sulphur, and strange fire, His own invented Torments. But perhaps The way seems difficult and steep to scale With upright wing against a higher foe. Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench Of that forgetful Lake benumme not still, That in our proper motion we ascend Up to our native seat: descent and fall To us is adverse. Who but felt of late When the fierce Foe hung on our brok'n Rear Insulting, and pursu'd us through the Deep, With what compulsion and laborious flight We sunk thus low? Th' ascent is easie then; Th' event is fear'd; should we again provoke Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find To our destruction: if there be in Hell Fear to be worse destroy'd: what can be worse Then to dwell here, driv'n out from bliss, condemn'd In this abhorred deep to utter woe; Where pain of unextinguishable fire Must exercise us without hope of end The Vassals of his anger, when the Scourge Inexorably, and the torturing houre Calls us to Penance? More destroy'd then thus We should be quite abolisht and expire. What fear we then? what doubt we to incense His utmost ire? which to the highth enrag'd, Will either quite consume us, and reduce To nothing this essential, happier farr Then miserable to have eternal being: Or if our substance be indeed Divine, And cannot cease to be, we are at worst On this side nothing; and by proof we feel Our power sufficient to disturb his Heav'n, And with perpetual inrodes to Allarme, Though inaccessible, his fatal Throne: Which if not Victory is yet Revenge.
He ended frowning, and his look denounc'd Desperate revenge, and Battel dangerous To less then Gods. On th' other side up rose BELIAL, in act more graceful and humane; A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemd For dignity compos'd and high exploit: But all was false and hollow; though his Tongue Dropt Manna, and could make the worse appear The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest Counsels: for his thoughts were low; To vice industrious, but to Nobler deeds Timorous and slothful: yet he pleas'd the eare, And with perswasive accent thus began.
I should be much for open Warr, O Peers, As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd Main reason to perswade immediate Warr, Did not disswade me most, and seem to cast Ominous conjecture on the whole success: When he who most excels in fact of Arms, In what he counsels and in what excels Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair And utter dissolution, as the scope Of all his aim, after some dire revenge. First, what Revenge? the Towrs of Heav'n are fill'd With Armed watch, that render all access Impregnable; oft on the bordering Deep Encamp thir Legions, or with obscure wing Scout farr and wide into the Realm of night, Scorning surprize. Or could we break our way By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise With blackest Insurrection, to confound Heav'ns purest Light, yet our great Enemie All incorruptible would on his Throne Sit unpolluted, and th' Ethereal mould Incapable of stain would soon expel Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire Victorious. Thus repuls'd, our final hope Is flat despair: we must exasperate Th' Almighty Victor to spend all his rage, And that must end us, that must be our cure, To be no more; sad cure; for who would loose, Though full of pain, this intellectual being, Those thoughts that wander through Eternity, To perish rather, swallowd up and lost In the wide womb of uncreated night, Devoid of sense and motion? and who knows, Let this be good, whether our angry Foe Can give it, or will ever? how he can Is doubtful; that he never will is sure. Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire, Belike through impotence, or unaware, To give his Enemies thir wish, and end Them in his anger, whom his anger saves To punish endless? wherefore cease we then? Say they who counsel Warr, we are decreed, Reserv'd and destin'd to Eternal woe; Whatever doing, what can we suffer more, What can we suffer worse? is this then worst, Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in Arms? What when we fled amain, pursu'd and strook With Heav'ns afflicting Thunder, and besought The Deep to shelter us? this Hell then seem'd A refuge from those wounds: or when we lay Chain'd on the burning Lake? that sure was worse. What if the breath that kindl'd those grim fires Awak'd should blow them into sevenfold rage And plunge us in the Flames? or from above Should intermitted vengeance Arme again His red right hand to plague us? what if all Her stores were op'n'd, and this Firmament Of Hell should spout her Cataracts of Fire, Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall One day upon our heads; while we perhaps Designing or exhorting glorious Warr, Caught in a fierie Tempest shall be hurl'd Each on his rock transfixt, the sport and prey Of racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk Under yon boyling Ocean, wrapt in Chains; There to converse with everlasting groans, Unrespited, unpitied, unrepreevd, Ages of hopeless end; this would be worse. Warr therefore, open or conceal'd, alike My voice disswades; for what can force or guile With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye