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Not to know me, argues yourselves unknown,
Your message, like to end as much in vain ?
To whom thus Zephon, answ'ring scorn with
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
That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,
The Fiend reply'd not, overcome with rage;
But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on,
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:
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 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
Farthest from pain, where thou might'st hope to
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
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.
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.
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
Not that I less endure, or shrink from pain, 925
Though for possession put to try once more
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,
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,