« PreviousContinue »
Pure: and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Now bad night measu'd with her shadowy cone
“ Lzziel! half these draw ott, and coast the south
“ Ithurid, and Zephon! with winged speed Search thro' this garden, leave unsearch'd no nook ; But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm. This evening from the sun's decline arriv'd, Who tells of some infernal spirit, seen Hitherward bent who could have thought?) escap'd The bars of hell; on errand bad, no doubt : Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring."
So saying, on he led his radiant files, Dazzling the moon : these to the bower direct, le search of whom they sought: him there they found, Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, Assaying, by his devilish art, to reach The organs of her fancy', and with them forge Illusions, as he list, phantasms, and dreams; Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint Th'animal spirits, that from pure blood arise, Like gentle breaths from rivers pure; thence raise At least distemper'd, discontented thoughts, Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinale desires, Blown up with high conceits engendring pride. Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure Touch of celestial temper, but relurns Of force to its own likeness; up he starts, Discover'd and surpris'd. As when a spark Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid Fit for the tun, some magazine to store Against a rumour'd war, the smutty grain With sudden blaze diffus'd, infames the air ; So started up in his own shape the fiend. Back stepp'd those two fair angels, half amaz'd, So sudden to behold the grisly king ; Yet thus, unmov'd with fear accost him soon:
“ Which of those rebel spirits, adjudg'd to hell Com'st thou, escap'd 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, fli'd with scorn, “ Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
For you ; there sitting wbere ye durst not soar ;
like to end as much in vain ?" To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with
“ Think not, revolted spirit thy shape the same,
So spake the cherub; and his grave rebuke,
The fiend replied not, overcome with rage; But like a proud steed rein'd, went baughty on, Champing bis iron curb: to strive or Ay 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 guards Just met, and closing stood in squadron join'd, Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, Gabriel, from the front thus calPd aloud :
“O friends, I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern
Itburiel and Zephon through the shade,
He scarce bad ended, wben 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 bast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribil
: 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 bath planted here in bliss ?"*
To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow: " Gabriel, thou hadst in heaveir 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 wouldst thyself, no
doubt, And holdly venture to whatever place Farthest froin pain, where thou might'st hope to
change Torment with ease, and soonest recompense Dole with delight, wbich in this place sought; To thee no reason, who know'st only good, But evil hast not tried; and wilt object His will who bound us? let bim surer bar His iron gates, it be intends our stay In that dark durapce : 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 scori). The warlike angel mov'd, Disdainfully half-smiling, thus replied:
“ () loss of one in heaven to judge of wise, Since Satan sell, whom folly overthrew,
And now returns him from his prison 'scap'd,
who ask what boldness brought him hither,
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 thy else not dreaded spear. But still thy words at random, as before, Argue thy inexperience, what behooves, 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 atryss, and spy This new-created world, whereof in bell Faine 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 ynt to try once more What thou and thy gay legions dare against; Wvose easier business were to serve their Lord Hizli up in heaven, with songs to hymn his throne, And practis'd distances, to cringe, not fight."
To whoin the warrior angel soon replied ;