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For in possession such, not only of right,
So having said, a while he stood, expecting
A dismal universal hiss, the sound
320 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,
525 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,
530 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, Heav'n-fall'n, in station stood, or just array,
535 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,
540 They felt themselves now changing ; down their armıs Down fell both spear & 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 th' applause they meant
545 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 fruit, like that
550 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 share ; 555
565 Chew'd bitter ashes, which, the offended taste With spattering noise, rejected : oft they assay'd, Hunger and thirst constraining, drugg'd as oft, With hatefullest disrelish writh'd their jaws With soot and cinders fill'd ; so oft they fell
570 Into the same illusion; not as Man Whom they triumph'd once laps'd. Thus were they plagued, And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed, Yearly enjoin'd, some say to undergo
575 This annual humbling, certain number'd days, To dash their pride and joy, for man seduced. However, some tradition they dispersed Among the Heathen, of their purchase got; And fabled how the Serpent, whom they callid 580 Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule of high Olympus, thence by Saturn driven And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born. Meanwhile, in Paradise the hellish pair
585 Too soon arrived, Sin there in power before,Once actual, now in body, and to dwell Habitual habitant; behind her Death, Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet On his pale horse; to whom Sin thus began.
590 “Second of Satan sprung, all conquering Death, What think'st thou of our empire now, though earn'd With travail difficult; not better far Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half-starved ?"
595 Whom thus the Sin-born Monster answered soon. “To me, who with eternal famine pine, Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven; There best, where most with ravine I may meet ; Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems
600 To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps."
To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
This said, they both betook them several ways, 610 Both to destroy, or un-immortal make All kinds, and for destruction to mature, Sooner or later : which the Almighty seeing, From his transcendant seat, the saints among, To those bright orders utter'd thus his voice.
615 “ See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance, To waste and havoc yonder world, which I So fair and good created ; and had still Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man Let in these wasteful furies, who impute
620 Folly to me, so doth the prince of Hell, And his adherents, that, with so much ease, I suffer them to enter, and possess A place so heavenly, & conniving seem, To gratify my scornful enemies,
625 That laugh, as if transported with some fit Of passion, I to them had quitted all, At random yielded up to their misrule And know not, that I call’d & drew them thither, My hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth, 630 Which man's polluting sin with taint hath shed On what was pure; till cramm'd & gorged, nigh burst, With suck'd and glutted offal, at one sling Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave at last, 635 Through Chaos hurl’d, obstruct the njouth of Hell For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws. Then Heaven & Earth, renew'd, shall be made pure To sanctity, that shall receive no stain : Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes." 640 He ended ; and the heavenly audience loud Sung Hallelujah, as the sound of seas, Through multitude that sung: “ Just are thy ways, Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works ; Who can extenuate thee?" Next, to the Son,
645 “ Destined Restorer of Mankind, by whom New Heaven & Earth shall to the ages rise, Or down from Heaven descend." Such was their song;
While the Creator, calling forth by name