Obrazy na stronie

They pass'd, and many a region dolorous,
C’er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,
Rocks, caves, lakes, fems, bogs, dens, and shades
of death,
A universe ofdeath; which God by curse
Created evil, for evil only good,
Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feign'd, or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.
Meanwhile, the adversary of God and man,
Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of highest design,
Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of
Explores his solitary flight: sometimes [Hell
He securs the right hand coast, sometimes the

left; Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars 1 p to the fiery concave towering high. As when far offat sea a fleet descried Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds lose 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, *ly stemming nighly toward the pole: so seem'd 'ar 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 mpenetrable, impaid with circling fire, set unconsum'd. Before the gates there sat }n either side aformidable shape; The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair; but ended foul in many a scaly fold oluminous and vast ; a serpent arm'd With mortal sting: About her middle round cry of Hell-hounds never ceasing bark’d With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung hideous peal; yet, when they list, would

creep, faught disturb’d their noise, into her womb, ind kennel there; yet there still bark'd and


Within unseen. Farless abhorr'd than these sex'd Scylla, bathing in the sea that parts 'alabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore: for uglier follow the night-hag, when, call’d n secret, riding through the air she comes, ur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance With Lapland witches, while the labouring

Moon clipses at their charms. The other shape, fshape it might be call'd that shape had none listinguishable in member, joint, or limb; r substance might be call'd that shadow seem’d, or each seem’d either; black it stood as night, ierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell nd shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head he likeness of a kingly crown had on. atan was now at hand, and from his seat he monster moving onward came as fast With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode. he undaunted fiend what this might be ad

mir’d, dmir’d, not fear'd; God and his Son except, reated thing naught valued he, nor shunn'd; nd with disdainful look thus first began.

“Whence and what art thou, execrable shape, That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated front athwart my way Toyonder gates ? through them I mean to pass, That be assur’d, without leave ask'd of thee: Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof, Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of Heaven.” To whom the goblin full of wrath replied. “Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he, Who first broke peace in Heaven, and faith, till then Unbroken ; and in proud rebellious arms Drew after him the third part of Heaven’s sons Conjūr'd against the Highest; for which both thou And they, outcast from God are here condemn'd To waste eternal days in woe and pain * Andreckon'stthou thyself with spirits of Heaven, Hell-doom'd, and breath'st defiance here and scorm, Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more, Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment, False fugitive, and to thy speed add wings, Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart Strange horróur seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.” So spake the grisly terrour, and in shape, So speaking and so threatening, grew ten-fold More dreadful and deform. On the other side, Incens'd with indignation, Satan stood Unterrified, and like a comet burn’d, That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head Levell'd his deadly aim ; their fatal hands No second stroke intend; and such a frown Each cast at the other,as when two black clouds, With Heaven's artillery fraught,come rattling on Over the Caspian, then stand front to front, Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow To join their dark encounter in mid air: So frown'd the mighty combatants, that Hell Grew darker at their frown; so match'd they stood; For never but once more was either like To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung, Had not the snaky sorceress, that sat Fast by Hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. “O father, what intends thy hand,” she cried, “Against thy only son? What fury, O son, Possesses thee to bend that mortal dart Against thy father's head and know'st for whom ; For him who sits above and laughs the while At thee ordain’d his drudge, to execute Whate'er his wrath, which he calls justice, bids; His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both.” She spake, and at her words the hellish pest Forbore; then these to her Satan return'd. “So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strange Thou interposest, that my sudden hand, Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds What it intends; till first I know of thee, ** What thing thouart thus double-form'd; and why

In this infermal vale first met, thou call'st
Me father, and that phantasm call'st my son:
I know thee not, nor ever saw till now
Sight more detestable than him and thee.”
To whom thus the portress of Hell-gate re-
“Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem
Now in thine eye so foul ? once deem'd so fair
In Heaven, when at the assembly, and in sight
Of all the seraphim with thee combin’d
In bold conspiracy against Heaven's King,
All on a sudden miserable pain
Surpris’d thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swum
In darkness, while thy head flames thick and
Threw forth: till, on the left side opening wide,
Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright,
Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess arm’d,
Out of thy head I sprung: amazement seiz'd
All the host of Heaven; back they recoil'd afraid
At first, and call'd me Sin, and for a sign
Portentous held me; but, familiar grown,
I pleas'd, and with attractive graces won
The most averse, thee chiefly, who full oft
Thyself in me thy perfect image viewing
Becam'st enamcur'd, and such joy thou took'st
With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd
A growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,
And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein re-
: main’d
(For what could else?) to our Almighty Foe
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout,
Through all the empyrean ; down they fell
Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, down
Into this deep and in the general fall
I also ; at which time, this powerful key
Into my hand was given, with charge to keep
These gates for ever shut, which none can pass
Without my opening. Pensive here I sat
Alone; but long I sat not, till my womb,
Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown,
Prodigious motion felt, and rueful throes.
At last this cdious offspring whom thou seest,
Thine own begotten, breaking violent way
Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and

