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Not to know me, argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng; or if ye know, 831
Why ask
ye, and superfluous begin

Your message, like to end as much in vain ?

To whom thus Zephon, answ'ring scorn with

scorn:

Think not, revolted Sp'rit, thy shape the same, Or undiminish'd brightness to be known, 836 As when thou stood'st in Heav'n upright and

pure;

845

That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
Departed from thee'; and thou resemblest now
Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. 840
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 aweful 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,

850

855

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 reply'd 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 860
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, Gabriel from the front, thus call'd aloud:

865

O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade, And with them comes a third of regal port, But faded splendor wan; who, by his gait 870 And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of Hell, Not likely to part hence without contest: Stand firm, for in his look defiance low'rs.

Hescarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, 875

How busy'd, 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
880
By thy example, but have pow'r 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 hadst in Heav'n th'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 would'st thyself, no doubt,

And boldly venture to whatever place

890

Farthest from pain, where thou might'st hope to

change

Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
Dole with delight, which in this place I sought;
To thee no reason, who know'st only good, 895
But evil hast not try'd: and wilt object
His will who bound 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 they say; But that implies not violence or harm.

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Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov'd Disdainfully, half smiling, thus reply'd: O loss of one in Heav'n 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.

910

So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath, Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight Sev'nfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain Can equal anger infinite provok'd.

916 But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee Came not all Hell broke loose? Is pain to them Less pain, less to be fled ? or thou than they Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief, 920 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:

930

Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, 925
Insulting Angel: well thou know'st I stood
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
The blasting volley'd thunder made all speed,
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at random, as before,
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
From hard assays and ill successes past
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untry'd:
I therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new-created world, whereof in Hell
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflicted Pow'rs
To settle here on earth, or in mid-air;

935

940

Though for possession put to try once more
What thou and thy gay legions dare against;
Whose easier bus'ness were to serve their Lord
High up in Heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne,
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight. 945
To whom the warrior Angel soon reply'd:
To say and straight unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader but a liar trac'd,

951

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.

955

Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,
Your military' obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to th' acknowledg'd Pow'r Supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servilely ador'd
Heav'n's aweful Monarch? wherefore but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avaunt;
Fly thither whence thou fledst: if from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to th' infernal pit I drag thee chain'd, 965
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facile gates of Hell too slightly barr'd.

961

So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats Gave heed, but, waxing more in rage, reply'd : Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains,

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