Views all things at one view? he from heav'ns highth All these our motions vain, sees and derides; Not more Almighty to resist our might Then wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles. Shall we then live thus vile, the race of Heav'n Thus trampl'd, thus expell'd to suffer here Chains & these Torments? better these then worse By my advice; since fate inevitable Subdues us, and Omnipotent Decree, The Victors will. To suffer, as to doe, Our strength is equal, nor the Law unjust That so ordains: this was at first resolv'd, If we were wise, against so great a foe Contending, and so doubtful what might fall. I laugh, when those who at the Spear are bold And vent'rous, if that fail them, shrink and fear What yet they know must follow, to endure Exile, or ignominy, or bonds, or pain, The sentence of thir Conquerour: This is now Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear, Our Supream Foe in time may much remit His anger, and perhaps thus farr remov'd Not mind us not offending, satisfi'd With what is punish't; whence these raging fires Will slack'n, if his breath stir not thir flames. Our purer essence then will overcome Thir noxious vapour, or enur'd not feel, Or chang'd at length, and to the place conformd In temper and in nature, will receive Familiar the fierce heat, and void of pain; This horror will grow milde, this darkness light, Besides what hope the never-ending flight Of future days may bring, what chance, what change Worth waiting, since our present lot appeers For happy though but ill, for ill not worst, If we procure not to our selves more woe.
Thus BELIAL with words cloath'd in reasons garb Counsel'd ignoble ease, and peaceful sloath, Not peace: and after him thus MAMMON spake.
Either to disinthrone the King of Heav'n We warr, if warr be best, or to regain Our own right lost: him to unthrone we then May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yeild To fickle Chance, and CHAOS judge the strife: The former vain to hope argues as vain The latter: for what place can be for us Within Heav'ns bound, unless Heav'ns Lord supream We overpower? Suppose he should relent And publish Grace to all, on promise made Of new Subjection; with what eyes could we Stand in his presence humble, and receive Strict Laws impos'd, to celebrate his Throne With warbl'd Hymns, and to his Godhead sing Forc't Halleluiah's; while he Lordly sits Our envied Sovran, and his Altar breathes Ambrosial Odours and Ambrosial Flowers, Our servile offerings. This must be our task In Heav'n, this our delight; how wearisom Eternity so spent in worship paid To whom we hate. Let us not then pursue By force impossible, by leave obtain'd Unacceptable, though in Heav'n, our state Of splendid vassalage, but rather seek Our own good from our selves, and from our own Live to our selves, though in this vast recess, Free, and to none accountable, preferring Hard liberty before the easie yoke Of servile Pomp. Our greatness will appear Then most conspicuous, when great things of small, Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse We can create, and in what place so e're Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain Through labour and endurance. This deep world Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst Thick clouds and dark doth Heav'ns all-ruling Sire Choose to reside, his Glory unobscur'd, And with the Majesty of darkness round Covers his Throne; from whence deep thunders roar Must'ring thir rage, and Heav'n resembles Hell? As he our Darkness, cannot we his Light Imitate when we please? This Desart soile Wants not her hidden lustre, Gemms and Gold; Nor want we skill or art, from whence to raise Magnificence; and what can Heav'n shew more? Our torments also may in length of time Become our Elements, these piercing Fires As soft as now severe, our temper chang'd Into their temper; which must needs remove The sensible of pain. All things invite To peaceful Counsels, and the settl'd State Of order, how in safety best we may Compose our present evils, with regard Of what we are and where, dismissing quite All thoughts of Warr: ye have what I advise.
He scarce had finisht, when such murmur filld Th' Assembly, as when hollow Rocks retain The sound of blustring winds, which all night long Had rous'd the Sea, now with hoarse cadence lull Sea-faring men orewatcht, whose Bark by chance Or Pinnace anchors in a craggy Bay After the Tempest: Such applause was heard As MAMMON ended, and his Sentence pleas'd, Advising peace: for such another Field They dreaded worse then Hell: so much the fear Of Thunder and the Sword of MICHAEL Wrought still within them; and no less desire To found this nether Empire, which might rise By pollicy, and long process of time, In emulation opposite to Heav'n. Which when BEELZEBUB perceiv'd, then whom, SATAN except, none higher sat, with grave Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven Deliberation sat and publick care; And Princely counsel in his face yet shon, Majestick though in ruin: sage he stood With ATLANTEAN shoulders fit to bear The weight of mightiest Monarchies; his look Drew audience and attention still as Night Or Summers Noon-tide air, while thus he spake.
