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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 915
Can equal anger infinite provoked.
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 alleged
To thy deserted host this cause of light,
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, 925
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,

930 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 untried :
I therefore, I alone first undertook

935
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new created world, whereof in hell
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find

927. thy fiercest, enemy, opponent.
928. vollied : discharged with a volley, sudden burst.

940

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 practised distances to cringe, not fight.' 945

To whom the warrior-angel soon replied:
• To say and straight unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader, but a liar traced,
Satan : and couldst thou faithful add ? O name, 950
O sacred name of faithfulness profaned !
Faithful to whom ? to thy rebellious crew ?
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engaged,
Your military obedience, to dissolve

955 Allegiance to the acknowledged Power Supreme? And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem Patron of liberty, who more than thou Once fawn'd, and cringed, and servily adored Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 960 To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?

942. dare against (possession) or against (me).

945. to cringe : (with) practised distances: studied, accustomed homage, respect : there appears to be a play on the word distance, which also signifies the space kept between two antagonists in fencing.

959. servily: Todd retains this reading in his edition of Milton, but bas not supplied its omission in Johnson's Dict. The more usual form is servilely.

But mark what I aread thee now, Avaunt!
Fly thither whence thou fled'st. If from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to the 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.'

So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied :

• Then when I am thy captive talk of chains, 970 Proud limitary cherub ! but ere then Far heavier load thyself expect to feel From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's King Ride on thy wings, and thou, with thy compeers, Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 975 In progress through the road of heaven star-paved.'

While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright Turn'd fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns Their phalanx, and began to hem him round With ported spears, as thick as when a field 980 Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends

962. aread: or areed, or arreed: I advise, direct, order.
ib. avaunt: on, forward, begone : from the French avant.

971. limitary: set to guard the bounds, as l. 878. a taunt, insulting the good angel as one employed on a little, mean office. RICHARDSON.

974. • This seems to allude to Ezekiel's vision, where four Cherubims are appointed to the four wheels: “And the Cherubims did lift up their wings, and the wheels besides them, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above.' See ch. i, x. xi. 22.” N.

980. ported spears: carried in a direction towards the enemy; held in a posture ready for attack.

981. Homer has a simile much of the same nature, comparing

Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind
Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting stands,
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarm’d, 985
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved :
His stature reached the sky, and on his crest
Sat horror plumed ; nor wanted in his grasp
What seem’d both spear and shield. Now dreadful
deeds

990
Might have ensued, nor only Paradise,
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of heaven perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wrack, disturb’d and torn
With violence of this conflict, had not soon 995
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,

the motion of the army after Agamemnon's speech to the waving of the ears of corn : Il. B. 147.

Ως δ' ότε κινήσει Ζέφυρος βαθύ λήίον ελθών,
λάβρυς έπαιγίζων, επί τ' ήμύει ασταχύεσσιν·

ως των πασαγορά κινήθη.Ν. 987. · Virgil has applied the same comparison to his hero, Æn. xii, 701.

Quantus Athos, aut quantus Eryx, aut ipse coruscis
Cum fremit ilicibus quantus, gaudetque nivali

Vertice se attollens pater Apenninus ad auras.' N. The Peak of Teneriffe is on an island of the same name, the largest of the Canaries. Atlas is a long chain of mountains in Mauritania.

unremoved: for immovable : as unreproved, 1. 492. 988. Thus Homer says of Discord, 11. A. 443.

ουρανώ έστήριξε κάρη, και επί χθονί βαίνει : and Virgil of Fame, Æn. iv. 177.

Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubila cundit.' N. 989. plumed : placed as a plume. 994. wrack or wreck are used indifferently by old writers.

Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,
(Wherein all things created first he weighd,
The pendulous round earth with balanced air 1000
In counterpoise ; now ponders all events,
Battles and realms :) in these he put two weights,
The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up-flew, and kick’d the beam;
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the fiend : 1005

Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st

mine; Neither our own, but given : what folly then

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997. golden scales: as in Hom. Il. riii. 69. kal Tote on xpúoela πατήρ ετίταινε τάλαντα. Compare also Virg. En. xii. 725.

998. Libra or the Scales is one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac, between Astrea, or Virgo, and the Scorpion.

999. “This weighing the creation at first and all events since gives us a sublime idea of Providence, and is conformable to the style of Scripture : Job xxviii. 25. •To make the weight for the winds, and he weigheth the waters by measure :' xxxvii. 16.

Dost thou know the balancing of the clouds ?' Isaiah xl. 12. 'Who weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?' 1 Sam. ii. 3. • By bim actions are weighed.' Prov. xvi. 2. The Lord weigheth the spirits.' Dan. v. 26. God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it; thou art weighed in the balances.” N.

1001. (And in which he) now ponders all events, (chiefly the events of) battles and realms.

1003. 'God put in the golden scales two weights ; in the one scale he put the weight, which was the sequel (represented the consequence) of Satan's parting from them; in the other scale he put the weight, which was the sequel of Satan's fighting. The latter scale, by ascending, showed him that he was light in arms, and could not obtain victory; the other, having descended, was a sign that his going off quietly would be his wisest and weightiest attempt.' Pearce.

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