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With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air:
So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
Back stepp'd 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 Comest 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 there sitting where you, durst not soar: ye Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, 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 undiminish'd 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.
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 grava 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)

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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 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 quell'd
His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they nigh
The western point, where those half-rounding

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 splendor wan; who by his gait
And fierce demeanor seems the prince of hell,
Not likely to part hence without contést:
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lowers."

He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busied, in what form and posture couch'd.

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 power 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: "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 And boldly venture to whatever place [doubt; Furthest 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 has not tried: and wilt object

His will who bounds 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."

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 hither Unlicensed from his bounds in hell prescribed: So wise he judges it to fly from pain However, and to 'scape his punishment! So judge thou still, presumptuous! till the wrath, Which thou incurr'st 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 provoked.

But wherefore thou alone? wherefore with thee

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