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Came not all hell broke 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 volleyed 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 assays and ill successes past
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;
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."
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, 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 the' acknowledged Power Supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite! who now wouldst seem
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cringed, and servilely adored
Heaven's awful Monarch? wherefore, but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
But mark what I aread thee now, Avaunt!
Fly thither whence thou fled'st! If from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to the' 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 replied:
"Then, when I am thy captive, talk of chains, 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, draw'st his triumphant wheels In progress through the road of heaven, starpaved."
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 Of Ceres, ripe for harvest, waving bends Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves Prove chaff. On the' other side, Satan, alarm'd,
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
Might have ensued; nor only Paradise [deeds
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 of this conflict; had not soon
The' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, (yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,)
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round earth with balanced air
In counterpoise; now ponders all events,
Battles and realms: in these he put two weights,
The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam:
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.
"Satan! I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine;
Neither our own, but given: what folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than Heaven permits, nor mine; though doubled
To trample thee as mire: for proof look up, [now
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light,
If thou resist." The Fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of night.
Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream he likes it not, yet comforts her: they come forth to their day-labors: their morning-hymn at the door of their bower. God, to render man inexcusable, sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand; who he is, and why his enemy; and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise: his appearance described his coming discerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower: he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve: their discourse at table. Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph; who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the' eastern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl :
When Adam waked, so custom'd; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland; which the' only
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, [sound
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin-song
Of birds on every bough: so much the more
His wonder was, to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he, on his side
Leaning half raised with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'd; and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces: then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus: "Awake,
My fairest! my espoused! my latest found!
Heaven's last best gift! my ever new delight!
Awake! the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us: we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tender plants; how blows the citron-grove;
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed:
How Nature paints her colors; how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet."
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam; whom embracing, thus she spake:
"O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose! My glory! my perfection! glad I see Thy face, and morn return'd: for I this night (Such night till this I never pass'd) have dream'd, (If dream'd) not, as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night: methought, Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk With gentle voice: I thought it thine: it said, 'Why sleep'st thou, Eve! now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent; save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labor'd song: now reigns Full-orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain, If none regard. Heaven wakes with all his