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To whom with stern regard thus Gahriel spake.
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. 888 Gabriel, thou had'st 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, Though thither doom'd? Thou would'st thyself, no doubt,
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov'd,
And now returns him from his prison scap'd,
920 The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleg'd 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, 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,
93 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 untry'd : I therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
940 '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 Heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne, And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight. 945
To whom the warrior Angel soon reply'd. To say and straight unsay, pretending first Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, Argues no leader but a lyar trac'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 iends, fit body to fit head. Was this your discipline and faith engag'd, Your military' obedience, to dissolve
955 Allegiance to th’acknowledg’d Pow'r 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 Heav'n's awful Monarch ? Wherefore but in hope 960 To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? But mark what I arreed thee now, Avaunt ; Fly thither whence thou fledst : if from this hour Within these hallow'd limits thou appear, Back to th' infernal pit I drag thee chain'd, 965 970
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
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 ploughman doubting stands, Lest 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 ensued, nor only Paradise
991 In this commotion, but the starry cope Of Heav'n perhaps, or all the elements At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn With violence of this conflict, had not soon 995
Th'Eternal to prevent such horrid fray
SATAN, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine,
IND OF THE FOURTH BOOK.