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He rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray,
By which he reigns: Next him high arbiter
Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss,
The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mix'd
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds;
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell, and look'd a while,
Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peald
With noises loud and rụinous (to compare
Great things with small), than when Bellona storms,
With all her battering engines bent to rase
Some capital city; or less than if this frame
Of Heaven were falling, and these elements
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The steadfast earth. At last his sail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides
Audacious; but, that seat soon failing, meets
A vast vacuity: All unawares
Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb down he drops
Ten thousand fathom deep; and to this hour
Down had been falling, had not by ill chance
The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,

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Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried him
As many miles aloft: That fury staid,
Quench'd in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,
Nor good dry land: Nigh founder'd on he fares,
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,
Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.
As when a griffin, through the wilderness
With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
The guarded gold : So eagerly thé Fiend
O'er bog, or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,
With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,
And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies:
At length a universal hubbub wild
Of stunning sounds, and voices all confused,
Borne through the hollow dark, assaults bis ear
With loudest vehemence: Thither he plies,
Undaunted to meet there whatever Power
Or Spirit of the nethermost abyss
Might in that noise reside, of whom to ask
Which way the nearest coast of darkness lies
Bordering on light; when straight behold the throne
Of Chaos, and his dark, pavilion spread
Wide on the wasteful deep; with him enthroned
Sat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,
The consort of his reign; and by them stood
Orcus and Hades, and the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon; Rumour next and Chance,
And Tumult and Confusion all embroil'd,
And Discord with a thousand various mouths.

To whom Satan turning boldly, thus: Ye Powers
And Spirits of this nethermost abyss,
Chaos and ancient Night! I come no spy,
With purpose to explore or to disturb
The secrets of your realm ; but, by constraint
Wandering this darksome desert, as my way
Lies through your spacious empire up to light,
Alone, and without guide, half lost, I seek
What readiest path leads where your gloomy bounds
Confine with Heaven; or if some other place,
From your dominion won, the etherial King
Possesses lately, thither to arrive
I travel this profound; direct my course;
Directed, no mean recompense it brings
To your behoof: if I that region lost,
All usurpation thence expell’d, reduce
To her original darkness, and your sway
(Which is my present journey), and once more
Erect the standard there of ancient Night;
Yours be the advantage all, mine the revenge!

Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,
With faltering speech and visage incomposed,
Answer'd. I know thee, stranger, who thou art,
That mighty leading Angel, who of late
Made head against Heaven'sKing, though overthrown.
I saw and heard; for such a numerous host
Fled not in silence through the frighted deep,
With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,
Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gates
Pour'd out by millions her victorious bands
Pursuing. I upon my frontiers here

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Keep residence; if all I can will serve,
That little which is left so to defend,
Encroach'd on still through your intestine broils
Weakening the sceptre of old Night: first Hell,
Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath ;
Now lately Heaven, and Earth, another world,
Hung o'er my realm, link'd in a golden chain
To that side Heaven from whence your legions fell:
If that way be your walk, you have not far;
So much the nearer danger; go, and speed !
Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are niy gain.

He ceased; and Satan staid not to reply;
But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,
With fresh alacrity, and force renew'd,
Springs upward, like a pyramid of fire,
Into the wild expanse; and, through the shock
Of fighting elements, on all sides round
Environ’d, wins his way; harder beset
And more endanger'd, than when Argo pass'd
Through Bosporus, betwixt the justling rocks:
Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd
Charybdis, and by the other whirlpool steer'd.
So he with difficulty and labour hard
Moved on: with difficulty and labour he;
But, he once pass’d, soon after, when man fell,
Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain
Following his track, such was the will of Heaven,
Paved after him a broad and beaten way
Over the dark abyss, whose boiling gulf
Tamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,

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From Hell continued, reaching the utmost orb
Of this frail world; by which the Spirits perverse
With easy intercourse pass to and fro
To tempt or punish mortals, except whom
God, and good Angels, guard by special grace.
But now at last the sacred influence
Of light appears, and from the walls of Heaven
Shoots far into the bosom of dim night
A glimmering dawn; Here Nature first begins
Her furthest verge, and Chaos to retire
As from her outmost works a broken foe
With tumult less, and with less hostile din;
That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,
Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light;
And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holds
Gladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;
Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weigbs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off the empyreal Heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorn'd
Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by, banging in a golden chain,
This pendent world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,
Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he bies.

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