The spear of the the angel Ithuriel, the slightest touch of
which exposed deceit. Hence, when Satan squatted like a toad “close to
the ear of Eve,” Ithuriel only touched the creature with his spear, and
it resumed the form of Satan.
Him [i.e. Satan], thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness.
Milton: Paradise Lost, iv 810-813.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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