Then when I am thy captive talk of chains
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IV, 970
When I am thy captive talk of chains,
Not before then while I am free.
I stand here a lord, a prince of hell,
In full possession of my natural liberty.
You saw me in battle against the hosts of God,
And know that at my voice your comrades flee
Were we to make battle here, and meet celestial sword and spear
I would stand over your corpse crying out ‘Victory’!
So speak not of manacles, of blinds and gags
I am not your captive, nor will I ever be.
We’re back to Satan for the title quote – here, he chastises the angels for speaking of chains before they have captured him. He manages to escape the angels, of course, allowing the rest of the work to happen. Hopefully, this poem manages to preserve some of Satan’s pride.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic