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Against a rumour'd war; the smutty grain,
So started up, in his own shape, the fiend.
So sudden to behold the grisly king;
“ Which of those rebel spirits, adjudg’d to hell,
“ Com'st thou, escap'd thy prison ? and, transform'd, 825 “ Why satt'st thou, like an enemy in wait, “Here watching at the head of these that sleep?" Know
not then," said Satan, fill’d with scorn, ye not me ?
knew me once no mate
“ The lowest of your throng: or, if ye know,
ye, and superfluous begin
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn: 835 “ Think not, revolted spirit! thy shape the same
“Or undiminish'd brightness, to be known
“ Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now 840 “ Thy sin, and place of doom,-obscure, and foul.
“But come! for thou, be sure, shalt give account
So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke, 845 Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
Invincible: abash'd the devil stood,
His loss; but chiefly to find here observ’d 850 His lustre visibly impair’d: yet seem'd
Undaunted. “If I must contend,” said he,
855 “ Will save us trial what the least can do
“Single against thee wicked, and thence weak."
The fiend replied not, overcome with rage;
Champing his iron curb: to strive, or fly,
His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they nigh
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, 865 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, 870 “But faded splendour wan; who by his gait,
“And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of hell ;
He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, 875 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 880 “Of others, who approve not to transgress
“By thy example, but have power and right
“Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss ?" 885 To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow:
“ Gabriel! thou hadst in heaven the esteem of wise,
“Who would not, finding way, break loose from hell, 890 “ Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no
“ doubt :
“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 : 895 “ To thee no reason, who knowest only good,
"But evil hast not tried. And wilt object
“ In that dark durance! Thus much what was ask'd. 900 “ 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, ,
“O loss of one in heaven, to judge of wise, 905
“Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew !
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
“ Unlicens'd, from his bounds in hell prescrib'd; 910
“So wise he judges it to fly from pain
However, and to 'scape his punishment!!
The first in flight from pain! Hadst thou alleg'd
To which the fiend thus answer'd, frowning stern:
930 “But still thy words at random, as before,
“Argue thy inexperience, what behoves,
“ Through ways of danger, by himself untried : 935 “I therefore, I alone, first undertook
“ To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
“ Better abode, and my afflicted powers 940 “ To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
“ Though, for possession, put to try once more
High up in heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, 945 “ And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight.'
To whom the warrior-angel soon replied:
say, and straight unsay, pretending first
"Argues no leader, but a liar trac'd,
“O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head!
“ Was this your discipline and faith engag'd955 “ Your military obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to the acknowledg’d Power 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 960 “Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
“To dispossess him, and thyself to reign ?
Fly thither whence thou fled'st! If, from this hour,
“ Within these hallow'd limits thou appear, 965“ Back to the infernal pit I drag thee chain'd,
“ And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
So threaten’d he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but, waxing more in rage, replied: 970 “ Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains,
“ Proud limitary Cherub! but ere then
While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round 980 With ported spears ; as thick as when a field
Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends
Lest on the threshing floors his hopeful sheaves 985 Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarm'd,
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Sat Horror plum'd ; nor wanted in his grasp 990 What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds
Might have ensu'd: not only Paradise,
At least, had gone to wrack, disturb’d and torn 995 With violence of this conflict, had not soon
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Wherein all things created first he weigh’d, 1000 The pendulous round earth, with balanc'd air
In counterpoise; now, ponders all events,
The latter quick up-flew, and kick'd the beam ; 1005 Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the fiend :