Imatges de pÓgina

From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
Came to the sea, and, over Hellespont
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined,

And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
Pontifical-a ridge of pendent rock
Over the vexed 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

320 The confines met of empyrean Heaven And of this world, and on the left hand Hell, With long reach interposed; 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 ! Disguised he came; but those his children dear

330 Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise. He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk Into the wood fast by, and, changing shape To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded Upon her husband-saw their shame that sought Vain covertures; but, when he saw descend The Son of God to judge them, terrified He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun The present-fearing, guilty, what His wrath

340 Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned By night, and, listening where the hapless pair Sat in their sad discourse and various plaint, Thence gathered his own doom, which understood



Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned,
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhoped
Met who to meet him .came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increased.
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 divined
(My heart, which by a secret harmony
Still moves with thine, joined in connection sweet)
That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks
Now also evidence, but straight I felt-
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt-
That I must after thee with this thy son;
Such fatal consequence unites us three.
Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
Detain from following thy illustrious track.
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us empowered
To fortify thus far, and overlay
With this portentous bridge the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world ; thy virtue hath won
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained,
With odds, what war hath lost, and fully avenged
Our foil in Heaven. Here thou shalt monarch reign,
There didst not; there let Him still victor sway,
As battle hath adjudged, from this new world
Retiring, by His own doom alienated,
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world,




Or try thee now more dangerous to His throne.”

Whom thus the prince of darkness answered glad :-
“Fair daughter, and thou, son and grandchild both,
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
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm
Hell and this world-one realm, one continent
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while I
Descend through darkness, on your road with ease
To my associate powers, them to acquaint
With these successes, and with them rejoice,
You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth
Dominion exercise and in the air,
Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declared ;
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create
Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
Issuing from me. On your joint vigour now
My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong.

So saying, he dismissed them; they with speed
Their course through thickest constellations held,
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan,
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffered. The other way Satan went down
The causey to Hell-gate ; on either side
Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed,
And with rebounding surge the bars assailed,
That scorned his indignation. Through the gate,


410 420


Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed,
And all about found desolate; for those
Appointed to sit there had left their charge,
Flown to the upper world ; the rest were all
Far to the inland retired, about the walls
Of Pandemonium, city and proud seat
Of Lucifer, so by allusion called
Of that bright star to Satan paragoned.
There kept their watch the legions, while the grand
In council sat, solicitous what chance
Might intercept their emperor sent; so he
Departing gave command, and they observed
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
Retires, or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
To Tauris or Casbeen; so these, the late
Heaven-banished host, left desert utmost Hell
Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch
Round their metropolis, and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurer from the search
Of foreign worlds. He through the midst unmarked,
In show plebeian angel militant
Of lowest order, passed, and, from the door
Of that Plutonian hall, invisible
Ascended his high throne, which, under state
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
Was placed in regal lustre. Down a while
He sat, and round about him saw, unseen.
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter, clad
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter. All amazed
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld,
Their mighty chief returned : loud was the acclaim.



ye forth


Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers,
Raised from their dark divan, and with like joy
Congratulant approached him, who with hand
Silence, and with these words attention, won :

“Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers ! -
For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye, and declare ye now, returned,
Successful beyond hope, to lead
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accursed, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant! Now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
Little inferior, by my adventure hard
With peril great achieved. Long were to tell
What I have done, what suffered, with what pain
Voyaged the unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion-over which
By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved,
To expedite your glorious march; but I
Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride
The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild,
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting fate supreme ; thence how I found
The new-created world, which fame in Heaven
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful,
Of absolute perfection; therein man
Placed in a paradise, by our exile
Made happy. Him by fraud I have seduced
From his Creator, and, the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple! He, thereat
Offended—worth your laughter !-hath given up
Both His beloved man and all His world
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,

490 Without our hazard, labour, or alarm, To range in, and to dwell, and over man



« AnteriorContinua »