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bas-672 Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deeds What it intends ; till first I know of thee, What thing thou art, thus double-formed; and why In this infernal 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 replied. 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 fasť 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 seis'd All the host of Heaven; back they recoil'd afraid At first, and called 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 enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st With me in secret, that my womb conceir'd

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A growing burden. Mean while war arose,
And fields were fought in Heaven; wherein remain'd
(For what could else ?) to our Almighty Foe
Clear victory; to our part loss and rout,
Through all the empyréan: 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 odious 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 my inbred enemy
Forth issued, brandishing his fatal dart
Made to destroy! I fled, and cried out Death!
Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sigh'd
From all her caves, and back resounded Deuth.
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

you. you 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 rest or intermissson 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 smooth. Dear Daughter! since thou claim'st me for thy sire, And my fair son here show'st me, the dear pledge Of daliance had with thee in Heaven, and joys Then sweet, now sad to mention, through dire change Befallen us, unforeseen, unthought of; know, I come no enemy, but to set free

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From out this dark and dismal house of pain
Both him and thee, and all the heavenly host
Of Spirits, that, in our just 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 unfounded deep, and through the void immense
To search with wandering quest a place foretold
Should be, and, by concurring signs, ere now
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 remov'd,
Lest Heaven, surcharg'd with potent multitude,
Might hap to move new broils. Be this or aught
Than this more secret now design'd, I haste
To know; and, this once known, shall soon return,
And bring ye to the place where thou and Death
Shall dwell at ease,

and and down unseen
Wing silently the buxom air, imbalm’d
With odours ; there ye shall be fed and fillid
Immeasurably, all things shall be your prey.
He ceas’d, for both seem'd highly pleas'd, and Death
Grinn’d horribly a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be fill'd; and blest his maw
Destin'd to that good hour: no less rejoic'd
His mother bad, and thus bespake her sire.

The key of this infernal pit by due,

up

VOL. II.

75702.5 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 I owe to his commands above Who hates me, and has bither thrust me down Into this gloom of Tartarus profound, To sit in hateful office here confin'd, Inhabitants of Heaven, and heavenly-born, Here in perpetual agony and pain, With terrours and with clamours compass'd round 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 But 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 turris The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar Of massy

iron or solid rock with ease

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