Thrones and imperial Powers, off-spring of heav'n, Ethereal Vertues; or these Titles now Must we renounce, and changing stile be call'd Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote Inclines, here to continue, and build up here A growing Empire; doubtless; while we dream, And know not that the King of Heav'n hath doom'd This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat Beyond his Potent arm, to live exempt From Heav'ns high jurisdiction, in new League Banded against his Throne, but to remaine In strictest bondage, though thus far remov'd, Under th' inevitable curb, reserv'd His captive multitude: For he, be sure, In highth or depth, still first and last will Reign Sole King, and of his Kingdom loose no part By our revolt, but over Hell extend His Empire, and with Iron Scepter rule Us here, as with his Golden those in Heav'n. What sit we then projecting Peace and Warr? Warr hath determin'd us, and foild with loss Irreparable; tearms of peace yet none Voutsaf't or sought; for what peace will be giv'n To us enslav'd, but custody severe, And stripes, and arbitrary punishment Inflicted? and what peace can we return, But to our power hostility and hate, Untam'd reluctance, and revenge though slow, Yet ever plotting how the Conquerour least May reap his conquest, and may least rejoyce In doing what we most in suffering feel? Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need With dangerous expedition to invade Heav'n, whose high walls fear no assault or Siege, Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find Some easier enterprize? There is a place (If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav'n Err not) another World, the happy seat Of som new Race call'd MAN, about this time To be created like to us, though less In power and excellence, but favour'd more Of him who rules above; so was his will Pronounc'd among the Gods, and by an Oath, That shook Heav'ns whol circumference, confirm'd. Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn What creatures there inhabit, of what mould, Or substance, how endu'd, and what thir Power, And where thir weakness, how attempted best, By force or suttlety: Though Heav'n be shut, And Heav'ns high Arbitrator sit secure In his own strength, this place may lye expos'd The utmost border of his Kingdom, left To their defence who hold it: here perhaps Som advantagious act may be achiev'd By sudden onset, either with Hell fire To waste his whole Creation, or possess All as our own, and drive as we were driven, The punie habitants, or if not drive, Seduce them to our Party, that thir God May prove thir foe, and with repenting hand Abolish his own works. This would surpass Common revenge, and interrupt his joy In our Confusion, and our Joy upraise In his disturbance; when his darling Sons Hurl'd headlong to partake with us, shall curse Thir frail Originals, and faded bliss, Faded so soon. Advise if this be worth Attempting, or to sit in darkness here Hatching vain Empires. Thus BEELZEBUB Pleaded his devilish Counsel, first devis'd By SATAN, and in part propos'd: for whence, But from the Author of all ill could Spring So deep a malice, to confound the race Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell To mingle and involve, done all to spite The great Creatour? But thir spite still serves His glory to augment. The bold design Pleas'd highly those infernal States, and joy Sparkl'd in all thir eyes; with full assent They vote: whereat his speech he thus renews.
Well have ye judg'd, well ended long debate, Synod of Gods, and like to what ye are, Great things resolv'd; which from the lowest deep Will once more lift us up, in spight of Fate, Neerer our ancient Seat; perhaps in view Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring Arms And opportune excursion we may chance Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some milde Zone Dwell not unvisited of Heav'ns fair Light Secure, and at the brightning Orient beam Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious Air, To heal the scarr of these corrosive Fires Shall breath her balme. But first whom shall we send In search of this new world, whom shall we find Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandring feet The dark unbottom'd infinite Abyss And through the palpable obscure find out His uncouth way, or spread his aerie flight Upborn with indefatigable wings Over the vast abrupt, ere he arrive The happy Ile; what strength, what art can then Suffice, or what evasion bear him safe Through the strict Senteries and Stations thick Of Angels watching round? Here he had need All circumspection, and we now no less Choice in our suffrage; for on whom we send, The weight of all and our last hope relies.
