Imatges de pàgina

And Lichas from the top of Oeta threw 545
Into th' Euboic sea. Others more mild,
Retreated in a filent valley, sing
With notes angelical to many a harp
Their own heroic deeds and hapless fall
By doom of battel; and complain that Fate 550
Free virtue should inthral to force or chance.
Their song was partial, but the harmony
(What could it less when spi'rits immortal sing?)
Suspended Hell, and took with ravishment
The thronging audience. In discourse more sweet 555
(For eloquence the soul, song charms the sense,)
Others apart sat on a hill retird,
In thoughts more elevate, and reason'd high
of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
Fix'd fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,

And found no end, in wand'ring mazes loft.
Of good and evil much they argued then,
Of happiness and final misery,
Passion and apathy, and glory' and shame,
Vain wisdom all and false philosophy : 565
Yet with a pleasing forcery could charm
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm th' obdured breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel..
Another part in squadrons and grofs bands, 570
On bold adventure to discover wide
That dismal world, if any

clime perhaps

Might yield them easier habitation, bend
Four ways their Aying march, along the banks
Of four infernal rivers, that disgorge

Into the burning lake their baleful streams;
Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;
Sad Acheron of forrow, black and deep;
Cocytus, .nam'd of lamentation loud
Heard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegethon, 580
Whose waves of torrent fire in flame with rage.
Far off from these a now and silent stream,
Lethe the river of oblivion 'rolls
Her watry labyrinth, whereof who drinks,
Forthwith his former state and be'ing forgets, 585
Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.
Beyond this food a frozen continent
Lies dark and wild, beat with perpetual storms
Of whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm land
Thaws not, but gathers hcap, and ruin seems 590
Of ancient pile; or else deep snow and ice,
A gulf profound as that Serbonian bog
Betwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,
Where armies whole have funk: the parching air
Burns frore, and cold performs th' effect of fire. 595
Thither by harpy-footed furies halid
At certain revolutions all the damn'd
Are brought, and feel by turns the bitter change
Of fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,
From beds of raging fire to starve in ice 600


Their soft ethereal warmth, and their to pine
Immoveable, infix'd, and frozen round,
Periods of time, thence hurried back to fire.
They ferry over this Lethean found
Both to and fro, their sorrow to augment,
And with and struggle, as they pass, to reach
The tempting stream, with one small drop to lose
In sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe,
All in one moment, and so near the brink;
But Fate withstands, and to oppose th' attempt 610
Medusa with Gorgonian terror guards
The ford, and of itself the water flies
All taste of living wight, as once it fled
The lip of Tantalus. Thus roving on
In confus'd march forlorn, th' advent'rous bands 615
With shudd'ring horror pale, and eyes aghast,
View'd first their lamentable lot, and found
No rest : through many a dark and dreary vale
They pass’d, and many a region dolorous,
O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp, 620
Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and hades of
A universe of death, which God bycurse [death,
Created ev'il, for evil only good
Where all life dies, death lives, and nature breeds,
Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things, 625
Abominable, inutterable, and worse
Than fables yet have feignd, or fear conceiv'd,
Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras dire.

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Mean while the adversary' of God and man, Satan with thoughts inflam'd of hig'helt defign, 630 Puts on swift wings, and tow’ards the gates of Hell Explores his folitary Aight; sometimes He scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left, Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soars Up to the fiery concave towring high. As when far off at sea a fleet defcry'a Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds Close failing from Bengala or the iles Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood

640 Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape Ply stemming nightly tow’ard the pole. So seem'd Far off the Aying Fiend : at last appear Hell bounds high reaching tu the horrid roof, And thrice three-fold the gates; three folds were brass, Three iron, three of adamantin rock,

646 Impenetrable, impal'd with circling fire, Yet unconsum'd. Before the gates there fat On either side a formidable shape; The one seem'd woman to the waist, and fair, 650 But ended foul in many a scaly fold Voluminous and valt, a ferpent arm'd With mortal sting: about her middle round A cry of hell-hounds never ceasing bark With wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rung A hideous pcal; yet, when they list, would creep,


If ought difturb'd their noise into her womb,
And kennel there, yet there still bark'd and howlid,
Within unseen. Far less abhorr'd than these
Vex'd Scylla bathing in the sea that parts 660
Calabria from the hoarse Trinacrian More :
Nor uglier follow the Night-hag, when callid
in secret, riding through the air she comes,
Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance
With Lapland witches, while the lab'ring moon 663
Eclipses at their charms. The other shape,
If hape it might be callid that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be callid that shadow seem'd,
For each seem'd either; black it stood as Night, 670
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seem'd his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at band, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast 675
With horrid strides, Hell trembled as he strode.
Th' undaunted Fiend what this night be admir'd,
Admir'd, not fear'd; God and his son except,
Created thing nought valued he nor shunn'd;
And with disdainful look thus first began. 680

Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That dar's, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front ath wart my way
To yonder gates through them I mean to pass,

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