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To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescrib'd 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 had'st 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 doubt,

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 know'st 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;


But that implies not violence or harm
THUS he in scorn. The warlike Angel mov'd,
Disdainfully half smiling thus reply'd.

O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wise,
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew,



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And now returns him from his prison scap'd,
Gravely in doubt whether to hold them wise
Or not, who ask what boldness brought him hither
Unlicens'd from his bounds in Hell prescrib'd;
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
Sev'nfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain
Can equal anger infinite provok'd.



But wherefore thou alone? Wherefore with thee
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 alleg'd

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 volied 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 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 their 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 lyar trac'd,

Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name,


O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
Faithful to whom? To thy rebellious crew?
Army of iends, fit body to fit head.

Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,

Your military' obedience, to dissolve


Allegiance to th' acknowledg'd Pow'r 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'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 slighty 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 Heaven's King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels 975
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 Teneriff 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 dreadful deeds

Might have ensued, nor only Paradise


In this commotion, but the starry cope

Of Heav'n perhaps, or all the elements

At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn

With violence of this conflict, 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 shewn how light, how


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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