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Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen

Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) escaped
The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt:

Such where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring.
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct,


In search of whom they sought: him there they found,
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
Assaying by his devilish art to reach


The organs of her fancy', and with them forge
illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams;
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint

Th' animal spirits that from pure blood arise,


Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
At least distemper'd, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,

Blown up with high conceits, ingendering pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness. Up he starts,
Discover'd and surprised. 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 smutty grain
With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air;
So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
Back stept those two fair Angels, half amazed
So sudden to behold the grisly king;





Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon:
Which of those rebel Spirits, adjudged to Hell,
Com'st thou, escaped thy prison? and transform'd,
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?
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 dust not soar.
Not to know me, argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng; cr if ye adow,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begız


796. Hither, that is, wherever the speaker det afterwards be.

804. Virgil, Ene.... 1.

814. Ariosto employs the same.

Your message, like to end as much in vain?

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn, Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same, 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. But come; for thou, be sure, shalt give account To him who sent 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 saw Virtue' in her shape how lovely; saw and pined His loss; but chiefly to find here observed 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; more glory will be won, Or less be lost. 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 fly He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they 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:




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
And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of Hell,


885. Bentley proposes a new reading, Or brightness undimi nish'd' in the next line: Newton to change thy into by in the present.

866. It is observed, that Milton has followed Homer in this episode. See II. x. 533.

Not likely to part hence without contest:
Stand firm, for in his look defiance ours.



He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busy', in what form and posture couch'd. 870 To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake : Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge Of others, who approve not to transgress 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 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



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 knowest only good,

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; 900

But that implies not violence or harm.

Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved Disdainfully, half smiling, thus reply d:


O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wise, Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew, And now returns him from his prison 'scaped, Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither, Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed; So wise he judges it to fly from pain


878. Bentley thinks transgressions should be taken in the sense of transcursions, that is, to pass over bounds.

893. Torment with ease, a Latin idiom..

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
Can equal anger infinite provoked.

But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee
Came not all Hell roke loose? Is pain to them
Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they
Less hardy to endure? Courageous Chief,
The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alleged
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, Insulting Angel: well thou know'st I stood Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid

The blasting volley'd thunder made all speed,

And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at random, as before,


Argue thy inexperience what behoves

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This new-created world, whereof in Hell
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflicted Pow'rs
To settle here on earth, or in mid-air;


Though for possession put to try once more
What thou and thy gay legis dare against;
Whose easier bus'ness were to serve their Lord

High up in Heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne,
And practised distances to cringe, not fight.
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 traced,

Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name, 950

927. Thy Aercest; the adjective as a substantive, as in instances

already alleged.

928. Thy is read in the second edition.

O sacred name of faithfulness profaned!
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of Fiends, fit body to fit head.

Was this your discipline and faith engaged,
Your military' obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to th' acknowledged Pow'r Supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou


Once fawn'd, and cringed, and servilely adored
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,
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, 970
Proud limitary Cherub; but ere then

Far heavier load thyself expect to feel

From my prevailing arm, though Heav'n's King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 975
In progress through the road of Heav'n star-paved.
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 plowman 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, unremoved:

962. Arreed, to decree or award.

965. Drag; the present for the future.


966. Rev. xx. 3.

971. Limitary, setting bounds to. Ps. xviii. 10

974. Ezek. chap. i. x. and xi.

980. Ported, borne pointed towards him.

986. Tasso applies the epithet disteso to his hero Argantes when preparing to fight with Tancred.


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