From Paradise Lost, Book 5. An exchange between Satan and the angel Abdiel — “than whom none with more zeal adored The Deity” — after Abdiel angrily asks, “Shall thou give law to God? shalt thou dispute With him the points of liberty, who made Thee what thou art, and formed the Powers of Heaven Such as he pleased and circumscribed their being? . . . . His laws our laws; all honor to him done Returns our own.”
Whereat rejoiced th’ Apostate, and more haughty thus replied:
That we were form’d then, say’st thou? and the work
Of secondary hands, by task transfer’d
From Father to his Son? Strange point, and new!
Doctrine which we would know whence learn’d: who saw
When this creation was? Remember’st thou
Thy making, while the Maker gave thee being?
We know no time when we were not as now;
Know none before us, self-begot, self-raised
By our own quick’ning pow’r, when fatal course
Had circled his full orb, the birth mature
Of this our native Heav’n, ethereal sons.
Our puissance is our own; our own right hand
Shall teach us highest deeds, by proof to try
Who is our equal: then thou shalt behold
Whether by supplication we intend
Address, and to begirt th’almighty throne
Beseeching or besieging. This report,
These tidings, carry to th’Anointed King;
And fly, ere evil intercept thy flight.