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With loudest vehemence: thither he plies,
960 Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things, The consort of his reign; and by them stood Orcus and Hades, and the dreaded name Of Demogorgon; Rumor next and Chance, 965 And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd, And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan turning boldly, thus: Ye Powers And Spirits of this nethermost abyss, Chaos and ancient Night! I come no spy,
970 With purpose to explore or to disturb The secrets of your realm: but, by constraint Wandering this darksome desert, 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 Heaven; or if some other place, From your dominion won, the ethereal King Possesses lately, thither to arrive I travel this profound; direct my course;
980 Directed, no mean recompense it brings
behoof: if I that region lost, All usurpation thence expelld, reduce To her original darkness and your sway (Which is my present journey,) and once more 985 Erect the standard there of ancient Night; Yours be the advantage all: mine the revenge!
Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old, With faltering speech and visage incomposed.
Answer'd: I know thee, stranger, who thou 'art, 990
1000 Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first Hell, Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath; Now lately Heaven, and Earth, another world, Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain 1005 To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell: If that way be your walk, you have not far; So much the nearer danger; go, and speed! Havoc, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.
He ceased; and Satan staid 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 wide 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 shunn'd Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd. 1020 So he with difficulty and labor hard Moved on: with difficulty and labor he: But, he once pass'd, soon after, when man fell, Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Paved after him a broad and beaten way
1026 Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length, From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse With easy intercourse pass to and fro
1031 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 Heaven 1035 Shoots far into the bosom of dim night A glimmering dawn; Here Nature first begins Her furthest 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 the emptier waste, resembling air,
1045 Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide In circuit, undetermined square or round, With opal towers and battlements adorn'd Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
1050 And fast by, hanging in a golden chain, This pendant world, in bigness as a star Of smallest magnitude close by the moon. Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge, Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 1055
God, sitting on his throne, sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly
created;shows him to the Son, who sat at his right hand; foretells the suc. cess of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created man free, and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declares his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son of God renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards man; But God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice: Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to Godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment. The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man: The Father accepts him, ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and earth; commands all the Angels to adore him: They obey, and hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering he first finds a place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; What persons and things fly up thither; Thence comes to the gate of Heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it: His passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first changes himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behuld the new creation, and Man whom God had placed here,inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed: Alights first on mount Niphates.
Hail, holy light, offspring of Heaven first-born,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd