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As when he wash'd his servants' feet, so now 215
MEANWHILE ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on Earth, Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 230 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 235 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 240 By his ayengers, 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,
245 Or sympathy, or some connatural force, Pow'rful at greatest distance to unite With secret amity things of like kind By secretest conveyance. Thou Inseparable must with me along :
250 For Death from Sin po 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 255 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, 260 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
265 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
270 Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell
Against the day of battle, to a field,
275 Where armies lie encamp’d, come flying, lurid 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
waters, what they met 285 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
290 Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich Cathaian coast. The aggregated soill 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, 301 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.
jos 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, . 3! 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
31) 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
335 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
340 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
345 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 350 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 1 felt Though distant from thee, worlds between, yet felt That I must after thee with this thy son, Such fatal consequence unites us three :