Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Confounded, though immortal : But his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain,

55
Torments him : round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mix'd with obdurate pride and steadfast hate :
At once, as far as Angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild :

60 A dungeon horrible on all sides round As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames No light; but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe, Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace 65 And rest can never dwell; hope never comes That comes to all; but torture without end Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed With ever burning sulphur unconsumed: Such place Eternal Justice had prepared

70 For those rebellious; here their prison ordain'd In utter darkness, and their portion set As far removed from God and light of Heaven As from the centre thrice to the utmost pole. 0, how unlike the place from whence they fell! 75 There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelm'd With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire, He soon discerns; and weltering by his side One next himself in power, and next in crime, Long after known in Palestine, and named 80 Beelzebub. To whom the Archenemy, And thence in Heaven call'd tan, with bold words Breaking the horrid silence, thus began.

If thou be he; but o, how fallen! how changed From him, who, in the happy realms of light, 85 Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshine Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league, United thoughts and counsels, equal hope And hazard in the glorious enterprise, Join'd with me once, now misery hath join'd 90

In equal ruin! Into what pit thou seest,
From what height fallen; so much the stronger proved
He with his thunder. and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,
Nor what the potent victor in his ragé

95
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,
Though changed in outward lustre, that fix'd mind,
And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along 100
Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d,
That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What though the field be lost ?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,

106 And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield, And what is else not to be overcome ; That glory never shall his wrath or might 110 Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace With suppliant knee, and deify Iris power, Who from the terror of this arm so late Doubted his empire; that were low indeed, That were an ignominy, and shame beneath 115 This downfal: since, by fate, the strength of Gods And this empyreal substance cannot fail ; Since through experience of this great event In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced, We may with more successful hope resolve To wage, by force or guile, eternal war Irreconcilable to our grand Foe, Who now triumphs, and, in the excess of joy Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of Heaven.

So spake the apostate Angel, though in pain, 125 Vaunting aloud, but rack'd with deep despair : And him thus answer'd soon his bold compeer.

O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers,

120

That led the embattled Seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and in dreadful deeds 130
Fearless endanger'd Heaven's perpetual king,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow, and foul defeat, 135
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty hust
In horrible destruction laid thus low,
As far as Gods and heavenly essencos
Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains
Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

140
Though all our glory extinct, and happy state
Here swallow'd up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe Almighty, since no less
Than such could have o’erpower'd such force as ours)
Have left us this our spirit and strength entire

146 Strongly to suffer and support our pains, That we may sɔ suffice his vengeful ire, Or do him mightier service as his thralls By right of war, whate'er his business be, 150 Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire, Or do his errands in the gloomy deep; What can it then avail, though yet we fool Strength undiminish’d, or eternal being, To undergo eternal punishment ?

155 Whereto with speedy words the Archfiend replied.

Fallen cherub! to be weak is miserable,
Doing or suffering : but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,

160
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil ; 165
Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhaps

Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry victor hath recallid
His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

170
Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,
Shot after us in storm, o'erblown, hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage, 175
Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep
Let us not slip the occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury, yield it from our Foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild, 180
The scat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
From off the tossing of these fiery waves;
There rest, if any rest can harbour there ; 185
And, reassembling our afflicted Powers, 1
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our Enemy; our own loss how repair;
How overcome this dire calamity;
What reinforcement we may gain from hope ; 190
If not, what resolution from despair.

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, 195 Lay floating many a rood; in bulk as huge As whom the fables name of monstrous size, Titanian, or Earth-born, that war'd on Jove; Briarëos or Typhon, whom the den By ancient Tarsus held; or that seabeast

200 Leviathan, which God of all his works Created hugest that swim the ocean stream: Him, haply, slumbering on the Norway foam The pilot of some small night-fou:der'd skiff

Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell, 205
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,
Moors by his side under the lec; while night
Invests the sea, and wished morn delays:
So stretch'd out huge in length the Archfiend lay,
Chain'd on the burning lake: nor ever thence 210
Had risen, or heaved his head; but that the will
And high permission of all-ruling Heaven
Lest hint at large to his own dark designs ;
That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation, while he sought 215
Evil to others; and, enraged, might see
How all his malice served but to bring forth
Infinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shown
On Man by him seduced; but on himself
Treble confusion, wrath, and vengeance, pour'd: 220
Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty stature : on each hand the flames,
Driven backward, slope their pointing spires, and rollid
In billows, leave i’ the midst a horrid vale.
Then with expanded wings he steers his flight 225
Aloft, incumbent on the dusky air,
That felt unusual weight; till on dry land
He lights, if it were land that ever burn'd
With solid, as the lake with liquid fire :
And such appear'd in hue, as when the force 230
Of subterranean wind transports a hill
Torn from Pelorus, or the shatter'd side
Of thundering Ætna, whose combustible
And fuel'd entrails thence conceiving fire,
Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds, 235
And leave a singed bottom all involved
With stench and smoko: such resting found the sole
Of unbless'd feet. Him follow'd his next mate :
Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian flood
As Gods, and by their own recover'd strength, 240
Not by the sufferance of supernal Power.

Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,

1

« ПретходнаНастави »