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The undaunted fiend what this might be, admired,—
Admired, not feared: God and his Son except
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunned.
And with disdainful look thus first began.
'Whence and what art thou, execrable shape! That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance Thy miscreated front athwart my way To yonder, gates? through them I mean to pass, That be assured, without leave asked of thee: Retire, or taste thy folly; and learn by proof, Hell-born! not to contend with spirits of Heaven!'
To whom the goblin, full of wrath, replied. 'Art thou that traitor angel-art thou he, Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then Unbroken, and in proud rebellious arms Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons Conjured against the Highest, for which both thou And they, outcast from God, are here condemned To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
'And reckonest thou thyself with spirits of Heaven, Hell-doomed! and breath'st defiance here and scorn, Where I reign king, and, to inflame thee more, Thy king, and lord? Back to thy punishment,
False fugitive! and to thy speed add wings,
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before.'
So spake the grisly terror, and in shape, So speaking and so threat'ning, grew tenfold
More dreadful and deformed. On the other side.
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
Unterrified, and like a comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophicus huge
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair
Shakes pestilence and war.
Each at the head
Levelled his deadly aim their fatal hands
No second stroke intend; and such a frown.
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds
With heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow
To join their dark encounter in mid air,—
So frowned the mighty combatants, that Hell Grew darker at their frown; so matched they stood; For never, but once more, was either like To meet so great a foe: and now great deeds Had been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung, Had not the snaky sorceress that sat Fast by Hell gate, and kept the fatal key, Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between.
INTRODUCTION TO PARADISE LOST.
Or man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heavenly muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning, how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of chaos: or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it
Things unattempted, yet in prose or rhyme.
And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer
Before all temples the upright heart and pure,
Instruct me, for thou knowest; Thou from the first
Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread,
Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine; what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.
EPISTLE TO JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.-Couper.
Dear Joseph-five and twenty years ago-
Alas! how time escapes !-'tis even so-
With frequent intercourse, and always sweet,
And always friendly, we were wont to cheat
A tedious hour-and now we never meet!
As some grave gentleman in Terence says,
(Twas therefore much the same in ancient days,)
Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings-
Strange fluctuations of all human things!
True. Changes will befal, and friends may part,
But distance only cannot change the heart;
And, were I called to prove the assertion true,
One proof should serve a reference to you.
Whence comes it, then, that, in the wane of life,
Though nothing have occurred to kindle strife,
We find the friends we fancied we had won,
Though numerous once, reduced to few or none;
Can gold grow worthless, that has stood the touch?
No; gold they seemed, but they were never such.
Horatio's servant, once, with bow and cringe,
Swinging the parlor door upon its hinge,
Dreading a negative, and overawed
Lest he should trespass, begged to go abroad.
Go, fellow! whither? turning short about—
Nay, stay at home-you're always going out.
'Tis but a step, sir, just at the street's end—
For what? An please you, sir, to see a friend-
A friend! Horatio cried, and seemed to start-
Yea, marry shalt thou, and with all my heart-
And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw,
I'll see him too-the first I ever saw.
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child;
But somewhat at that moment pinched him close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betrayed,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made:
Perhaps 'twas mere good humor gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language, in my mind,
Bespoke at least, a man that knew mankind.
But not to moralize too much, and strain,
To prove an evil of which all complain,
(I hate all arguments verbosely spun,)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time, an emperor, a wise man,
No matter where, in China or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once, should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out.
O happy Britain, we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate,
Once have the sanction of our triple state,
Some few that I have known of old,
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
Might traverse England, safely, to and fro ;
An honest man, close buttoned to the chin,
Broad-cloth without, and a warm heart within.