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Undaunted. “If I must contend,” said he,
“ Best with the best,—the sender, not the sent;
Or all at once-more glory will be won,
Or less be lost." __“ Thy fear,” said Zephon bold,
Will save us trial what the least can do

855 Single against thee, wicked, and thence weak.”

The Fiend repli'd not, overcome with rage;
But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on,
Champing his iron curb: to strive, or tly,
He held it vain; awe from above had quell’d

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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 call'd aloud :

865 “O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this

way ; and now by glimpse discern
Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade:
And with them comes a third, of regal port,
But faded splendour wan; who, by his gait

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And fierce demeanour, seems the Prince of IIell-
Not likely to part hence without contest.
Stand firm ; for in his look defiance low'rs.”

He scarce had ended when those two approach'd,
And brief related whom they brought,—where found,- 875
How busied,-in what form and posture coucht.

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

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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 hath planted here in bliss ?”

To whom thus Satan, with contemptuous brow: 885 “ Gabriel ! thou hadst in Heav'n th' esteem of wise, And such I held thee; but this question askt 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, 890 And boldly venture to whatever place, Furthest from pain, where thou mightst 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,

895 But evil hast not tri’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 askt.

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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 replied:

“O loss of one in Heav'n to judge of wise,
Since Satan fell, whom folly overthrew!
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,
Unlicenc't, 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
Sevenfold, and scourge that wisdom back to Hell,
Which taught thee yet no better, that no pain
Can equal anger infinite provok't

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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 steri:
“ 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 behoves,
From hard assays and ill successes past,
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger, by himself untri'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 pow'rs
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 repli’d:
“ To say, and straight unsay-pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy-

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Argues no leader, but a liar tract,
Satan! and couldst thou faithful add ? O name,

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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

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'ns awful Monarch? Wherefore, but in hope 960 To dispossess him, and thyself to reign? But mark what I aread thee now: Avaunt! Fly thither whence thou fledd'st! 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 facile gates of Hell too slightly barr’d.”

So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats Gave heed, but waxing more in rage repli’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 Heav'ns 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-paved.”

While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
Turn’d fiery red, sharpning in mooned horns
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
With ported spears; as thick as when a field

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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,

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 What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful deeds Might have ensu'd ; nor only Paradise,

991 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't air

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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 kickt 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 doubl’d now To trample thee as mire. For proof look up,

1010 And read thy lot in yon celestial sign; Where thou art weigh’d, and shown how light, how weak, If thou resist.” The Fiend lookt up, and knew IIis mounted scale aloft: nor more, but fled Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of night. 1015 PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK II I.

THE ARGUMENT.-Satan, in a speech of much flattering commendation, endeavours to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particularizing various instances of conquests achieved, and great actions performed, by persons at an early period of life. Our Lord replies, by showing the vanity of worldly fame, and the improper means by which it is generally attained ; and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience and virtuous wisdom, as exemplified in the character of Job. Satan justifies the love of glory from the example of God himself, who requires it from all his creatures. Jesus detects the fallacy of this argument, by showing that as goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the great Creator of all things, sinful man can have no right whatever to it. Satan then urges our Lord respecting his claim to the throne of David : he tells him, that the kingdom of Judea, being at that time a province of Rome, cannot be got possession of without much personal exertion on his part, and presses him to lose no time in beginning to reign. Jesus refers him to the time allotted for this, as for all other things; and, after intimating somewhat respecting his own previous sufferings, asks Satan why he was so solicitous for the exaltation of one whose rising was destined to be his fall. Satan replies, that his own desperate state, by excluding all hope, leaves little room for fear; and that, as his own punishment was equally doomed, he is not interested in preventing the reign of one from whose apparent benevolence he might rather hope for some interference in his favour. Satan still pursues his former incitements; and, supposing that the seeming reluctance of Jesus to be thus advanced might arise from his being unacquainted with the world and its glories, conveys him to the summit of a high mountain, and from thence shows him most of the kingdoms of Asia, particularly pointing out to his notice some extraordinary military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incursions of the Scythians. He then informs our Lord that he showed him this purposely, that he might see how necessary military exertions are to retain the possession of kingdoms, as well as to subdue them at first; and advises him to consider how impossible it was to maintain Judea against two such powerful neighbours as the Romans and the Parthians, and how necessary it would be to form an alliance with one or other of them. He recommends, and engages to secure to him, that of the Parthians; and tells him that by this means his power will be defended against any attempt of Rome, that he will be able to extend his glory wide, and even accomplish, what alone would make his throne the throne of David, the restoration of the ten tribes, still in captivity. Jesus, having noticed the vanity of military efforts or of the arm of flesh, says, that at the appointed time for ascending his allotted throne he shall not be slack ; remarks on Satan's zeal for the deliverance of the Israelites, whose constant enemy he had been ; declares their servitude to be the reward of their idolatry; but adds, that at a future time it may perhaps please God to restore them to liberty and their country.

So spake the Son of God; and Satan stood
A while, as mute, confounded what to say,
What to reply, confuted, and convinc't

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