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And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffer'd. The other way Satan went down
The causey to hell-gate: on either side
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaim’d,
And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd,
That scorn’d his indignation: through the gate,
Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,
And all about found desolate; for those,
Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,
Flown to the upper world; the rest were all
Far to the inland retired, about the walls
Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat
Of Lucifer, so by allusion call’d
Of that bright star to Satan paragon’d:
There kept their watch the legions, while the grand
In council sat, solicitous what chance
Might intercept their emperor sent; so he,
Departing, gave command, and they observed.
As when the Tartar, from his Russian foe,
By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
Retires; or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
To Tauris or Casbeen; so these, the late
Heaven-banish’d host, left desert utmost hell
Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch
Round their metropolis, and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurer, from the search
Of foreign worlds. He through the midst, unmark'd,
In show plebeian angel militant -
Of lowest order, pass'd; and from the door

Of that Plutonian hall, invisible
Ascended his high throne, which, under state
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
Was placed in regal lustre. Down awhile
He sat, and round about him saw, unseen:
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head,
And shape star-bright appear’d, or brighter, clad
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter: all amazed
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,
Their mighty chief return'd: loud was the acclaim:
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy,
Congratulant approach'd him, who with hand,
Silence, and with these words, attention won:
“ Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues,

For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye, and declare ye now; return'd
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye

Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native heaven
Little inferior, by my adventure hard,
With peril great, achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done, what suffer'd; with what pain
Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion; over which,
By Sin and Death, a broad way now is paved,

To expedite your glorious march; but I
Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forced to ride
The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild,
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting fate supreme; thence, how I found
The new-created world, which fame in heaven
Long had foretold; a fabric wonderful,
Of absolute perfection! therein man,
Placed in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy: him by fraud I have seduced
From his Creator; and, the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple: he, thereat
Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up
Both his beloved man and all this world,
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,
Without our hazard, labour, or alarm,
To range in, and to dwell, and over man
To rule as over all he should have ruled.
True is, me also he hath judged, or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent, in whose shape
Man I deceived !—that which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:
A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
Or much more grievous pain ? Ye have the account
Of my performance; what remains, ye gods,
But up, and enter now into full bliss ?

So having said, awhile he stood, expecting

Their universal shout, and high applause,
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears,
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
A dismal universal hiss, the sound
Of public scorn. He wonder'd, but not long
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more ;
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
Each other, till, supplanted, down he fell
A monstrous serpent, on bis belly prone,
Reluctant, but in vain; a greater Power
Now ruled him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
According to his doom. He would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
To forked tongue : for now were all transform’d
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To his bold riot: dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the hall, thick-swarming now
With complicated monsters, head and tail,
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire,
Cerastes horn'd, hydrus, and elops drear,
And dipsas (not so thick swarm’d once the soil
Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa ;) but still greatest he the midst,
Now dragon grown, larger than whom the sun
Engender'd in the Pythian vale on slime,
Huge Python, and his power no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain. They all
Him follow'd, issuing forth to the open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
Heaven-fall'n, in station stood, or just array;

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Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious chief.
They saw, but other sight instead—a crowd
Of ugly serpents! Horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,
They felt themselves now changing: down their

Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast,
And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form
Catch'd, by contagion; like in punishment,
As in their crime. Thus was the applause they

meant, Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame, Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There

stood A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, His will who reigns above, to aggravate Their

penance, laden with fair fruit, like that Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve Used by the tempter; on that prospect strange Their earnest eyes they fix’d, imagining For one forbidden tree a multitude Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, Though to delude them sent, could not abstain; But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks That curl'd Megæra. Greedily they pluck'd The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed; This more delusive, not the touch, but taste

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