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Quench'd in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: nigh founder'd on he fares,
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 941
Half fly'ng; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a Griffon through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth 945
Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold. So eagerly the Fiend
O'er 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 flies :
At length a universal hubbub wild

Of stunning sounds and voices all confus'd,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear
With loudest vehemence: thither he plies,
Undaunted to meet there whatever pow'r 955
Or Spirit of the nethermost abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bord’ring on light; when strait behold the

Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 960
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; Rumour next and Chance, 965

And Tumult and Confusion, all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
T' whom Satan turning boldly, thus : Ye

And Spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night, I come to spy, 970

purpose to explore or to disturb The secrets of your realm, but by constraint Wand'ring this darksome desart, as my way Lies through your spacious empire up to light, Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek 975 What readiest path leads where your gloomy

bounds Confine with Heav'n; or if some other place, From your

dominion won, th' ethereal king Possesses lately, thither to arrive I travel this profound ; direct my course;

980 Directed no mean recompense it brings To

your behoof, if I that region lost, All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce To her orig'nal darkness and your sway (Which is my present journey) and once more Erect the standard there of ancient Night; 986 Yours be th’advantage all, mine the revenge.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With fault'ring speech and visage uncompos'd, Answer’d: I know thee, stranger, who thou art ; That mighty leading Angel, who of late 991 Made head against Heav'n's King, though over


I saw and heard; for such a num'rous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,

Confusion worse confounded; and Heav'n gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend, 1000
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils,
Weak’ning the sceptre of old Night: first Hell
Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath ;
Now lately Heav'n and Earth, another world,
Hung o'er my

my realm, link'd in a golden chain 1005 To that side Heav'n from whence your legions

fell : If that way

walk, you


have not far;
So much the nearer danger; go and speed;
Havock, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.

He ceas'd, and Satan stay'd not to reply;1010
But glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity and force renew'd,
Springs upward like a pyramid of fire
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round 1015
Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset
And more endanger'd than when Argo pass'd
Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks :
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shun'd
Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steer'd.

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So he with difficulty and labour hard 1021
Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he; ;
But he 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 beaten way 1026
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endur'd a bridge of wond'rous length
From Hell continu'd reaching th' utmost orb
Of this frail world; by which the Sp’rits perverse
With easy 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 far into the bosom of dim Night 1036
A glimm’ring dawn. Here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works a broken foe
With tumult less, and with less hostile din, 1040
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 th' emptier waste, resembling air, 1045
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th’empyreal Heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermin'd square or round,
With opal tow'rs and battlements adorn'd

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Of living sapphire, once his native seat; 1050
And fast by hanging in a golden chain
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurs’d, and in a cursed hour he hies.




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