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Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity, and place, and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase: who bids abstain,
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Haii, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise of all things common else.
By thee adult'rous lust was driv'n from men,
Among the bestial herds to range ; by thee
Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Far be it, that I should write thee sin to blame, *
Or think thee unbesitting holiest place,
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
Whose bed is undefild and chaste pronounc'd,
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs us’d.
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeard,
Casual fruition; nor in court-amours,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or inidnight-ball,
Or serenade, which the starv'd lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
These luil'd by nightingales, embracing slept,
And on their naked limbs the flow'ry roof
Shower'd roscs, which the morn repaird. Sleep on,
Bless'd pair; and O yet lappiest, if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more.
Now had night measur'd with her shadowy cone
Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault,
And from their ivory port the Cherubim
Forth issuing at th'accustom'd hour, stood ari'd
To their night-watches in warlike parade ;
Whien Gabriel to his next in pow's thus spake :
Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south With strictest watch ; these other wheel the north Our circuit meets full west. As flame they part, Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear. From these, two strong and subtile sprits he calld, That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge:
Ithuriel and Zephon, with wing'd speed Search through 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 arrivod, 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 bow'r direct, In 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, phantasins and dreams; Or if, inspiring venom, hc 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, inordinate desires, Blown up with high conccits ingend’ring pride. llim thuis intent Ithuriel with his spcar Touch'd lightly; for no falschood can enduro Touch of celestial temper, but returns 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 rumourd war, the smutty grain With sudden biaze diffusod, infames the air; So started up in his own shape the Fiend. Back stept those two fair angels, half amaz’d,
So sudden to behold the grisly king;
Yet thus, upmov/d with fear, accost him soon :
Which of those rebel sp'rits adjudg'd to hell
Com'st thou, escap'd thy prison? and transform'd,
Why satt'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?
Know ye not then, said Satan, fill'd with scorn,
Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar;
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng; or if ye know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
Your message, like to end as much in vain?
To whom thus Zephon, answ'ring scorn with scorn:
Think not, revolted sp'rit, thy shape the same
Or undiminish'd brightness to be known,
As when thou stood'st in heav’a upright and pure;
That glory then, when thou no more wast good,
Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now
Thy sin and place of doom, obscure and foul.
But come, for thou, be sure, shalt give account
To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep
This place inviolable, and these from harm.
So spake the Cherub; and his grave rebuke,
Severe in youthful beauty, added grace
Invincible: abash'd the Devil stood,
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw
Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pin'd
His loss; but chiefly to find here observ'd
His lustre visibly impaird; yet seem'd
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
Single against the wicked, and thence weak.
The Fiend reply'd not, overcome with rage;
But like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on,
Champing his iron curb: to strive or fly
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 call'd aloud:
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 splendor wan; who by his gait
And fierce demeanor seems the prince of hell,
Not likely to part hence without contest;
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.
He scarce had ended, when 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 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:
Gabriel, thou hadst in heav'n th' esteem of wise, i
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,
Farthest 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,
But evil hast not try'd: and wilt object
His will who bound us? let him surer bar
Ilis iron gates, if he intends our stav
in that dark durance: tnus much what was ask'.
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,
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 tly from pain
However, and to escape his punishment.
So judge thou still, presumptuous, till the wrath.
Which thou incurr'st by flying, meet thy flight
Sev’nfold, and scourge that wisdomn 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 bell broke loose? is pain to thein
Less pain, less to be fied? 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 come sole fugitive
To which the Fiend thus answer'd frowning stera : 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 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