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As when he wash'd his servants' feet, so now
As father of his family he clad

Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
And thought not much to clothe his enemies :
Nor he their outward only with the skins
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,
Arraying cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up return'd,
Into his blissful bosom reassum'd

In glory as of old: to him appeas'd

All, though all knowing, what had pass'd with Man Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.





MEANWHILE ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on Earth, Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, In counterview within the gates, that now Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Far into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through, Sin opening, who thus now to Death began.

O SON, why sit we here each other viewing

Idly, while Satan our great author thrives
In other worlds, and happier seat provides
For us his offspring dear? It cannot be
But that success attends him; if mishap
Ere this he had return'd, with fury driven
By his avengers, since no place like this
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
Wings growing, and dominion giv'n me large



Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on,
Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
Pow'rful at greatest distance to unite
With secret amity things of like kind
By secretest conveyance. Thou my shade
Inseparable must with me along :

For Death from Sin no pow'r can separate.
But lest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassable, impervious, let us try

Advent' rous work, yet to thy pow'r and mine
Not unagreeable, to found a path

Over this main from Hell to that new world
Where Satan now prevails, a monument
Of merit high to all th' infernal host,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
By this new-felt attraction and instinct.

WHOм thus the meagre Shadow answer'd soon.
Go whither fate and inclination strong
Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err
The way, thou leading, such a scent I draw
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste

The savour of Death from all things there that live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,

Against the day of battle, to a field,
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd
With scent of living carcases design'd

For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd


His nostril wide into the murky air,


Sagacious of his quarry from so far.

Then both from out Hell-gates into the waste

Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark

Flew diverse, and with pow'r (their pow'r was great)

Hovering upon the waters, what they met


Solid or slimy, as in raging sea

Tost up and down, together crowded drove

From each side shoaling, tow'ards the mouth of Hell :

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse

Upon the Cronian sea, together drive


Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm
As Delos floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach
They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high arch'd, a bridge,
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immoveable of this now fenceless world

Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,




Smooth, easy, inoffensive down to Hell.

So, if great things to small may be compar'd,
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,


From Susa his Memnonian palace high

Came to the sea, and over Hellespont

Bridging his way, Europe with Asia join'd,


And scourg'd with many a stroke th' indignant waves.

Now had they brought the work by wondrous art

Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,

Over the vex'd abyss, following the track

Of Satan to the self-same place where he


First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare

Of this round world; with pins of adamant

And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
And durable; and now in little space


The confines met of empyréan Heaven

And of this World, and on the left hand Hell

With long reach interpos'd; three several ways
In sight, to each of these three places led.

And now their way to Earth they had descry'd,
To Paradise first tending, when behold
Satan in likeness of an Angel bright


Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose :
Disguis'd he came, but those his children dear
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.
He after Eve seduc'd, unminded slunk
Into the wood fast by, and changing shape
To' observe the sequel, saw his guileful act


By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded

Upon her husband, saw their shame that sought

Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge them, terrify'd

He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun
The present, fearing guilty what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
By night, and list'ning where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,



Thence gather'd his own doom, which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy


And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd,

And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot

Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhop'd

Met who to meet him came, his offspring dear.

Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight


Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.

O PARENT, these are thy magnific deeds,
Thy trophies, which thou view'st as not thine own;
Thou art their author and prime architect:

For I no sooner in my heart divin'd,

My heart, which by a secret harmony

Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet,


That thou on earth hadst prosper'd, which thy looks
Now also evidence, but straight I felt


Though distant from thee, worlds between, yet felt

That I must after thee with this thy son,

Such fatal consequence unites us three:

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