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The Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep
Blest pair! and, O! yet happiest, if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more!
Now had Night measured with her shadowy
Half-way up-hill this vast sublunar vault,
And from their ivory port the Cherubim
Forth issuing, at the accustomed hour, stood
To their night-watches in warlike parade; 780 When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake :· Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north:
Our circuit meets full west.'
As flame they
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. From these, two strong and subtle Spirits he called
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge :
Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed Search through this Garden; leave unsearched no nook;
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
This evening from the Sun's decline arrived
Who tells of some infernal Spirit seen
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?),
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 Satan as In search of whom they sought. they found
Him there a toad
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, 800
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
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence
At least distempered, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
Blown up with high conceits engendering pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness. Up he starts,
Discovered and surprised. As, when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun, some magazine to store
Against a rumoured 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 820
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, trans-
Why satt'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?'
Know ye not, then,' said Satan, filled with
'Know ye not me? Ye knew me once no mate
For you, there sitting where
durst not soar !
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 830
The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
Your message, like to end as much in vain?'
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with
Think not, revolted Spirit, thy shape the same,
Or undiminished brightness, to be known
As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and
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 the 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. Abashed 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 impaired; yet seemed
Undaunted. 'If I must contend,' said he,
'Best with the best-the sender, not the sent ;
more glory will be won,
Or all at once
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 replied not, overcome with rage;
But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, Satan
Champing his iron curb. To strive or fly brought
He held it vain; awe from above had quelled 860 before
His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they
The western point, where those half-rounding guards
Just met, and, closing, stood in squadron joined,
Awaiting next command. To whom their chief,
Gabriel, from the front thus called 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
Not likely to part hence without contest.
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.'
He scarce had ended, when those two ap-
And brief related whom they brought, where
How busied, in what form and posture couched.
To whom, with stern regard, thus Gabriel
'Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed
To thy transgressions, and disturbed 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;
Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those
Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?'
Satan's To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous
'Gabriel, thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of
And such I held thee; but this question asked
Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his
Who would not, finding way, break loose from
Though thither doomed?
self, no doubt,
And boldly venture to whatever place
Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to
Torment with ease, and soonest recompense
Dole with delight; which in this place I sought:
To thee no reason, who know'st only good,
But evil hast 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
The rest is true; they found me where they
But that implies not violence or harm.'
Thus he in scorn. The warlike Angel moved,
Disdainfully half smiling, thus replied:-
"O loss of one in Heaven 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
Unlicensed from his bounds in Hell prescribed !