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Not to know me, argues yourselves unknown,
To whom thus Zephon, answ'ring scorn with
Think not, revolted Sp'rit, thy shape the same,
855 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,
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 : 865
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 splendor wan; who, by his gait 870 And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of Hell, Not likely to part hence without contest : Stand firm, for in his look defiance low'rs.
Hescarce had ended when thosetwoapproach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found,
875 How busy’d, 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 ?
Towhom thus Satan with contemptuous brow: Gabriel, thou hadst 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,
890 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 sought ; To thee no reason, who know'st only good, 895 But evil hast 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; But that implies not violence or harm. 901
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov'd Disdainfully, half smiling, thus reply'd : O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wise, Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, 905 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 Unlicens'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,
935 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
afflicted Pow'rs 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 bus'ness 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 liar trac’d, Satan, and couldst thou faithful add ? O name, O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd! 951 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 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 aweful Monarch? wherefore but in hope To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? 961 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 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, reply'd :
Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains,