« PreviousContinue »
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. 785 From these two strong and subtle spirits he callid That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.
Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed Search through this garden, leave unsearch'd no
nook; But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge, 790 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 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, phantasms, and dreams ; Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint Th' animal spirits that from pure blood arise 805 Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
785 shield] · Declinare ad hastam, vel ad scutum.' Livy.
Hume. 8:32 organs] v. Mer. W. of Wind. A. v. S. v. • Raise
Todd. VOL. I.
At least distemper’d, discontented thoughts,
Which of those rebel spirits adjudg’d to hell
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 your selves unknown, 830 The lowest of your throng; or if ye know, Why ask ye, and superfluous begin Your message, like to end as much in vain? sitting] Nor shall he hope to sit where Nero scars.'
See Tragedy of C. T. Nero, p. 13 (1607). 830 Not to know] · Nobilem ignorari, est inter ignobiles censeri.' v. J. C. Scaligeri Vitum, p. 5. 4to.
To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with
Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same 835
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 observed His lustre visibly impair'd; 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 thee wicked, and thence weak.
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.
• Virtutem videant, intabescantque relicta.' Hume.
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 quellid 860 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.
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 pre
scrib'd To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge Of others, who approve not to transgress By thy example, but have power and right 859 Champing] See Æsch. Prom. Vinct. 1008.
δακών δε στόμιον ως νεοζυγής Πώλος, βιάζη και προς ηνίας μάχη. Thyer.
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 heav'n 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 [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 barr 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; But that implies not violence or harm.
Thus he in scorn. The warlike angel mov'd, Disdainfully half smiling, thus reply'd. I 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 894 Dole] Hamlet. A. i. S. ii. Weighing delight with dole.'