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Search through this garden, leave unsearch'd no nook;
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.

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This evening, from the sun's decline arrived,
Who tells of some infernal spirit, seen
Hitherward bent; who could have thought? escaped
The bars of Hell, on errand bad, no doubt:
Such where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring." 795

So saying, on he led his radiant files, Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct, In search of whom they sought : him there they found, Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, Essaying, by his devilish art, to reach The organs of her fancy; and with them, forge Illusion as he list, phantasms and dreams; Or, if inspiring venom, he might taint The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise, Like gentle breaths from rivers pure; thence raise, 805 At least, distemper'd, discontented thoughts, Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires, Blown up with high conceits, ingendering pride. Him thus intent, Ithuriel, with his spear, Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can indure

810 T ch of celestial temper, but returns, Of force, to its own likeness : up he starts. Discover'd and surprised. As when a spark Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid Fit for the tun, some magazine to store,

815 Against a rumour'd war; the smutty grain, With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air ; So started up, in his own shape, the fiend. Back stepp'd those two fair angels, half amazed So sudden to behold the grisly king;

820 Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.

“ Which of those rebel spirits, adjudged to Hell,
Comest thou, escaped thy prison ? and transform’d,
Why sat'st thou, like an enemy in wait,
Here watching, at the head of these that sleep?" 825

“ 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,

830 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,

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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; and 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 pined
His loss; but chiefly, to find here observed,
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,
Gabriel, from the front, thus callid 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 splendour wan; who by his gait,
And fierce demeanor, seems the prince of Hell;
Not likely to part hence without contést :
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lowers.”

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 prescribed
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;

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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 heaven the esteem of wise, 885
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,

890 Furthest 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 know'st only good, But evil has not try'd; and wilt object

895 His will, who bounds us ? Let bim 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."

900 Thus he in scorn. The warlike angel moved, 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 'scaped, 905 Gravely in doubt, whether to hold them wise Or not, who ask, what boldness brought him hither Unlicensed, from his bounds in Hell prescribed ; 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 Sevenfold; and scourge that wisdom back to Hell, Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain Can equal anger infinite provoked.

915 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 The first in fight from pain ; hadst thou alleged 920 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

925 Thy fiercest, when in battle, to thy aid, The blasting volleyed thunder made all speed, And seconded, thy else not dreaded spear.

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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 untried :
I therefore,' I alone, firsť 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 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."

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,
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
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 servilely adored
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
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,
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,
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,
In progress through the road of heaven, star-paved."

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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
Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends

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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,
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,

985 Like Teneriffe, or Atlas, unremoved : His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest Sat horror plumed; nor wanted in his grasp, What seem’d, both

spear

and shield. Now dreadful deeds Might have ensued, nor only Paradise,

990 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 The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,

995 Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales; yet seen Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign; Wherein, all things created first he weigh'd, The pendulous round earth, with balanced air In counterpoise; now ponders all events,

1000 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.

"Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine, Neither our own, but given; what folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine, no more Than Heaven permits; nor mine, though doubled now, To trample thee as mire : for proof look up, And read thy lot, in yon celestial sign;

1019 Where thou art weigh’d, and shown how light, how weak, If thou resist.” The fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft : nor more; but fled Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of night,

THE END OF BOOK IV.

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