pain Distorted, all my nether shape thus grew Transform'd : but he myinbred enemy Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart Made to destroy I fled and clied out Death! Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd From all her caves, and back resounded 1)eath 1 I fled, but he pursued, (though more, it seems, Inflam'd with lust than rage) and, swifter far, Me overtook his mother all dismay’d, And in embraces forcible and foul Ingendering with me, of that rape begot These yelling monsters, that with ceaseless cry Surround me, as thou saw'st, hourly conceiv'd And hourly born, with sorrow infinite To me; for, when they list, into the womb That bred them they return, and howl and

- gnaw My bowels, their repast; then bursting forth Afresh with conscious terrours vex me round, That restor intermission none I find. Before mine eyes in opposition sits Grim Death, my son and foe; who sets them on, And me his parent would full soon devour

For want of other prey, but that he knows
His end with mine involv’d; and knows that I
Should prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,
Whenever that shall be; so Fate pronounc'd.
But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shun
His deadly arrow; neither vainly hope
To be invulnerable in those bright arms,
Though temper'd heavenly; for that mortal
dint, -
Save he who reigns above, none can resist.”
She finish'd; and the subtle fiend his lore
Soon learn'd, now milder, and thus answer'd
“Dear daughter,since thou claim'stmeforthy
And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge
Of dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys
Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire
Befall'm us, unforeseen, unthought of ; know,
I come no enemy, but to set free
From out this dark and dismal house of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host
Of spirits, that, in ourjust pretences arm’d,
Fell with us from on high: from them I go
This uncouth errand sole; and one for all
Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread
The unsounded deep, and through the void im-
naense -
To search with wondering quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by coucurring signs, erenow
Created vast and round, a place of bliss
In the pourlieus of Heaven, and therein plac'd
A race of upstart creatures, to supply
Perhaps our vacant room; though more re-
Lest Heaven, surcharg'd with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this oraught
Than this more secret now design'd, I haste
To know; and, this once known, shall soon re-
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease, and up and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalm'd
With odours; there ye shall be fed and fill’d
Immeasurably; all things shall be your prey."
He ceas'd, for both seem’d highly pleas'd, and
Grim'd horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fill'd; and blest his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoie'd
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire.
“The key of this infernal pit by due,
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'ermatch'd by living might.
But what owe 1 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 confin'd,
Inhabitant of Heaven, and heavenly-born,
Here in perpetual agony and pain,
With terrours and with clamours compass'd
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

Rut 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,
Forthwith the huge portcullis high up drew,
Which but herself, not all the Stygian powers
Could once have mov’d; then in the key-hole
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 open'd, but to shut
Excell'd her power; the gates wide open stood,
That with extended wings a banner'd host,
Under spread ensigns marching, might pass
With horse and chariots rank'd 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
Thesecrets of the hoary deep; a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension, where length, breadth, and
And time, and place, are lost; where eldest
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
Strive here for mastery, and to battle bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag
Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light-arm'd or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or
Swarm populous, un-number'd 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 ad-
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,
3utall these in their pregnant causes mix'd
Confus'dly, 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
St. od on the brink of Hell, and look’d a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peal’d
With noises loud and ruinous, (to compare
Great things with small) than when Bellona
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 stedfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity: all unawares [drops
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he
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 staid,
Quench'd in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: nigh founder'd 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, [way,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or
flies ;
At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confus'd,
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
Of Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful deep : with him enthron'd
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Ades, and the dreaded name
Qf Demogorgon!, Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.
To whom Satan turning boldly, thus: “ Ye
And spirits of this methermost 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 etherial 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 presentjourney) and once more
Frect 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 incompos'd,