This said, he sat; and expectation held His look suspence, awaiting who appeer'd To second, or oppose, or undertake The perilous attempt: but all sat mute, Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; & each In others count'nance red his own dismay Astonisht: none among the choice and prime Of those Heav'n-warring Champions could be found So hardie as to proffer or accept Alone the dreadful voyage; till at last SATAN, whom now transcendent glory rais'd Above his fellows, with Monarchal pride Conscious of highest worth, unmov'd thus spake.
O Progeny of Heav'n, Empyreal Thrones, With reason hath deep silence and demurr Seis'd us, though undismaid: long is the way And hard, that out of Hell leads up to Light; Our prison strong, this huge convex of Fire, Outrageous to devour, immures us round Ninefold, and gates of burning Adamant Barr'd over us prohibit all egress. These past, if any pass, the void profound Of unessential Night receives him next Wide gaping, and with utter loss of being Threatens him, plung'd in that abortive gulf. If thence he scape into what ever world, Or unknown Region, what remains him less Then unknown dangers and as hard escape. But I should ill become this Throne, O Peers, And this Imperial Sov'ranty, adorn'd With splendor, arm'd with power, if aught propos'd And judg'd of public moment, in the shape Of difficulty or danger could deterre Me from attempting. Wherefore do I assume These Royalties, and not refuse to Reign, Refusing to accept as great a share Of hazard as of honour, due alike To him who Reigns, and so much to him due Of hazard more, as he above the rest High honourd sits? Go therfore mighty powers, Terror of Heav'n, though fall'n; intend at home, While here shall be our home, what best may ease The present misery, and render Hell More tollerable; if there be cure or charm To respite or deceive, or slack the pain Of this ill Mansion: intermit no watch Against a wakeful Foe, while I abroad Through all the coasts of dark destruction seek Deliverance for us all: this enterprize None shall partake with me. Thus saying rose The Monarch, and prevented all reply, Prudent, least from his resolution rais'd Others among the chief might offer now (Certain to be refus'd) what erst they feard; And so refus'd might in opinion stand His rivals, winning cheap the high repute Which he through hazard huge must earn. But they Dreaded not more th' adventure then his voice Forbidding; and at once with him they rose; Thir rising all at once was as the sound Of Thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend With awful reverence prone; and as a God Extoll him equal to the highest in Heav'n: Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd, That for the general safety he despis'd His own: for neither do the Spirits damn'd Loose all thir vertue; least bad men should boast Thir specious deeds on earth, which glory excites, Or close ambition varnisht o're with zeal. Thus they thir doubtful consultations dark Ended rejoycing in thir matchless Chief: As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds Ascending, while the North wind sleeps, o'respread Heav'ns chearful face, the lowring Element Scowls ore the dark'nd lantskip Snow, or showre; If chance the radiant Sun with farewell sweet Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive, The birds thir notes renew, and bleating herds Attest thir joy, that hill and valley rings. O shame to men! Devil with Devil damn'd Firm concord holds, men onely disagree Of Creatures rational, though under hope Of heavenly Grace: and God proclaiming peace, Yet live in hatred, enmitie, and strife Among themselves, and levie cruel warres, Wasting the Earth, each other to destroy: As if (which might induce us to accord) Man had not hellish foes anow besides, That day and night for his destruction waite.
