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Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no

doubt, And boldly venture to whatever place [change Farthest from pain, where thou might'st hope to Torment with ease, and soonest recompense Dole with delight, which in this place I sought; To thee no reason, who knowost only good, 895 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; 900 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, 905 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 910 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 915 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, 920
The first in flight from pain, hadst thou alledg'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, 925
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 thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at random, as before, 930
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 ·

935
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 ; 940
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 Hcav'n, with songs to hymn his throne,
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight. 945

To whom the warrior angel soon reply'd.
To say and strait unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,

Argues no leader but a liar trac'd,
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add ? O name, 950
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 engagid,
Your military obedience, to dissolve 955
Allegiance to th' 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'n's awful Monarch? wherefore but in hope 960
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign ?
But mark what I arreed thee now, Avant !
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, 965
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facil 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, 970 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 980 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 t'other side Satan alarm’d 985 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 989 What seem'd both spear and shield: now dreadful Might have ensu'd, nor only Paradise [deeds In this commotion, but the starry cope Of Heav'n perhaps, or all the elements At least had gone to wrack, disturb'd and torn With violence of this conflict, had not soon 995 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 1000 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. 1005

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, 1010 And read thy lot in yon celestial sign, (weak Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light, how If thou resist. The Fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor more ; but fled 1014 Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of Night.

The End of the Fourth Book,

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