Answer'd. “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 Pour'd 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, Fncroach'd on still through your intestine broils Weakening the sceptre of old Night : first Hell, Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath ; Now lately Heaven and Earth, another world, Hungo'er my realm, link'd 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 ceas'd ; and Satan staid not to reply, lout, 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 Argo pass'd Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks : Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn’d Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd. So he with difficulty and labour hard Mov’don, with difficulty and labour he ; But, he once past, soon after, when man fell, Strange alteration 1 Sin and Death amain Following his track, such was the will of Heaven, Pav'd after him a broad and beaten way Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf Tamely endur'd a bridge of wondrous length, From Hell continued reaching the 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 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 tumultless, 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 through 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, undetermin'd square or round, with opal towers and battlements adorm'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, Accurs'd, and in a cursed hour he hies,


The ARcument.

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; foretels the success of Satan in perverting mankind, clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Manfree, 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 kath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to godhead, and therefore, with all his progeny, devoted to death, must die unless some 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 hymning to their harps in full quire, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan 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 angel; 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.

Hair, holy Light, offspring of Heaven, first-
Or of the Eternal coetermal beam [born,
May I express thee unblam'd 2 since God is
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright cffluence of brightessence increate-
Or hear'st thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
whose fountain who shall tell ? 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 re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness
With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre,
Isung of Chaos and eternal Night;
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,

Though hard and rare: theel revisit safe, And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, Or dim suffusion veil’d. Yet not the more Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt Clear spring, or shady grove, or summy hill, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow, Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget Those other two equall'd with me in fate, So were 1 equall'd with them in renown, Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides, And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old: Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird Sings darkling, and in shadiest coverthid Tunes her nocturmal note. Thus with the year Seasons return; but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn, Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose, Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine; But cloud instead, and ever-during dark Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of mem Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair Presented with a universal blank Of Nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd, And wisdom at one entrance quite shutout. So much the rather thou, celestial Light, Shine inward, and the mind through all her wers Irradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thence Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell Of things invisible to mortal sight. Now had the Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyréam where he sits [eye, High thron’d above all height, bent down his His own works and their works at once to view : About him all the sanctities of Heaven Stood thick as stars, and from his sight received Beatitude past utterance; on his right The radiant image of his glory sat, His only Son; on Earth he first beheld Our two first parents, yet the only two Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd, Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love, In blissful solitude; he then survey'd Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there Coasting the wall of Heaven on this side Night In the dun air sublime, and ready now To stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet, On the bare ontside of this world, that seem'd Firm land imbosom'd without firmament, Uncertain which, in ocean or in air. Him God beholding from his prospect high, Wherein past, present, future, he beholds, Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake. “Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our adversary 2 whoin no bounds Prescrib'd, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss wide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seems

On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now,
Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his

way Not far off Heaven, in the precincts of light, Directly towards the new created world, And Man there plac'd, with purpose to assay If him by force he can destroy, or, worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert; For Man will hearken to his glozing lies, And easily trangress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault Whose but his own Ingrate, he had of me All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all the ethereal powers And spirits, both them who stood, and them who fail'd; Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have given sincere Oftrue allegiance, constant faith or love, Where only what they needs must do appear'd, Not what they would what praise could they receive * What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When will and reason (reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, Not me? They therefore, as to right belong’d, So were created, nor can justly accuse Their maker, or their making, or their fate, As if predestination over-rul’d Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov’d certain unforeknown. So without least impúlse or shadow of fate, Or aught by me immutably foreseen, They trespass, authors to themselves in all Both what they judge, and what they choose; for so I form'd them free: and free they must remain, Till they enthrall themselves; I else must change Their mature, and revoke the high decree Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd Their freedom ; they themselves ordain'd their fall. The first sort by their own suggestion fell, Self-tempted, self-deprav'd : Man falls, deceiv'd By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace, The other mone: in mercy and justice both, Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel : But mercy, first and last, shall brightestshine.” Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fill’d All Heaven, and in the blessed spirits elect Sense of new joy ineffable diffus’d. Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Most glorious: in him all his Father shone Substantially express'd; and in his face Divine compassion visibly appear'd, Love without end, and without measure grace, Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake:

« PoprzedniaDalej »