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Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scorn
Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more,
Thy king and lord ? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive I and to thy speed add wings, 700
Lest, with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy ling’ring, or with one stroke of this dart,
Strange horror seize thee', and pangs unfelt before.

So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threat'ning, grow, 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 710
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head
Levellid his deadly aim; their fatal hands
No second stroke intend, and such a frown
Each cast at th' other, as when two black clouds,
With Heav'n's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front 716
Hov'ring a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air:
So frown'd the mighty combatants, that Hell
Grew darker at their frown, so match'd they stood;
For never but once more was either like 721
To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds
Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung,
Had not the snaky sorceress that sat
Fast by Hell gate, and kept the fatal key, 725
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 sits above and laughs the while 731 At thee ordain'd his drudge, to execute Whatc'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 so strange Thou interposest, that my sudden hand Preyented spares to tell thee yet by deeds What it intends ; till first I know of thee, 740 What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why In this infernal vale first met thou call'st Me Father, and that phantasm call'st my Son; I know thee not, nor ever saw till now Sight more detestable than him and thee. 745

To whom thus the portress of Hell gate reply'd. Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair In Heav'n, when at th' assembly, and in sight Of all the seraphim with thee combin'd In bold conspiracy against Heav'n's King, All on a sudden miserable pain Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast Threw forrh, till on the left side opening wide, 755 Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright,

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Then shining heav'nly fair, a goddess arm’d
Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd
All th' host of Heav'n; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a siga 760
Portentous held me; but familiar grown,
I pleas’d, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam'st enamor'd, and such joy thou took'st 763
With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd
A growing burden. Mean while war arose,
And fields were fought in Heav'n; wherein remain'd
(For what could else?) to our almighty Foe
Clear victory, to our part loss and rout 770
Through all the empyréan: down they fell
Driv’n headlong from the pitch of Heav'n, down
Into this deep, and in the general fall
I also; at which time this powerful key
Into my hand was given, with charge to keep 773
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without iny ope'ning. Pensive here I sac
Alone, but long I sat not, till my wornb
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown,
Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes. 780
At last this odious offspring whom thou seest
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and pain
Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew
Transform’d: but he my inbred enerny
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart

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Made to destroy : I fled, and cry'd out Death: 1
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Death.
I fled, but he pursued, (though more, it seems,
Inflam'd with lust than rage) and swifter far, 1791
Me overtook his mother all dismay'd,
And in embraces forcible and foul
Ingendring with me, of that rape begot
These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry 795
Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceiv'd
And hourly born, with sorrow infinite
To me ; for when they list, into the womb
That bred them they return, and howl and guaw
My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth 800
Afresh with conscious terrors vex me round,
That rest or intermission none I find.
Before minc eyes in opposition sits
Grim Death my son and foe, who sets them on,
And me his parent would full soon devour 805
For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv'd; and knows that I
Should prove'a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be ; so Fate pronounc'd.
But thou, O Father! I forewarn thee, shun 810
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heav'nly, for that mortal dint,
Save he who reigns above, none can resist.

She finish'd, and the subtle Fiend his lore 815 Soon learn’d now milder, and thus answer'd smooth.

VOL.!.

Dear Daughter! since thou claim'st me for thy sire,
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in Heav'n, and joys
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change
Befall’n us unforeseen, unthought of; know 821
I come no enemy, but to set free
From out this dark and dismal house of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heav'nly host
Of spi'rits that in our just pretences arm'd 825
Fell with us from on high : from them I go
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
Th' unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wand'ring quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now 831
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the purlieus of Heav'n, and therein plae'd
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room, though more remov'd,
Lest Heav'n surcharg'd with potent multitude 836
Might hap to move new broils : be this or aught
Than this more secret now design'd, I haste
To know, and this once known, shall soon return,
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen 841
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalm'd
With odors; there ye shall be fed and fill'd
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceas'd, for both seem'd highly pleas'd, and
Death

845

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