The soul of rebellion

I crept my way
to the ninth circle of hell,
where all was frozen cold
and the wind stripped hot life
from my bones.

Seated on his throne of tears
was Satan, the Soul-Destroyer;
his sceptre gleaming as a jewel
although there was no sun.

"Why are you here?" I asked
"What is the meaning of rebellion?"

He said, "I am that part of you
which turns away from God,
so that in defiance, it may be humbled;
in betrayal, it may be forgiven;
in despair, it may hope for mercy;
in sorrow, it may want for succor.

"Without me, and my kingdom of the lost,
what would be the place of a Savior?
They say I was cast down from Heaven
to these infernal depths; but I say:
It is I who placed Them on Their throne!

"For though I dwell in the lowest place, consider fairly:
Am I not the first among His servants?

"Was I not the first night, on which the Sun arose?
the first silence, when the Word was spoken?
the first chill His love was made to warm?
the first tempest, that His mercy calmed?

"Perhaps this hell is other than how you see it;
perhaps it is only as terrible as you,
in your ignorance, have made it seem to be."

At that moment!
I saw no devil before me
but a thing of my own vision,
the creature of my very sight:

It was I who cast him down
to this lowest place;
and I, the savior,
whom he awaits to take him back.