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And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
The Fiend replied not, overcome with rage ; But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb : To strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quellid 860 His hoart, not else dismay’d. Now drew they nigh The western point, where those half-rounding guards Just mety 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 splendour 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 lours.
He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, 875 How busied, in what form and posture couch'd.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow : 885 Gabriel ! thou hadst in Heaven the 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 wouldst thyself, no doubt, And boldly venture to what ever place
891 Furthest from pain, where thou mightst 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,
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved, -
To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
To which the Fiend thus answerd, frowning stern :
930 Argue thy inexperience what behoves From hard assays and ill successes pass'd A faithful leader, not to hazard all Through ways of danger by himself untried : I, therefore, I alone first undertook 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 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 Heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, And practised distances to cringe, not fight: 645
To whom the warrior Angel soon replied : To say and straight unsay, pretending first Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy, Argues no leader but a liar traced, Satan, and couldst thou ' faithful' add ? O name, 950
, mu PY
Faithful to whom ? to thy rebellious crew ?
Once fawn'd, and cringed, and servilely adored
So threatened he ; but Satan to no threats
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, Used to the yoke, drawst his triumphant wheels 975 In progress through the road of Heaven star-paved.
While thus he spake, the angelic squadron bright Turn'd fiery red, sharpening in mooned horns Their phalanx, and began to hem him round With ported spears, as thick as when a field 980 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 hopeless sheaves Prove chaff. On the other side, Satan, alarm'd, 985 Collecting all his might, dilated stood, Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved : His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest Sat Horror plumed ; 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 Heaven perhaps, or all the elements At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn With violence in this conflict, had not soon 995 The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine;