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Of heav'n were falling, and these elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The stedfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league
As in a clouded chair ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity: all unawares
Flutt'ring his pennons vain plumb down he drops
Ten thousand fathom deep, and to this hour :
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud
Instinct with fire and nitre hurried him
As many miles aloft: that fury stay'd,
Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: nigh foundered on he fares,
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a gryphon' through the wilderness
With winged course o'er hill or moory dale
Pursues the Arimaspian,? who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold: so eagerly the fiend
O’er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues

his

way, And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies. At length a universal hubbub wild Of stunning sounds and voices all confused, Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his ear With loudest vehemence: thither he plies, Undaunted to meet there whatever power Or spirit of the nethermost abyss Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies, Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread

2

! Gryphon, a fabulous creature; a lion with an eagle's head, said to guard gold mines.

3 The Arimaspians were a one-eyed

people of Scythia, who took gold, when they could get it, from the gryphons * who guarded it. See Pliny's Natural

History," lib. vii. c. 2.

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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 Ades,' and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon ;? Rumor next, and Chance,
And Tumult, and Confusion, all imbroil'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,
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm; but by constraint,
Wand'ring this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with heav'n; or if some other place,
From
your dominion won,

th' ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound; direct my course;
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce
To her original darkness and your sway,
Which is my present journey, and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night;
Yours be th' advantage all, mine the revenge.

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With falt'ring speech and visage incomposed,
Answer'd. I know thee, stranger, who thou art,
That mighty leading angel, who of late
Made head against heav'n's King, though overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and heav'n gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands

1 Orchus, Pluto; Ados, a personification, any dark place.-RICHARDSON,

2 A fiend, whose very name the heathen feared to pronounce.

walk, you

Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve,
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils
Weak’ning 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, lipk'd in a golden chain
To that side heav'n from whence your legions fell :
If that

way

be
your

have not far; So much the nearer danger: go and speed; Havock, and spoil, and ruin are my gain.

He ceased; and Satan stay'd not to reply, 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 wild expanse, and through the shock Of fighting elements, on all sides round Environ'd, wins his way; harder beset And more endanger'd, than when Argol pass'd Through Bosphorus betwixt the justling rocks : Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned Charybdis, and by th’ other whirlpool steer'd, So he with difficulty and labour hard Moved on; with difficulty and labour he; But he' once past, soon after when man fell, Strange alteration ! Sin and Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heav’n, Paved after him a broad and beaten way Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endured a bridge of wond'rous length, From hell continued, reaching th' utmost orb Of this frail world; by which the spirits perverse With easy intercourse pass to and fro To tempt or punish mortals, except whom God and good Angels guard by special grace. But now at last the sacred influence

1 The ship in which Jason and his companions sailed to fetch the golden fleece from Colchis, in the Black Sea.

a

Of light appears, and from the walls of heav'n
Shoots far into the bosom of dim Night
A glimmering dawn : here Nature first begins
Her farthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works, a broken foe,
With tumult less and with less hostile din,
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,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off th' empyreal heav'n, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
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 cursèd hour, he hies.

a

1 See Measure for Measure, Act iii. Sc. 1.

BOOK III.

THE ARGUMENT.

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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 success 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, bymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satın 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 el; and pretending a zealous desire to behold 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 heav'n first-born
Or of th’ Eternal co-eternal beam
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,"
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell på before the sun,
Before the heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes, than to th’ Orphean lyre, 3

3

11 St. John i. 5. 1 Tim. vi. 16.
2 Job xxxviii. 19.
3 Orpheus wrote a hymn to Night,

addressing her as “ Mother of gods and
men,

"

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