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From either end of Heaven the welkin' burns.
Others, with vast Typheana rage more fell,

up both rocks and hills, and ride the air
In whirlwind ; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar.
As when Alcides, from Echalia* crowned
With conquest, felt the envenomed robe, and tore
Through pain up by the roots Thessalian pines,
And Lichas from the top of Eta threw
Into the Euboic sea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a silent valley, sing
With notes angelical to many a harp

505 Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall By doom of battle ; Their song was partial; but the harmony (What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?) Suspended Hell, and took with ravislıment The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet, (For eloquences the soul, song charms the sense,) Others apart sat on a hill retired In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate.

515 Fixed fate, free will

, foreknowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.
Another part, in squadrons and gross bands,
On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal world, if any clime perhaps
Might yield them easier habitation, bend
Four ways their flying march, along the banks
Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge
Into the burning lake their baleful streams ;
Abhorrèd Styx, the flood of deadly hate ;
Sad Acheron, of sorrow, black and deep;
Cocýtus, named of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream ; fierce Phlegethon,
Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.6
1 The expanse of clouds.

4 A town in Eubea, destroyed by 2 Typhæan, from Typhôn; a giant Hercules, according to Strabo. celebrated in Greek mythology. 5 Charms (understood).

3 Alcides (Hercules) was driven 6 The etymology of the names of mad by the poison contained in a these rivers agrees with this descripgarment steeped in the blood of the tion; Styx, Acheron. Cocytus, and centaur Nessus which Deïanira his Phlegethon, signifying respectively, wife had sent him, imagining it Hate, Sorrow, Lamentation, and would be the means of preserving Flame. her husband's affection.


505 530





Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,
Lethe, the river of oblivion, rolls
Her watery 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 wild, beat with perpetual storms
Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seems
Of ancient pile ; * the parching air
Burns frore, and cold performs the effect of fire.
Thither by harpy-footed Furies haled 3
At certain revolutions, all the damned
Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
From beds of raging fire, to starve in ice
Their soft ethereal warmth, and there to pine
Immoveable, infixed, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
They ferry over this Lethéan sound
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But fate withstands, and to oppose the attempt
Medusa 4 with Gorgonian terror guards
The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In confused march forlorn, the adventurous bands
With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,
Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found
No rest: through many a dark and dreary vale
They passed, and many a region dolorous,




1 Lethe-Forgetfulness. This pas- 5 Wight, an individual. sage is a beautiful example of our 6 Tantalus, a king of Lydia, who is poet's power in adapting sound to represented as punished in hell by sense.

having everything gratifying to the 2 Frosty, 3 Hauled.

senses placed within his reach, but 4 One of the Gorgons; an imagi- snatched away the moment he atnary phantom, whose face was of so tempted to possess himself of it. – fearful an appearance, that it turned Hence our word “ tantalize.” the beholder to stone.

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogg, dens, and shades of death.

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Meanwhile, the Adversary of God and man, 566
Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of Hell
Explores his solitary flight : sometimes
He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left ; 570
Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars
Up to the fiery concave towering high.
As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternate and Tidore', whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs; they, on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
Ply stemming nightly toward the Pole : so seemed
Far off the flying Fiend. At last appear
Hell bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,
And thrice three-fold the gates ; three folds were brass,
Three iron, three of adamantine rock,
Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,
Yet unconsumed.

* On a sudden open fly
With impetuous recoil and jarring sound
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She 3 opened, but to shut

Excelled her power; the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a bannered host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass through
With horse and chariots ranked in loose array ;
So wide they stood, and, like a furnace mouth,

595 Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame. Before their eyes in sudden view appear The secrets of the hoary deep; a dark Illimitable ocean, without bound, Without dimension, and where Eldest Night And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise 1 Two islands in the Indian Archi- gloomy space under the earth through pelago.

which the shades passed into Hades. 2 A son of Chaos: the name means 3 Sin, the portress of hell-gates. darkness, and was applied to the

600 605






Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For hot, cold, moist, and dry!, four champions fierce
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag
Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands
Of Barca or Cyrene's? torrid soil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray
By which he reigns: next him, high arbiter
Chance governs all. *
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell, and looked awhile,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed
With noises loud and ruinous, (to compare
Great things with small,) than when Bellona storms,
With all her battering engines bent to rase
Some capital city ; or less than if this frame
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The steadfast 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 cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity: all unawares,
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb4 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 stayed,
Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land : nigh foundered on he fares, 640
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half Aying ; behoves him now both oar and sail.
1 See Ovid's Metamorph., lib. i. 19.

4. « Plumb” down;- from plum? A city and province of N. Africa. bum, lead; i. e. as lead. 3 The goddess of war among the

5 A quicksand. Romans.




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As when a griffon, through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian', who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloined
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


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

Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign ; and by them stood
Orcus2 and Hades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon?; Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroiled,
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
Wandering 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 Heaven; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, the ethereal King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound 3 ; direct

my course ; 1 A one-eyed people of Scythia, 2 Deities of the infernal regions. who are said to have made war on 3 The neuter adjective for the the griffins - monsters who collected noun, the gold of the river Arimaspias.




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