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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, inordinate desires
Blown up with high conceits ingend'ring pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his
Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness: up he starts
Discover'd and surpriz'd. As when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun, some magazine to store
Against a rumor'd war, the smutty grain
With sudden blaze diffus'd inflames 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 fill'd with scorn, Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
802 organs] v. Mer. W. of Wind. A. v. S. v.
'Raise up the organs of her fantasy.' Todd.
For you, there sitting where ye
durst not soar;
Not to know me argues your selves 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, answering scorn with scorn.
Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same
Or undiminish'd brightness, to be known
As when thou stood'st in heaven 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, besure, 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 impair'd; yet seem'd
'Virtutem videant, intabescantque relicta.' Hume.
829 sitting] 'Nor shall he hope to sit where Nero soars.' See Tragedy of C. T. Nero, p. 13 (1607). 830 Not to know] Nobilem ignorari, est inter ignobiles censeri.' v. J. C. Scaligeri Vitam, p. 5. 4to.
835 same] The commentators think that a difficulty of construction exists in this passage, and Bentley would alter it. It seems to me to be plain. "Think not thy brightness undiminished, or thy shape to be known the same as,' &c.
848 pin'd] Pers. Sat. iii. 38.
If I must contend, said he,
Best with the best, the sender not the sent,
more glory will be won,
Or all at once;
Or less be lost. Thy fear, said Zephon bold,
Will save us trial what the least can do
Single against thee 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 demeanour seems the prince of hell,
Nor likely to part hence without contest:
Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours.
859 Champing] See Esch. Prom. Vinct. 1008.
δακὼν δέ στόμιον ως νεοζυγὴς
Πῶλος, βιάζη καὶ προς ἡνίας μάχη. Thyer.
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. 876 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 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 heaven 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
And boldly venture to whatever place
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
894 Dole] Hamlet. A. i. S. ii.
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 heaven to judge of wise,
"Weighing delight with dole.' Todd.
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 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'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 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, 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
928 The] Thy,' second ed.