The STYGIAN Councel thus dissolv'd; and forth In order came the grand infernal Peers, Midst came thir mighty Paramount, and seemd Alone th' Antagonist of Heav'n, nor less Then Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream, And God-like imitated State; him round A Globe of fierie Seraphim inclos'd With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms. Then of thir Session ended they bid cry With Trumpets regal sound the great result: Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim Put to thir mouths the sounding Alchymie By Haralds voice explain'd: the hollow Abyss Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell With deafning shout, return'd them loud acclaim. Thence more at ease thir minds and somwhat rais'd By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers Disband, and wandring, each his several way Pursues, as inclination or sad choice Leads him perplext, where he may likeliest find Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain The irksome hours, till his great Chief return. Part on the Plain, or in the Air sublime Upon the wing, or in swift race contend, As at th' Olympian Games or PYTHIAN fields; Part curb thir fierie Steeds, or shun the Goal With rapid wheels, or fronted Brigads form. As when to warn proud Cities warr appears Wag'd in the troubl'd Skie, and Armies rush To Battel in the Clouds, before each Van Pric forth the Aerie Knights, and couch thir spears Till thickest Legions close; with feats of Arms From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns. Others with vast TYPHOEAN rage more fell Rend up both Rocks and Hills, and ride the Air In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wilde uproar. As when ALCIDES from OEALIA Crown'd With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore Through pain up by the roots THESSALIAN Pines, And LICHAS from the top of OETA threw Into th' EUBOIC Sea. Others more milde, Retreated in a silent valley, sing With notes Angelical to many a Harp Thir own Heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of Battel; and complain that Fate Free Vertue should enthrall to Force or Chance. Thir song was partial, but the harmony (What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet (For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense,) Others apart sat on a Hill retir'd, In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate, Fixt Fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute, And found no end, in wandring mazes lost. Of good and evil much they argu'd then, Of happiness and final misery, Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame, Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie: Yet with a pleasing sorcerie could charm Pain for a while or anguish, and excite Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured brest With stubborn patience as with triple steel. Another part in Squadrons and gross Bands, On bold adventure to discover wide That dismal world, if any Clime perhaps Might yeild them easier habitation, bend Four ways thir flying March, along the Banks Of four infernal Rivers that disgorge Into the burning Lake thir baleful streams; Abhorred STYX the flood of deadly hate, Sad ACHERON of sorrow, black and deep; COCYTUS, nam'd of lamentation loud Heard on the ruful stream; fierce PHLEGETON Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage. Farr off from these a slow and silent stream, LETHE the River of Oblivion roules Her watrie Labyrinth, whereof who drinks, Forthwith his former state and being forgets, Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain. Beyond this flood a frozen Continent Lies dark and wilde, beat with perpetual storms Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice, A gulf profound as that SERBONIAN Bog Betwixt DAMIATA and mount CASIUS old, Where Armies whole have sunk: the parching Air Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of Fire. Thither by harpy-footed Furies hail'd, At certain revolutions all the damn'd Are brought: and feel by turns the bitter change Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce, From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice Thir soft Ethereal warmth, and there to pine Immovable, infixt, and frozen round, Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire. They ferry over this LETHEAN Sound Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment, And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, All in one moment, and so neer the brink; But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt MEDUSA with GORGONIAN terror guards The Ford, and of it self the water flies All taste of living wight, as once it fled The lip of TANTALUS. Thus roving on In confus'd march forlorn, th' adventrous Bands With shuddring horror pale, and eyes agast View'd first thir lamentable lot, and found No rest: through many a dark and drearie Vaile They pass'd, and many a Region dolorous, O're many a Frozen, many a Fierie Alpe, Rocks, Caves, Lakes, Fens, Bogs, Dens, and shades of death, A Universe of death, which God by curse Created evil, for evil only good, Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds, Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, Abominable, inutterable, and worse Then Fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd, GORGONS and HYDRA'S, and CHIMERA'S dire.
