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Where armies whole have funk: the parching air
Burns frore, and cold performs th’ effect of fire. 595.
Thither by harpy-footed furies hal'd
At certain revolutions all the damn'd
Are brought; and feel by turns the bitter change :
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce, ,
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire. .
They ferry over this Lethéan sound
Both to and fro, their forrow to augment, 605
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt 610
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards.
The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it Aed
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In cónfus'd march forlorn, th' adventrous bands 615
With sudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghaft,
View'd first their lamentable lot, and found ..
No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale
They pass’d, and many a region dolorous,
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 620
Rocks,caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens and shades of death,
A universe of death, which God by curse
Created ev'il, for evil only good,
E4

Where

hon

ms

Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 625
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons, and Hydra's, and Chimæra's dire.

Mean while the Adversary' of God and Man,
Satan with thoughts inflam’d of hig'hest design, 630
Puts on swift wings, and tow’ards the gates of Hell
Explores his solitary flight; sometimes
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left,
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
Up to the fiery concave towring high. 635
As when far off at sea a fleet descry'd
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the iles
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape
Ply stemming nightly tow'ard the pole. So seem'd
Far off the flying Fiend : at last appear
Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid roof,
And thrice three-fold the gates; three folds were brass,
Three iron, three of adamantin rock, .
Impenetrable, impal’d with circling fire,
Yet unconsum'd. Before the gates there fat
On either side a formidable shape;
The one seem'd woman to the waste, and fair, 650
But ended foul in many a scaly fold
Voluminous and vast, a serpent arm'd
With mortal fting : about her middle round

ding food

640

A cry

A cry of Hell hounds never ceasing bark'd
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung 655
A hideous peal; yet, when they lift, would creep,
If ought disturb’d their noise, into her womb,
And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd,
Within unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these
Vex?d Scylla bathing in the sea that parts

669
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian fhore :
Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, call'd
In fecret, riding through the air she comes,
Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the lab’ring moon 665
Eclipses at their charms. The other shape,
If shape it might be call'd that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be call’d that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night, 679
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 feat
The monster moving onward came as fast 675
With horrid ftrides, 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 nought valued he nor shunn'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began.

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar'it, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated front athwart my way

. : To

To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass,
That be assur'd, without leave ask'd of thee: 685
Retire, or taste thy folly', and learn by proof,
Hell-born, not to contend with Spi'rits of Heaven.

To whom the goblin full of wrath reply'd.
Art thou that traitor Angel, art thou He,
Who first broke peace in Heav'n and faith, till then
Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms
Drew after him the third part of Heav'n's fons
Conjúr'd against the Hig'hest, for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn’d
To waste eternal days in woe and pain?

695 And reckon'st thou thyself with Spi'rits of Heaven, Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and fcorn 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, 700 Left with a whip of scorpions I pursue Thy lingring, or with one stroke of this dart Strange horror feise thee', and pangs unfelt before.

So spake the grisly terror, and in shape, So speaking and so threatning, grew ten-fold 705 More dreadful and deform: on th' other side Incens’d with indignation Satan stood Unterrify'd, and like a comet burn'd, That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge In th' arctic sky, and from his horrid hair

716 Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head Level'd his deadly aim; their fatal hands No second stroke intend, and such a frown

Each

. Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds,

With Heav'n's artillery fraught, come rattling on 715

Over the Caspian, then stand front to front Å Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow - To join their dark encounter in mid air :

So frown'd the mighty combatants, that Hell
Grów darker at their frown, fo match'd 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 snaky forceress that fat

Faft by Hell gate, and kept the fatal key, 725 the 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 Father's head? and know'st for whom;
For him who fits above and laughs the while
At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute
Whate'er 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 735
Forbore: then these to her Satan return'd.

So strange thy outcry, and thy words fo ftrange
Thou interposeft, 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 vale first met thou call’ft
Me Father, and that phantafm call'st my Son;

740

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