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Pure: and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase ; who bids abstain,
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail, wedded love! mysterious law, true source
of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise ! of all things common else.
By thee adulterous lust was driven 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 or blame!
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place;
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets!
Whose bed is undefil'd, and chaste, pronounc'd,
Present or past; as saints and patriarchs us’d.
Here Love bis golden shafts employs, here lights.
His coustant lamp; and waves his purple wings
Reigns here, and revels: pot in the bought smile
Of barlots, loveless, joyless, upendear'd ;
Casual fruition ! por in court amours,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
Or serenade, which the starv'd lover sings
To his proud fair: best quitted with discain.
These, lulld by nightingales embracing slept;
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Shower'd roses which the moru repair’d. Sleep on
Blessid pair! and yet happiest, if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more.
Now bad night measu'd with her shadowy cone
Ilalf-way up hill this vast sublunar vault;
And from their ivory port the cherubim
Fortb issuing at th'accustom's hour, stood arm'd
To beir night watches iy varlike parade,
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake:
“ Lzziel! half these draw ott, and coast the south
With strictest watch: these orber wheel the portb;
Our circuit meets full west.” As flaine they part,
Half wheeling to the shield, half 10 tine .pear.
from these, i wo strong and subtle spirits be callid,
Thät near him stood, and gave them ihus ia charge :
“ 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 ;
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
'The lowest of your throng: or if ye know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
like to end as much in vain ?"
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with
“ 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, 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 impair'd; yet seem'd
Undaunted. $ If I must contend,” said he,
6 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 thee wicked, and thence weak.”
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,
And with them comes a third of regal port,
But faded splendour wan? wbo, by his gait
And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of hell;
Not likely to part lience without contest?
Stand firm, for in bis look defiance lowers."
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,
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 be 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 filed ? or thou than they
Less hardy to endure? Courageous chief,
The first in flight from pain, badst thou alleg &
To thy deserted bost this cause of light,
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,
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried:
I therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new-created world, whereof in bell
Faine is not sitent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and 'my afflicted powers
To settle here ou earth, or in mid air;
Though for possession pat to try once more
Whal thou and thy gay legions dáre against;
Whose easier bosiness were to serve their Lord
Higl up in heaven, with songs to hymn his throne,
And practis'd distances, to cringe, not figlit.'
To whoin the warrior angel soon replied ;