Mean while the Adversary of God and Man, SATAN with thoughts inflam'd of highest design, Puts on swift wings, and toward the Gates of Hell Explores his solitary flight; som times He scours the right hand coast, som times the left, Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soares Up to the fiery concave touring high. As when farr off at Sea a Fleet descri'd Hangs in the Clouds, by AEQUINOCTIAL Winds Close sailing from BENGALA, or the Iles Of TERNATE and TIDORE, whence Merchants bring Thir spicie Drugs: they on the trading Flood Through the wide ETHIOPIAN to the Cape Ply stemming nightly toward the Pole. So seem'd Farr off the flying Fiend: at last appeer Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid Roof, And thrice threefold the Gates; three folds were Brass Three Iron, three of Adamantine Rock, Impenitrable, impal'd with circling fire, Yet unconsum'd. Before the Gates there sat On either side a formidable shape; The one seem'd Woman to the waste, and fair, But ended foul in many a scaly fould Voluminous and vast, a Serpent arm'd With mortal sting: about her middle round A cry of Hell Hounds never ceasing bark'd With wide CERBEREAN mouths full loud, and rung A hideous Peal: yet, when they list, would creep, If aught disturb'd thir noyse, into her woomb, And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd Within unseen. Farr less abhorrd then these Vex'd SCYLLA bathing in the Sea that parts CALABRIA from the hoarce TRINACRIAN shore: Nor uglier follow the Night-Hag, when call'd In secret, riding through the Air she comes Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance With LAPLAND Witches, while the labouring Moon Eclipses at thir charms. The other shape, If shape it might be call'd that shape had none Distinguishable in member, joynt, or limb, Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night, Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, And shook a dreadful Dart; what seem'd his head The likeness of a Kingly Crown had on. SATAN was now at hand, and from his seat The Monster moving onward came as fast, With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode. Th' undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd, Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his Son except, Created thing naught vallu'd he nor shun'd; And with disdainful look thus first began.
Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated Front athwart my way To yonder Gates? through them I mean to pass, That be assur'd, without leave askt of thee: Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heav'n.
To whom the Goblin full of wrauth reply'd, Art thou that Traitor Angel, art thou hee, Who first broke peace in Heav'n and Faith, till then Unbrok'n, and in proud rebellious Arms Drew after him the third part of Heav'ns Sons Conjur'd against the highest, for which both Thou And they outcast from God, are here condemn'd To waste Eternal daies in woe and pain? And reck'n'st thou thy self with Spirits of Heav'n, Hell-doomd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn, Where I reign King, and to enrage thee more, Thy King and Lord? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, Least with a whip of Scorpions I pursue Thy lingring, or with one stroke of this Dart Strange horror seise thee, and pangs unfelt before.
So spake the grieslie terrour, and in shape, So speaking and so threatning, grew ten fold More dreadful and deform: on th' other side Incenc't with indignation SATAN stood Unterrifi'd, and like a Comet burn'd, That fires the length of OPHIUCUS huge In th' Artick Sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes Pestilence and Warr. Each at the Head Level'd his deadly aime; thir fatall hands No second stroke intend, and such a frown Each cast at th' other, as when two black Clouds With Heav'ns Artillery fraught, come rattling on Over the CASPIAN, then stand front to front Hov'ring a space, till Winds the signal blow To joyn thir dark Encounter in mid air: So frownd the mighty Combatants, that Hell Grew darker at thir frown, so matcht they stood; For never but once more was either like To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung, Had not the Snakie Sorceress that sat Fast by Hell Gate, and kept the fatal Key, Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.
O Father, what intends thy hand, she cry'd, Against thy only Son? What fury O Son, Possesses thee to bend that mortal Dart Against thy Fathers head? and know'st for whom; For him who sits above and laughs the while At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute What e're his wrath, which he calls Justice, bids, His wrath which one day will destroy ye both.
She spake, and at her words the hellish Pest Forbore, then these to her SATAN return'd:
So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange Thou interposest, that my sudden hand 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 Vaile first met thou call'st Me Father, and that Fantasm call'st my Son? I know thee not, nor ever saw till now Sight more detestable then him and thee.
T' whom thus the Portress of Hell Gate reply'd; Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem Now in thine eye so foul, once deemd so fair In Heav'n, when at th' Assembly, and in sight Of all the Seraphim with thee combin'd In bold conspiracy against Heav'ns King, All on a sudden miserable pain Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzie swumm In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Threw forth, till on the left side op'ning wide, Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright, Then shining heav'nly fair, a Goddess arm'd Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seis'd All th' Host of Heav'n; back they recoild affraid At first, and call'd me SIN, and for a Sign Portentous held me; but familiar grown, I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft Thy self in me thy perfect image viewing Becam'st enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd A growing burden. Mean while Warr arose, And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein remaind (For what could else) to our Almighty Foe Cleer Victory, to our part loss and rout Through all the Empyrean: down they fell Driv'n headlong from the Pitch of Heaven, 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. Pensive here I sat Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. At last this odious offspring whom thou seest 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 issu'd, brandishing his fatal Dart Made to destroy: I fled, and cry'd out DEATH; Hell trembl'd at the hideous Name, and sigh'd From all her Caves, and back resounded DEATH. I fled, but he pursu'd (though more, it seems, Inflam'd with lust then rage) and swifter far, Me overtook his mother all dismaid, And in embraces forcible and foule Ingendring with me, of that rape begot These yelling Monsters that with ceasless cry Surround me, as thou sawst, hourly conceiv'd And hourly born, with sorrow infinite To me, for when they list into the womb That bred them they return, and howle and gnaw My Bowels, their repast; then bursting forth Afresh with conscious terrours vex me round, That rest or intermission none I find. Before mine eyes in opposition sits 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 involvd; and knows that I Should prove a bitter Morsel, and his bane, When ever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd. But thou O Father, I forewarn thee, shun His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope To be invulnerable in those bright Arms, Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint, Save he who reigns above, none can resist.
