Page images

The organs of her fancie, and with them forge
Illusions as he lift, phantasms and dreams,
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
Th’animal spirits that from pure blood arise
Like gentle breath from rivers pure, thence raise
At least distemper’d, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aimes, inordinate desires
Blown up with high conceits ingendring pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his fpear
Touch'd lightly ; for no falthood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness : up he starts
Discover'd and surpriz’d. As when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun some magazine to store
Against a rumour'd war, the smuttie graine
With sudden bl.ize diffusd, inflames the air :
So started up in his own shape the fiend.
Back stept those two fair angels half amaz'd
So sudden to behold the grieflie king ;
Yet thus, unmov'd with fear, accoft himn soon.

Which of those rebel spirits adjudg’d to hell
Com'lt thou, escap'd thy prison, and transform’d,
Why farst thou like an enemie in waite
Here watching at the head of these that feep ?

Know ye not then, said Satan, fill'd with scorn, Know ye not me ? ye knew me once no mate For you, there sitting where ye durft not soare ; Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, The lowest of your throng; or if ye know, Why aik ye, and superfluous begin

Your message, like to end as much in vain ?
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scornt.
Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same,
Or undiminisht brightness, to be known
As when thou stood it in heav'n upright and pure ;
That glorie then, when thou no more wait good,
Departed from thee, and thou resembl’ft now
Thy fin and place of doom obfcure and foule.
But come, for thou, besure, thalt give account

To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep
- This place inviolable, and these from harm.
So spake the cherube, and his grave rebuke.
Severe in youthful beautie, added grace
Invincible : abaht the devil ftood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw .
Virtue in her Thapa how lovely, saw, and pin'd:
His loss; but chiefly to find here observ'd
His lustre visibly impair'd; yet feem'd
Undaunted. If I must contend, said he,
Best with the best, the sender not the sent,
Or all at once; more glory will be won,
Or less te loft. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,
Will save us trial what the least can do
Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.
The fiend repli'd not, overcome with rage ;
But like a proud steed rein'd, went hautie on,
Chaumping his iron curb : to strive or fie
He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd
His heart, not else dismai’d. Now drew they nigh
The western point, where those half-rounding guards
Just met, and closing stocd 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 glimps discern
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade,
And with them comes a third of regal port,
But faded splendor 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 coucht.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake.
Why haft thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribd
To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge
Of others, who approve not to transgress
By thy example, but have power and right
To question thy bold entrance on this place ;
Imploy'd it seems to violate sleep, and those
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss ?:
To whom thus Satan with conterrpiuous brow.
Gabriel, thou had'it in heav'n ih'estcem of wife,
And such I held thee ; but this question askt
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 whatever place
Farthest from pain, where they mightft hope to change
Torment with ease, and soonest recompence
Dole with delight, which in this place I sought ;.

To thee no reason ; who knowst only goot,
But evil haft not tried : 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 askt.
The rest is true, they found me where they say ;
But that implies no: violence or harm.

Thus he in scorn. The warlike angel mov’d,,
Disdainfully half smiling thus repli’d:
O loss of one in heav'n to judge of wise,
Since Satan fell, whom follie overthrew,
And now returns him from his prison fcapt.
Gravely in doubt whe:ker to hold them wife
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicenc't from his bounds in hell prescrib’d;
So wise he judges it to fly from pain
However, and to scape his.punishment.
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrauth,
Which thou incurr'ft by flying, meet thy flight,
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to hell,
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain .
Can equal anger infinite provok't.
But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee .
Came not all hell broke loose? is pain to them
Less pain, lefs to be fed, or thou then they
Less hardie to endure ? couragious chief,
The first in flight from pain, hadīt thou alledgid..
To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
Thou surely hadit not come sote fugitive.
To which the fiend thus answer'd frowning stern.
Not that I less endure, or firink from pain.

Insulting angel, well thou knows I stood
Thy fierceft, 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,
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
From hard affaies and ill successes past
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untri'd.
I therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the defolate abyss, and spie
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 aire ;
Though for poffeffion put to try once more
What thou and thy gay legions dare against ;
Whofe easier business were to serve their lord
High up in heav'n, with fongs to hymne his throne.
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight.
To whom the warriour angel foon repli'd.
To say and strait unsay, pretending first
Wise to fie pain, professing next the spie,
Argues no leader, but a lyar trac't,
Satan, and couldft thou faithful add ? O name,
O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew ?
Armie of fiends, fit body to fit head;
Was this your discipline and faith ingag'd,
Your military obedience, to diffolve
Allegiance to the acknowledg’d power supream?

« PreviousContinue »