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Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no
doubt, 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 knowost 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 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, 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:
To whom the warrior angel soon reply'd.
Argues no leader but a liar trac'd,
So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats
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 With ported spears, as thick as when a field 980 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 t'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 989 What seem'd both spear and shield: now dreadful Might have ensu'd, nor only Paradise [deeds 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'd air 1000 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 kick'd 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 doubled now To trample 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,