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Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt,
890 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 know'st 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 movid, 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
To which the Fiend thus answer'd frowning stern:
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,
my 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,
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
Satan I know thy strength, and thou know'st mine, Neither our own but givin; what folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now To crample 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,