網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

“ Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs’d Above all cattle, each beast of the field ; Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go, And dust shall eat all the days of thy life. Between thee and the woman I will cause Enmity, and between thine and her seed; Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel."

So spake this oracle, then verified
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,
Prince of the air ; then, rising from his grave
Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd
In open show; and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan, long usurp'd;
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Ev'n he, who now foretold his fatal bruise :
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd.

“ Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
By thy conception ; children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth ; and to thy husband's will
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule."

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd. “ Because thou hast hearken'd to the voice of thy

wife, And eaten of the tree, concerning which I charg'd thee, saying, “Thou shalt not eat thereof;' Curs'd is the ground for thy sake ; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life ; Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth Unbid;

and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,

Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return."

So judg'd he Man, both judge and saviour sent;
And the instant stroke of death, denounc'd that day,
Remov'd far off'; then, pitying how they stood
Before him naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain’d not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
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. (Earth,

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on 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 given me large,
Beyond this deep : whatever draws me on,
Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
Powerful 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 power can separate.
But, lest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassable, impervious; let us try
Adventurous work, yet to thy power 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 the 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.”

Whom 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 :

VOL. II.

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 carcasses design'd
For death, the following day, in bloody tight :
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, [great)
Flew diverse ; and with power (their power was
Hovering upon the waters, what they met
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
Tost up and down, together crouded drove,
From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell:
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagin'd way
Beyond Petsöra 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 comparid,
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 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
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 empyrean 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 descried,
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

2

« 上一頁繼續 »