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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
845 Invincible : abash'd the Devil stood,, And felt how awful goodness is, and faw Virtue' in her shape how lovely; faw, and pin'd His loss; but chiefly to find here observ'd His lustre visibly impair'd; yet feem'd
850 Undaunted. If I must contend, said he, Best with the best, the sender not the fent, Or all at once ; more glory will be won, Or less be loft. 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 ;
O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet
He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found,
How bufied, in what form and posture couch'd. 876
To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel spake, Why haft 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 power and right To question thy bold entrance on this place ; Employ'd, it seems, to violate fleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. 885
Thus he in fcorn. The warlike angel mov'd,
However, and to 'scape his punishment.
To which the fiend thus answer'd, frowning ftern; 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 volied 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 essays 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
935 To wing the desolate abyss, and spy This new created world, whereof in hell Fame is not filent, here in hope to find Better abode, and my afflicted powers To settle here on earth, or in mid air;
940 Though for poffeffion put to try once more What thon and thy gay legions dare against ; Whose easier business were to serve their Lord High up in heav'n, with fongs to hymn his throne, And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight, 945
To whom the warrior angel foon reply'd,
To say and strait unfay, pretending first
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, 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, Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 975 In progress through the road of heaven star-pav’d.
While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright Turn'd fiery red, sharp’ning 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 Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind
Sways them; the careful plowman doubting stands,
995 Th'Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray, Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, yet feen. Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign, Wherein all things created firft he weigh'd, The pendulous round earth with balanc'd air 1000 In counterpoise, now ponders all events, Battles and realms : in these he put two weights,.. The fequel, 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'lt mine ; Neither our own, but givin: what folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no more Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now To trample thee as mire : for proof look up, IOIO And read thy lot in yon celestial sign, [weak, Where thou art weigh’d, and shown how light, how If thou resist. The fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor: more ; but fled Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of night. 1015
End of the FOURTH Book,