Page images


Your message, like to end as much in vain ?

To whom thus Zephon, answ'ring scorn with scorn.
Think not, revolted Spi'rit, thy shape the fame, 835
Or undiminish'd brightness to be known,
As when thou stood'st in Heav'n 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. 840
But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account
To him who fent 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 faw
Virtue' in her Nape how lovely; law, and pind
His loss; but chiefly to find here observ'd
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; morc 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 rein'd, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb: to strive or fiy He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd 860 His heart, not else dismay’d. Now drew they nigh The western point, where thofe half-rounding guards VOL. I.



[ocr errors]



Just met, and closing stood in squadron join'd,
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief
Gabriël 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 fplendor wan; who by his gate

And fierce demeanour 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 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 Of others, who approve not to transgress

880 By thy example, but have pow'r and right To question thy bold entrance on this place; Employ'd it seems to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss ?

To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow. 885 Gabriel, thou hadft in Heav'n th' esteem of wife, 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 wouldit thyself, 10 And boldly venture to whatever place [doubt, Fartheit from pain, where thou might'st hope to change


Torment with ease, and sooneft recompense
Dole with delight, which in this place I fought;
To thee no reason, who know It only good, 895
But evil haft 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; goo
But that implies not violence or harm.

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moy'd,
Disdainfully half smiling thus reply'd.
O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wife,
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,

And now returns him from his prison scap'd,
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicenc'd from his bounds in Hell prescrib'd;
So wise he judges it to fly from pain

910 However, and to scape his punishment. So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath, Which thou incurr'st 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 Less pain, less to be fed? or thou than they Less hardy to indure? courageous Chief, The first in flight from pain, hadît thou alledg’d To thy deserted host this cause of Alight,



[ocr errors]

Thou surely hadft not come sole fugitive.

To which the Fiend thus answer'd frowning stern. Not that I less indure, or shrink from pain, 925 Insulting Angel; well thou know'st I stood Thy fiercest, when in battel 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 assays and ill successes paft 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 defolate 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 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 strait unfay, pretending firft Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, Argues no leader but a liar trac'd, Satan, and couldst thou faithful add ? O name, 950 O sacred name of faithfulness profan’d! Faitiful 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 diffolve

Allegiance to th' acknowledg d Power supreme ?
And thou, fly hypocrite, who now wouldft seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servily ador'd
Heav'n's awful monarch? wherefore but in hope 960
To difpoffess 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 seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn .
The facil 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'ft his triumphant wheels 975 In progress through the road of Heav'n star-pav'd.

While thus he fpake, 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



K 3

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »