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Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
By this new-felt attraction and instinct.”
Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd 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 savour 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 snuff'd 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 carcasses design'd
For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
So scented the grim feature, and upturn’d
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
Toss'd 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 fix’d as firm
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move ;
And with asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of hell the gather'd beach
They fasten’d, and the mole immense wrought on,
Over the foaming deep, high-arch'd, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immovable of this now fenceless 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 join'd,
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 vex'd 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

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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 discern’d, 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, return'd
By night, and, listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom; which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to hell he now return’d;
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased.

Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke:

“O parent, these are thy magnific deeds,
Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own;
Thou art their author, and prime architect:
For I no sooner in my heart divined
(My heart, which by a secret harmony
Still moves with thine, join’d in connexion sweet)
That thou on earth hadst prosper’d, which thy looks
Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt
That I must after thee, with this thy son;
Such fatal consequence unites us three.
Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
Detain from following thy illustrious track:
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined
Within hell-gates till now; thou us empower'd
To fortify thus far, and overlay,
With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world ; thy virtue hath won
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gain’d,
With odds, what war hath lost, and fully avenged
Our foil in heaven: here thou shalt monarch reign,
There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
As battle hath adjudged, from this new world
Retiring, by his own doom alienated;
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne."

Whom thus the prince of darkness answer'd glad:

“Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both;
High proof ye now have given to be the race
Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of heaven's Almighty King,)
Amply have merited of me—of all
The infernal empire, that so near heaven's door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore—while I
Descend through darkness, on your road, with ease,
To my associate powers, them to acquaint
With these successes, and with them rejoice—
You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
There dwell, and reign in bliss: thence on the earth
Dominion exercise, and in the air,
Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declared;
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create
Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now,
My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of hell
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong.”

So saying, he dismiss'd them; they with speed Their course through thickest constellations held, Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan;

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