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Thir rising all at once was as the sound

Of Thunder heard remote. Towards him they bend
With awful reverence prone; and as a God
Extoll him equal to the highest in Heav'n:

Nor fail'd they to express how much they prais'd,
That for the general safety he despis'd
His own for neither do the Spirits damn'd
Loose all thir vertue; least bad men should boast
Thir specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,
Or close ambition varnisht o're with zeal.
Thus they thir doubtful consultations dark
Ended rejoycing in thir matchless Chief:
As when from mountain tops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the North wind sleeps, o'respread
Heavn's chearful face, the lowring Element
Scowls ore the dark'nd lantskip Snow, or showre;
If chance the radiant Sun with farewell sweet
Extend his ev'ning beam, the fields revive,
The birds thir notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest thir joy, that hill and valley rings.
O shame to men! Devil with Devil damn'd
Firm concord holds, men onely disagree
Of Creatures rational, though under hope

Of heavenly Grace; and God proclaiming peace,
Yet live in hatred, enmitie, and strife
Among themselves, and levie cruel warres,
Wasting the Earth, each other to destroy:
As if (which might induce us to accord)
Man had not hellish foes anow besides,
That day and night for his destruction.waite.
The Stygian Councel thus dissolv'd; and forth
In order came the grand infernal Peers,

Midst came thir mighty Paramount, and seemd
Alone th' Antagonist of Heav'n, nor less

Then Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream,
And God-like imitated State; him round
A Globe of fierie Seraphim inclos'd
With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms.
Then of thir Session ended they bid cry

With Trumpets regal sound the great result:
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim
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Put to thir mouths the sounding Alchymie
By Haralds voice explain'd: the hollow Abyss
Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell
With deafning shout, return'd them loud acclaim.
Thence more at ease thir minds and somwhat rais'd
By false presumptuous hope, the ranged powers
Disband, and wandring, each his several way
Pursues, as inclination or sad choice

Leads him perplext, where he may likeliest find
Truce to his restless thoughts, and entertain
The irksome hours, till his great Chief return.
Part on the Plain, or in the Air sublime
Upon the wing, or in swift race contend,
As at th' Olympian Games or Pythian fields;
Part curb thir fierie Steeds, or shun the Goal
With rapid wheels, or fronted Brigads form.
As when to warn proud Cities warr appears
Wag'd in the troubl'd Skie, and Armies rush
To Battel in the Clouds, before each Van

Pric forth the Aerie Knights, and couch thir spears
Till thickest Legions close; with feats of Arms
From either end of Heav'n the welkin burns.
Others with vast Typhaan rage more fell
Rend up both Rocks and Hills, and ride the Air
In whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wilde uproar.
As when Alcides from Oealia Crown'd
With conquest, felt th' envenom'd robe, and tore
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian Pines,
And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw
Into th' Euboic Sea. Others more milde,
Retreated in a silent valley, sing

With notes Angelical to many a Harp

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Thir own Heroic deeds and hapless fall

By doom of Battel; and complain that Fate

Free Vertue should enthrall to Force or Chance.
Thir song was partial, but the harmony
(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?)
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment

The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet
(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense,)
Others apart sat on a Hill retir'd,

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In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
Of Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate,
Fixt Fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandring mazes lost.
Of good and evil much they argu'd then,
Of happiness and final misery,

Passion and Apathie, and glory and shame,
Vain wisdom all, and false Philosophie:
Yet with a pleasing sorcerie could charm
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured brest
With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
Another part in Squadrons and gross Bands
On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal World, if any Clime perhaps
Might yeild them easier habitation, bend
Four ways thir flying March, along the Banks
Of four infernal Rivers that disgorge

Into the burning Lake thir baleful streams;
Abhorred Styx the flood of deadly hate,
Sad Acheron of Sorrow, black and deep;
Cocytus, nam'd of lamentation loud
Heard on the ruful stream; fierce Phlegeton
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.
Farr off from these a slow and silent stream,
Lethe the River of Oblivion roules

Her watrie Labyrinth, whereof who drinks,
Forthwith his former state and being forgets,
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Beyond this flood a frozen Continent
Lies dark and wilde, beat with perpetual storms
Of Whirlwind and dire Hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,
A gulf profound as that Serbonian Bog
Betwixt Damiata and mount Casius old,

Where Armies whole have sunk: the parching Air
Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of Fire.
Thither by harpy-footed Furies hail'd,

At certain revolutions all the damn'd

Are brought and feel by turns the bitter change

Of fierce extreams, extreams by change more fierce,

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From Beds of raging Fire to starve in Ice
Thir soft Ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immovable, infixt, and frozen round,

Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
They ferry over this Lethean Sound
Both to and fro, thir sorrow to augment,

And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach

The tempting stream, with one small drop to loose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,

All in one moment, and so neer the brink;
But fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The Ford, and of it self the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on

In confus'd march forlorn, th' adventrous Bands
With shuddring horror pale, and eyes agast
View'd first thir lamentable lot, and found

No rest through many a dark and drearie Vaile
They pass'd, and many a Region dolorous,

O're many a Frozen, many a Fierie Alpe,

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Rocks, Caves, Lakes, Fens, Bogs, Dens, and shades of death, A Universe of death, which God by curse

Created evil, for evil only good,

Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,

Abominable, inutterable, and worse

Then Fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons and Hydra's, and Chimera's dire.

Mean while the Adversary of God and Man,
Satan with thoughts inflam'd of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and toward the Gates of Hell
Explores his solitary flight; som times

He scours the right hand coast, som times the left,
Now shaves with level wing the Deep, then soares
Up to the fiery concave touring high,

As when farr off at Sea a Fleet descri'd
Hangs in the Clouds, by Equinoctial Winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the Iles

Of Ternate and Tidore, whence Merchants bring
Thir spicie Drugs: they on the trading Flood

631 toward] towards 1674

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Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape

Ply stemming nightly toward the Pole. So seem'd
Farr off the flying Fiend: at last appeer

Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid Roof,

And thrice threefold the Gates; three folds were Brass, Three Iron, three of Adamantine Rock,

Impenitrable, impal'd with circling fire,

Yet unconsum'd. Before the Gates there sat
On either side a formidable shape;

The one seem'd Woman to the waste, and fair,
But ended foul in many a scaly fould
Voluminous and vast, a Serpent arm'd
With mortal sting: about her middle round
A cry of Hell Hounds never ceasing bark'd
With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung
A hideous Peal: yet, when they list, would creep,
If aught disturb'd thir noyse, into her woomb,
And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howl'd
Within unseen. Farr less abhorrd then these
Vex'd Scylla bathing in the Sea that parts
Calabria from the hoarce Trinacrian shore:
Nor uglier follow the Night-Hag, when call'd
In secret, riding through the Air she comes
Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland Witches, while the labouring Moon
Eclipses at thir charms. The other shape,

If shape it might be call'd that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joynt, or limb,

Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night,
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 seat
The Monster moving onward came as fast,

With horrid strides, 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 naught vallu'd he nor shun'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began.

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance

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