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Which of those rebel Spirits adjudg'd to Hell
Com'st thou, escap'd thy prison ? and transform’d,
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?
Know ye not then, said Satan, fill'd with scorn,
Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar:
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
Your message, like to end as much in vain ?
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn
Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same
Or undiminish'd brightness to be known,
As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure;
That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
Departed from thee; thou resemblest now
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul.
But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep
This place inviolable, and these from harm.
So spake the Cherub: and his grave rebuke,
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
Invincible : Abash'd the Devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her shape how lovely ; saw, and pin'd
His loss; but chiefly to find here observ'd
His lustre visibly impair’d; yet seem'd
Undaunted. If I must contend, said he,
Best with the best, the sender, not the sent,
Or all at once ; more glory will be won,
Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,
Will save us trial what the least can do
Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.
The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage ;
But, like a proud steed rein’d, went haughty on,
Champing his iron curb : To strive or fly
He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd
His heart, not else dismay’d. Now drew they nigh
The western point, where those half-rounding guards
Just met, and closing stood in squadron join'd,
Awaiting next command. To whom their Chief,
Gabriël, from the front thus call'd aloud.
O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet
Hasting this way, and now by glimpse disceru
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade ;
And with them comes a third of regal port,
But faded splendour,wan ; who by his gait
And fierce demeanour seems the Prince of Hell,
Not likely to part hence without contést :
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.
He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busied, in what form and posture couch'd.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescrib'd
To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge
Of others, who approve not to transgress
By thy example, but have power and right
To question thy bold entrance on this place;
Employ’d, it seems, to violate sleep, and those
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss ?
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow.
Gabriel ! thou hądst in Heaven the esteem of wise,
And such I held thee; but this question ask'd
Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain?
Who would not, finding way, break loose from Hell,
Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no
doubt, And boldly venture to whatever place Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to
change Torment with ease, and soonest recompense Dole with delight, which in this place I sought; To thee no reason, who knowst only good, But evil hast not tried : and wilt object His will who bounds us ? Let him surer bar His iron gates, if he intends our stay In that dark durance : Thus much what was ask'd. The rest is true, they found me where theysay; But that implies not violence or harm,
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov’d, Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied. O loss of one in Heaven to judge of wise
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,
And now returns him from his prison 'scap'd,
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicens'd from his bounds in Hell prescrib’d;
So wise he judges it to fly from pain
However, and to 'scape his punishment !
So judge thou still, presumptuous ! till the wrath,
Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain
Can equal anger infinite provok'd.
But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee
Came not all hell broke loose? is pain to them
Łess pain, less to be fled; or thou than they
Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief!
The first in flight from pain ! hadst thou alledg'd
To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
Thou surely hadst not come sole fugitive.
To which the Fiend thus answer'd frowning stern.
Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain,
Insulting Angel! well thou know'st I stood
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed,
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at random, as before,
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
and ill successes past
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried :
I, therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new created world, whereof in Hel
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflicted Powers
To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
Though for possession put to try once more
What thou and thy gay legions dare against;
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, ,
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight.
To whom the warriour-Angel soon replied.
To say and straight unsay pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader but a liar trac'd,
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add ? O name,
O sacred name of faithfulness profan’d !
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,
Your military obedience, to dissolve
Alegiance to the acknowled g'a Power supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servily ador’d
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope