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Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate,
With head uplift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blazed; his other parts besides,
Prone on the flood, extended long and large,
Lay floating many a rood.

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature; on each hand the flames,

Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and, rolled
In billows, leave in the midst a horrid vale.

Then with expanded wings he steers his flight
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air

That felt unusual weight, 'till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burned
With solid, as the lake with liquid, fire.

He and his compeer, who followed, derived some comfort from the change; and Satan welcomed with brave despair his new abode.

They now determined to summon their companions, who still lay astonished on the oblivious pool; and the arch-fiend moved towards the shore


his ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,
Behind him cast: the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening from the top of Fesolé,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers or mountains, in her spotty globe.
His spear-to equal which the tallest pine
Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast
Of some great admiral, were but a wand.
Onward he strode,

till on the beach
Of that inflamèd sea he stood, and called
His legions, angel forms, who lay entranced,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks

In Vallombrosa.


He called so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of hell resounded.

They heard his reproachful voice, and ashamed of their prostration, sprang upon the wing:

As when the potent rod
Of Amram's son, in Egypt's evil day,
Waved round the coast, up called a pitchy cloud
Of locusts, warping on the eastern wind,
That o'er the realm of impious Pharaoh hung
Like night, and darkened all the land of Nile:
So numberless were those bad angels seen

Hovering on wing under the cope of hell,
"Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires.

Among them were the leaders of godlike shape, whose heavenly names are unknown, having been blotted out and rased by their rebellion from the Book of Life. On earth they afterwards become famous by other designations throughout the heathen world. First came Moloch, horrid king, whose altars were besmeared by the Ammonites with the blood of children; then Chemos, or Peor, the dread of Moab; then the Baälim and Ashtaroth; then she whom the Phoenicians called


Astarté, queen of heaven, with crescent horns; To whose bright image nightly by the moon Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs. Ι Then Thammuz, lamented annually by the Syrian damsels; and then Dagon, the sea-monster, half-man, half-fish; and Rimmon, whose altar smoked in fair Damascus. After these came the train of gods who abused with their sorceries not only Egypt, but Israel; and last of all, Belial, than whom a” spirit more detestable fell not from heaven.


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These were the chief in rank; yet a crowd still followed, of names renowned in Greece, in the Hesperides, and in the Celtic isles. But the looks of all were downcast, till at the command of the arch-fiend, Azazel unfurled the imperial ensign, which streamed like a meteor to the wind, amid the sound of martial trumpets; whereat

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the universal host up-sent

A shout that tore hell's concave; and beyond, Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. Instantaneously a thousand banners rose soil, pass in review before


into the

brilliant array, marching over the burnt soil war, and the

their chief.

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He, above the rest
In shape and gesture proudly eminent,uit
Stood like a tower: his form had yet not lost
All her original brightness, nor appeared
Less than archangel ruined, and the excess
Of glory obscured; as when the sun, new-risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations, and with fear of change
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone
Above them all the archangel: but his face
Deep scars of thunder had intrenched, and care
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows
Of dauntless courage and considerate pride,
Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast
Signs of remorse and passion, to behold

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The fellows of his crime,
faithful how they stood,
Their glory withered; as when heaven's fire
Hath scathed the forest oaks, or mountain pines,
With singed top, their stately growth, though bare,
Stands on the blasted heath.

Addressing them in a brief speech, full of ardour and encouragement, he alluded to a tradition in heaven, of the intention of the Almighty to create a new world, and plant in it a generation, to be favoured even as the angels, and darkly hinted at the opportunity of revenge this might afford.

He spake; and, to confirm his words, out-flew
Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
Of mighty cherubim: the sudden blaze 1
Far round illumined hell;

and their shout of defiance rose towards the vault of heaven. A band was now detached for the construction of a mighty edifice, under the orders of Mulciber:

Anon, out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet;

and in this Pandemonium, the capital of the fiends, the whole host was summoned to meet for consultation. The spacious hall was speedily filled, from the floor to the roof, brushed with the hiss of rustling wings.

So thick the airy crowd

Swarmed, and were straitened; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass earth's giant sons,
Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow room
Throng numberless; like that pygmean race
Beyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;

At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

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High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or, where the gorgeous East, with richest hand,
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat.

After stating to the assembly the purpose for which they were
convened, he demanded the opinions of his compeers as to the
policy that should be pursued. Moloch was for open war; while
Belial counselled not peace, but sloth. Mammon preferred the
riches and tranquillity of hell to submission in heaven, and advised
inaction; and so acceptable was the advice to the dismayed
multitude, that they received it with a universal shout of applause.
Which when Beelzebub perceived, than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat, with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;

And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies. His look
Drew audience and attention still as night,
Or summer's noontide air.

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He opposed immediate war; he opposed slothful peace; he opposed submission: his counsel was to follow out the idea that had already been mooted-to inquire into the nature and condition of the new world they had all heard of; to expel or seduce to revolt its inhabitants; and thus, obtaining a footing nearer their ancient seat, to have the chance of re-entering heaven, or at least of taking up their abode in some mild zone, not unvisited of heaven's fair light. This proposal received universal assent; and he went on to inquire what messenger should be sent on espial :—

But first, whom shall we send

In search of this new world? whom shall we find
Sufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feet
The dark, unbottomed, infinite abyss,
And through the palpable obscure find out
His uncouth way; or spread his airy flight,
Upborne with indefatigable wings,
Over the vast abrupt?

The council heard the question in silence; till at length Satan offered himself for the adventure, and their dismay relieved—

at once with him they rose:

Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote.

The host celebrated the occasion with such enjoyments as may exist in hell; while some of them, dividing into squadrons, pursued the course of four infernal rivers that poured their streams into the burning lake.

Thus roving on,

In confused march forlorn, the adventurous bands,
With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,

Viewed first their lamentable lot, and found
No rest. Through many a dark and dreary vale
They passed, and many a region dolorous;
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp,

Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death;
A universe of death, 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, unutterable, and worse

Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conceived,
Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire.

Satan meanwhile pursues his solitary flight towards the gates of hell; and these at length are reached by the flying fiend, who finds them thrice threefold-three of brass, three of iron, three of adamantine rock, and all encircled with unconsuming fire. Before the gates there sat two shapes one half-woman, half-serpent, armed with a mortal sting, and a girdle of hell-hounds round her waist barking incessantly.

The other shape,
If shape it might be called that shape had none
Distinguishable, in member, joint, or limb;

Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,
For each seemed either: black it stood as night,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell,

And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head,
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.

This latter answered the proud challenge of the fiend with equal pride, and menaces that might have stricken any spirit less undaunted.

So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape,
So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deform. On the other side,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.


The two equally-matched champions prepared to encounter, and hell grew darker at their frown, when suddenly the snaky sorceress arose, and with terrible outcry rushed between them. She declared herself to be Sin, the miraculous offspring of Satan himself; and the other to be Death, the incestuous son of an incestuous father. On this the fiend, calming his wrath, informed her of the nature of his present errand, in the success of which he said they were themselves interested, as the new world would supply an abundant harvest for Sin and Death. The promised bribe

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