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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 ;
But like a proud steed reind, went haughty on,
Champing his iron curb: to strive or fly
He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd 860
His heart, not elfe difinay'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 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 fplendour wan; who by his gait
And fierce demeanor seems the prince of hell,
Not likely to part hence without contest;
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.

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
Gabriel, thou had'it 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,
Tho'thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt,
And boldly venture to whatever place
Farthest from pain, where thou might'st hope to change
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
Dole with delight, which in this place I fought;
To thee no reason, who know'st only good, 895
But evil halt not try'd : and wilt object
His will who bound us ? let him 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; 900
But that implies not violence or harm,

Thus he in fcorn. The warlike angel mov'd,
Disdainfully half smiling, thus reply'd.
Olofs of one in heav'n to judge of wise,
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,

And pow returns him from his prison ’scap'd,
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wife
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicens'd from his bounds in hell prescrib'd;
So wife he judges it to fly from pain


However, and to 'scape his punishment.
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath,
Which thou incurr'lt by flying, meet thy flight
Sev’nfold, and scourge that wisdom back to hell,
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain 915
Can equal anger infinite provok'd.
But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee.
Came not all hell broke loose? is pain to them
Lefs pain, less to be fled ? or thou than they
Less hardy to endure ? courageous chief,

The first in flight from pain, hadit thou alleg'd
To thy deserted host this cause of fight,
Thou surely hadft not come fole fugitive,

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
Wife to fly pain, professing next the fpy,
Argues no leader, but a liar trác'd,
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add ? O name, 950
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,
Your military obedience, to dissolve

Allegiance to th' acknowledg'd Pow'r supreme?
And thou, fly hypocrite, who now would seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servily ador'd
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope 960
To difpoffefs him, and thyself to reign?
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant;
Fly thither whence thou fledft: if from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to th' infernal pit I drag thee chain'd, 965
And feal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facile gates of hell too flightly barr'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, 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,
Left on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On th’ other side, Satan alarm'd, 985
Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas unremov'd:
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Sat Horror plum'd; nor wanted in his grasp
What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds
Might have ensu’d, not only Paradise

In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of heaven perhaps, or all the elements,
At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd' and torn:
With violence of this conflict, had not foon

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,

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