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Less pain, less to be fled? or thou than they
Less hardy to endure? courageous chief,
The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alledg'd
To thy deserted host this cause of flight,
Thou surely hadst not came 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 vollied thunder made all speed, And seconded by 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 untry'd: 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 the Lord High up in heav'n, with songs to hymn his throne And practis'd 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 trac'd,

Satan, and could'st thou faithful add? O name,
O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head.

Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,
Your military obedience, to dissolve

Allegiance to the acknowledg'd power supreme,
And thou. sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem

Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servilely ador'd
Heav'ns 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 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,
Proud limitary cherub,* but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
From my prevailing arm, though heav'ns King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers.
Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of heav'n star-pav'd.
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 ploughman doubting stands
Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On th' other side Satan alarm'd
Collecting all his might dilated stood,

Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremov'd:

His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Sat horror plum'd: nor wanted in his grasp
What seem'd both spear and shield: now dr

Might have ensued, nor only Paradise

In this commotion, but the starry cope


"Proud liitary cherub:" limitary means guarding the

Of heav'n perhaps, or all the elements

At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn
With violence of this confict, had not soon
Th' eternal to prevent such horrid fray
Hung forth in heav'n his golden scales, yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the scorpion sign,
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round earth with balanc'd 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 giv'n; what folly then

To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now
To trample thee as mire: for proof look up,
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign,

Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light, how weak,

If thou resist. The fiend look'd up and knew
His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled
Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of night.






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