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Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread

Fell with us from on high. From them I go
This uncouth errand sole, and one for all

The unfounded Deep, and through the void immense

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To search, with wandering quest, a place foretold
Should be-and, by concurring signs, ere now
Created vast and round-a place of bliss

In the purlieus of Heaven; and therein placed
A race of upstart creatures, to supply

Perhaps our vacant room, though more removed,
Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aught
Than this more secret, now designed, 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
Wing silently the buxom air, embalmed

With odours. There ye shall be fed and filled
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey."

He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and Death

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Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear

His famine should be filled, and blessed his maw

Destined to that good hour. No less rejoiced

His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire :— "The key of this infernal Pit, by due

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And by command of Heaven's all-powerful King,
I keep, by Him forbidden to unlock
These adamantine gates; against all force
Death ready stands to interpose his dart,
Fearless to be o'ermatched by living might.
But what owe I to His commands above,

Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me down
Into this gloom of Tartarus profound,
To sit in hateful office here confined,

Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly-born-
Here in perpetual agony and pain,

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With terrors and with clamours compassed round
Of mine own brood, that on my bowels feed?
Thou art my father, thou my author, thou
My being gav'st me; whom should I obey

But thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soon
To that new world of light and bliss, among

The gods who live at ease, where I shall reign
At thy right hand voluptuous, as beseems
Thy daughter and thy darling, without end.”
Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,

Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;
And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,

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Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,

Which, but herself, not all the Stygian Powers

Could once have moved; then in the key-hole turns
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar
Of massy iron or solid rock with ease
Unfastens. 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 opened; but to shut

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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
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; where length, breadth, and highth,
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest Night
And Chaos, ancestors of Nature, hold

Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise

Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.

For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce,
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring

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Their embryon atoms: they around the flag
Of each his faction, in their several clans,

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Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,
Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sands

Levied to side with warring winds, and poise

Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid soil,

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 womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds-
Into this wild Abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealed
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare

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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, 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 stayed-

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 purloined

O'er bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,

The guarded gold; so eagerly the Fiend

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

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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

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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
Qrcus and Ades, 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

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I travel this profound. Direct my course:
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof, if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expelled, 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 the advantage all, mine the revenge!"
Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
Answered: "I know thee, stranger, who thou art—
That mighty leading Angel, who of late

Made head against Heaven'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 Heaven-gates
Poured out by millions her victorious bands,
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here
Keep residence; if all I can will serve
That little which is left so to defend,

Encroached on still through our intestine broils
Weakening 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, linked in a golden chain
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell!
If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed;
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain."

He ceased; and Satan staid not to reply,
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity and force renewed
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
Into the wild expanse, and through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environed, wins his way; harder beset
And more endangered than when Argo passed

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Through Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks,
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunned
Charybdis, and by the other Whirlpool steered.
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on. With difficulty and labour he;
But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell,
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain,
Following his track (such was the will of Heaven)
Paved after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulf

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Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,

From Hell continued, reaching the utmost Orb

Of this frail World; by which the Spirits perverse

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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

Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
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 the empyreal Heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorned
Of living sapphire, once his native seat,
And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendent World, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accurst, and in a cursed hour, he hies.

THE END OF THE SECOND BOOK

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