She finish'd, and the suttle Fiend his lore Soon learnd, now milder, and thus answerd smooth. Dear Daughter, since thou claim'st me for thy Sire, And my fair Son here showst me, the dear pledge Of dalliance had with thee in Heav'n, and joys Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change Befalln us unforeseen, unthought of, know I come no enemie, but to set free From out this dark and dismal house of pain, Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly Host Of Spirits that in our just pretenses arm'd Fell with us from on high: from them I go This uncouth errand sole, and one for all My self expose, with lonely steps to tread Th' unfounded deep, & through the void immense To search with wandring quest a place foretold Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now Created vast and round, a place of bliss 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, Least Heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude Might hap to move new broiles: Be this or aught Then this more secret now design'd, 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, imbalm'd With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill'd Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey. He ceas'd, for both seemd highly pleasd, and Death Grinnd horrible a gastly smile, to hear His famine should be fill'd, and blest his mawe Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoyc'd His mother bad, and thus bespake her Sire.
The key of this infernal Pit by due, And by command of Heav'ns 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'rematcht by living might. But what ow 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 confin'd, Inhabitant of Heav'n, and heav'nlie-born, Here in perpetual agonie and pain, With terrors and with clamors compasst 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; And towards the Gate rouling her bestial train, Forthwith the huge Porcullis high up drew, Which but her self not all the STYGIAN powers Could once have mov'd; then in the key-hole turns Th' intricate wards, and every Bolt and Bar Of massie Iron or sollid Rock with ease Unfast'ns: on a sudden op'n flie With impetuous recoile and jarring sound Th' infernal dores, and on thir hinges great Harsh Thunder, that the lowest bottom shook Of EREBUS. She op'nd, but to shut Excel'd her power; the Gates wide op'n stood, That with extended wings a Bannerd Host Under spread Ensigns marching might pass through With Horse and Chariots rankt in loose array; So wide they stood, and like a Furnace mouth Cast forth redounding smoak and ruddy flame. Before thir eyes in sudden view appear The secrets of the hoarie 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 ANARCHIE, amidst the noise Of endless warrs and by confusion stand. For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four Champions fierce Strive here for Maistrie, and to Battel bring Thir embryon Atoms; they around the flag Of each his faction, in thir several Clanns, Light-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or slow, Swarm populous, unnumber'd as the Sands Of BARCA or CYRENE'S torrid soil, Levied to side with warring Winds, and poise Thir lighter wings. To whom these most adhere, Hee rules a moment; CHAOS Umpire sits, And by decision more imbroiles the fray By which he Reigns: next him high Arbiter CHANCE governs all. Into this wilde Abyss, The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave, Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire, But all these in thir pregnant causes mixt Confus'dly, and which thus must ever fight, Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain His dark materials to create more Worlds, Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while, Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith He had to cross. Nor was his eare less peal'd With noises loud and ruinous (to compare Great things with small) then when BELLONA storms, With all her battering Engines bent to rase Som Capital City, or less then if this frame Of Heav'n were falling, and these Elements In mutinie had from her Axle torn The stedfast Earth. At last his Sail-broad Vannes He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoak Uplifted spurns the ground, thence many a League As in a cloudy Chair ascending rides Audacious, but that seat soon failing, meets A vast vacuitie: all unawares Fluttring his pennons vain plumb down he drops Ten thousand fadom deep, and to this hour Down had been falling, had not by ill chance The strong rebuff of som tumultuous cloud Instinct with Fire and Nitre hurried him As many miles aloft: that furie stay'd, Quencht in a Boggie SYRTIS, neither Sea, Nor good dry Land: