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Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach
They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on 300
Over the foaming deep high-arched, 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.

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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, 310
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 selfsame place where he

315 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

320 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, 325 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 330 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

335 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 340 Might suddenly inflict; that pass’d, 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

345 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 350 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: 356 For I no sooner in my heart divined, My heart which by a secret harmony Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet, That thou on earth hadst prosper’d, which thy looks Now also evidence, but straight I felt,

361 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 our bounds, 365 Nor this urvoyageable gulf obscure Detain from following thy illustrious track. Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impower'd To fortify thus far, and overlay,

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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, 376
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, 360
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 385
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,

390 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 395 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,

400 Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared; Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly skill. My substitutes I send ye, and create Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might Issuing from me; on your joint vigor now My hold of this new kingdom all depends,

405

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 410
Their course through thickest constellations held,
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan,
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffer’d. The other way Satan went down
The causey to Hell gate: On either side

415 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,

420 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 callid

425 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. 430 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

435 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 440 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 445
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 450
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, 456
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, Powers; For in possession such, not only of right,

461 I call ye, and declare ye now; return'd Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth 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 470 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 Toild out my uncouth passage, forced to ride 475 The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild; That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed

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