« PreviousContinue »
“ By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade 250 Inseparable, must with me along:
“ For Death from Sin no power can separate.
Stay his return, perhaps, over this gulf
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon : 265 “Go, whither fate, and inclination strong,
“ Leads thee: I shall not lag behind, nor err
“ The savour of death from all things there that live: 270 “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 ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, 275 Against the day of battle, to a field
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd
So scented the grim feature, and upturn'd 280 His nostril wide into the murky air,
Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
Flew diverse ; and with power (their power was great) 285 Hovering upon the waters, what they met
Solid or slimy, (as in raging sea
Toss'd up and down,) together crowded drove,
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse 290 Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagin'd way
As Delos, floating once : the rest his look
Deep to the roots of hell the gather'd beach
Over the foaming deep, high-arch'd-a bridge
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, 305 Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to hell.
So, if great things to small may be compar'd,
Came to the sea; and, over Hellespont
And scourg'd with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work, by wondrous art Pontifical,-a ridge of pendant rock,
Over the vex'd abyss, following the track 315 Of Satan to the self-same place where he
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
And chains, they made all fast—too fast they made, 320 And durable! And now, in little space,
325 And now their way to earth they had descried,
To Paradise first tending; when, behold!
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose :
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.
To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act 335 By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband-saw their shame that sought
He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun
Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
Thence gather'd his own doom; which understood, 345 Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to hell he now return'd;
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear. 350 Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
“O parent! these are thy magnific deeds355 " Thy trophies ! which thou view'st as not thine own;
“ Thou art their author, and prime architect;
“Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet) 360 “ That thou on earth hadst prosper'd, which thy looks
“Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
“ That I must after thee, with this thy son:
“Such fatal consequence unites us three.
“ Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
“ Within hell-gates till now: thou us empower'd 370 “ To fortify thus far, and overlay,
“ With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
“ With odds what war hath lost, and fully aveng'd 375 “Our foil in heaven: here thou shalt monarch reign
“ There didst not: there let him still victor sway,
“ And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
“ His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
Whom thus the prince of darkness answer'd glad :
“Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both, 385 High proof ye now have given to be the race
“Of Satan, (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of heaven's Almighty King,)
Amply have merited of me-of all
“ The infernal empire, that, so near heaven's door, 390 " Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
“ Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
“ Descend through darkness, on your road with ease, 395 “ To my associate Powers, them to acquaint
“ With these successes, and with them rejoice,
“There dwell, and reign in bliss: thence on the earth 400 “ Dominion exercise and in the air,
Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declar'd; “ Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill. • My substitutes I send ye, and create
“Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might 405 Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now
My hold of this new kingdom all depends;
Through Sin to Death expos'd by my exploit. “ If your joint power prevail, the affairs of hell
“ No detriment need fear. Go, and be strong !" 410 So saying, he dismiss'd them; they with speed
Their course through thickest constellations held,
Satan went down 415 The causey to hell-gate: on either side
Disparted Chaos, overbuilt, exclaim'd,
Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass’d, 420 And all about found desolate; for those
Appointed to sit there, had left their charge,
Of Pandemonium-city and proud seat 425 Of Lucifer, so by allusion callid
Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd :
Might intercept their emperor sent; so he 430 Departing gave command, and they observ'd.
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond 435 The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
To Taurus, or Casbeen; so these, the late