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Of Erebus, a moment, pausing stood,
And saw, below, the unfathomable lake,
Tossing with tides of dark, tempestuous wrath ;
And would have looked behind; but greater
Behind, forbade, which now no respite gave
To final misery : God, in the grasp
Of his Almighty strength, took them upraised,
And threw them down, into the yawning pit
Of bottomless perdition, ruined, damned,
Fast bound in chains of darkness evermore;
And Second Death, and the undying Worm,
Opening their horrid jaws, with hideous yell,
Falling, received their everlasting prey.
A groan returned, as down they sunk, and sunk,
And ever sunk, among the utter dark !
groan returned ! the righteous heard the groan; The groan of all the reprobate, when first They felt damnation sure! and heard Hell
And heard Jehovah, and his love retire !
A groan returned ! the righteous heard the
As if all misery, all sorrow, grief,
All pain, all anguish, all despair, which all
Have suffered, or shall feel, from first to last
Eternity, had gathered to one pang,
And issued in one groan of boundless wo!
And now the wall of hell, the outer wall,
First gateless then, closed round them; that
Hast seen, of fiery adamant, emblazed
With hideous imagery, above all hope,
Above all flight of fancy, burning high;
And guarded evermore, by Justice, turned
To Wrath, that hears, unmoved, the endless
Of those, wasting within ; and sees, unmoved, The endless tear of vain repentance fall.
Nor ask if these shall ever be redeemed.
They never shall: not God, but their own sin
Condemns them: what could be done, as thou
Has been already done; all has been tried,
That wisdom infinite, and boundless grace,
Working together, could devise, and all
Has failed: why now succeed? Though God
Inviting still, and send his Only Son
To offer grace in hell, the pride that first
Refused, would still refuse ; the unbelief,
Still unbelieving, would deride and mock;
Nay more, refuse, deride, and mock; for sin
Increasing still, and growing day and night
Into the essence of the soul, become
All sin, makes what in time seemed probable,
Seemed probable, since God invited then-
For ever now impossible. Thus they,
According to the eternal laws which bind
All creatures, bind the Uncreated One,
Though we name not the sentence of the Judge-
Must daily grow in sin and punishment,
Made by themselves their necessary lot,
Unchangeable to all eternity.
What lot! what choice ! I sing not, cannot
sing. Here, highest seraphs tremble on the lyre, And make a sudden pause ! but thou hast seen. And here, the bard, a moment, held his hand,
As one who saw more of that horrid wo
Than words could utter ; and again resumed.
Nor yet had vengeance done. The guilty Earth Inanimate, debased, and stained by sin, Seat of rebellion, of corruption, long, And tainted with mortality throughout, God sentenced next; and sent the final fires Of ruin forth, to burn and to destroy,
The saints its burning saw; and thou mayst
Look yonder round the lofty golden walls
And galleries of New Jerusalem,
Among the imagery of wonders past;
Look near the southern gate ; look, and behold,
On spacious canvass, touched with living hues,-
The Conflagration of the ancient earth,
The handiwork of high arch-angel, drawn
From memory of what he saw that day.
See how the mountains, how the valleys burn !
The Andes burn, the Alps, the Appennines;
Taurus and Atlas, all the islands burn;
The Ocean burns, and rolls his waves of flame.
See how the lightnings, barbed, red with wrath,
Sent from the quiver of Omnipotence,
Cross and recross the fiery gloom, and burn
Into the centre! burn without, within,
And help the native fires, which God awoke,
And kindled with the fury of his wrath.