nigh founderd on he fares, Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, Half flying; behoves him now both Oare and Saile. As when a Gryfon through the Wilderness With winged course ore Hill or moarie Dale, Pursues the ARIMASPIAN, who by stelth Had from his wakeful custody purloind The guarded Gold: So eagerly the fiend Ore 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 flyes: At length a universal hubbub wilde Of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd Born through the hollow dark assaults his eare With loudest vehemence: thither he plyes, Undaunted to meet there what ever power Or Spirit of the nethermost Abyss Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Which way the neerest coast of darkness lyes Bordering on light; when strait behold the Throne Of CHAOS, and his dark Pavilion spread Wide on the wasteful Deep; with him Enthron'd 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; Rumor next and Chance, And Tumult and Confusion all imbroild, And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
T' whom SATAN turning boldly, thus. Ye Powers And Spirits of this nethermost Abyss, CHAOS and ANCIENT NIGHT, I come no Spie, With purpose to explore or to disturb The secrets of your Realm, but by constraint Wandring this darksome desart, 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 gloomie bounds Confine with Heav'n; or if som other place From your Dominion won, th' Ethereal King Possesses lately, thither to arrive I travel this profound, direct my course; Directed, no mean recompence it brings To your behoof, if I that Region lost, All usurpation thence expell'd, reduce To her original darkness and your sway (Which is my present journey) and once more Erect the Standerd there of ANCIENT NIGHT; Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge.
Thus SATAN; and him thus the Anarch old With faultring speech and visage incompos'd Answer'd. I know thee, stranger, who thou art, That mighty leading Angel, who of late Made head against Heav'ns 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 Heav'n Gates Pourd out by millions her victorious Bands Pursuing. I upon my Frontieres here Keep residence; if all I can will serve, That little which is left so to defend Encroacht on still through our intestine broiles Weakning the Scepter of old Night: first Hell Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath; Now lately Heaven and Earth, another World Hung ore my Realm, link'd in a golden Chain To that side Heav'n from whence your Legions fell: If that way be your walk, you have not farr; So much the neerer danger; goe and speed; Havock and spoil and ruin are my gain.
He ceas'd; and SATAN staid not to reply, But glad that now his Sea should find a shore, With fresh alacritie and force renew'd Springs upward like a Pyramid of fire Into the wilde expanse, and through the shock Of fighting Elements, on all sides round Environ'd wins his way; harder beset And more endanger'd, then when ARGO pass'd Through BOSPORUS betwixt the justling Rocks: Or when ULYSSES on the Larbord shunnd CHARYBDIS, and by th' other whirlpool steard. So he with difficulty and labour hard Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour hee; But hee once past, soon after when man fell, Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heav'n, Pav'd after him a broad and beat'n way Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling Gulf Tamely endur'd a Bridge of wondrous length From Hell continu'd reaching th' utmost Orbe Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse With easie intercourse pass to and fro To tempt or punish mortals, except whom God and good Angels guard by special grace. But now at last the sacred influence Of light appears, and from the walls of Heav'n Shoots farr into the bosom of dim Night A glimmering dawn; here Nature first begins Her fardest verge, and CHAOS to retire As from her outmost works a brok'n foe With tumult less and with less hostile din, That SATAN with less toil, and now with ease Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light And like a weather-beaten Vessel holds Gladly the Port, though Shrouds and Tackle torn; Or in the emptier waste, resembling Air, Weighs his spread wings, at leasure to behold Farr off th' Empyreal Heav'n, extended wide In circuit, undetermind square or round, With Opal Towrs and Battlements adorn'd Of living Saphire, once his native Seat; And fast by hanging in a golden Chain This pendant world, in bigness as a Starr Of smallest Magnitude close by the Moon. Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge, Accurst, and in a cursed hour he hies.
THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK.Next