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MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satan done in Paradise; and how
He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
Was known in heaven; for what can 'scape the eye
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind
of man, with strength entire, and free-will arm’d:
Complete to have discover'd and repulsed
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
For still they knew, and ought to have still

The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,
Whoever tempted; which they, not obeying,
Incurr'd (what could they less ?) the penalty;
And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.
Up into heaven from Paradise, in haste,
The angelic guards ascended, mute and sad,
For man; for of his state by this they knew,
Much wondering how the subtle fiend had stolen
Entrance unseen,

Soon as the unwelcome news

From earth arrived at heaven-gate, displeased
All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
That time celestial visages, yet, mix'd
With pity, violated not their bliss.
About the new-arrived, in multitudes,
The ethereal people ran, to hear and know
How all befel: they, towards the throne supreme
Accountable, made haste, to make appear,
With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance,
And easily approved; when the most High,
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud
Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice:

“ Assembled angels, and ye powers return'd
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay’d,
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
Which your sincerest care could not prevent;
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from hell

. I told ye then he should prevail, and speed On his bad errand; man should be seduced, And flatter'd out of all, believing lies Against his Maker; no decree of mine Concurring to necessitate his fall, Or touch with lightest moment of impulse His free-will, to her own inclining left In even scale. But fall’n he is; and now What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass On his transgression, death denounced that day? Which he presumes already vain and void, Because not yet inflicted, as he fear’d, By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find

Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.
Justice shall not return, as bounty, scorn'd.
But whom send I to judge them ? whom but

Vicegerent Son ? To thee I have transferr'd
All judgment, whether in heaven, or earth, or hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee,
Man's Friend, his Mediator, his design'd
Both Ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
And, destined Man himself, to judge man fall’n.”

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blazed forth unclouded deity; he full
Resplendent all his Father manifest
Express’d, and thus divinely answer'd mild :

“ Father Eternal, thine is to decree;
Mine, both in heaven and earth, to do thy will
Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved,
May'st ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st,
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be; for so I undertook
Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me derived; yet I shall temper so
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
Are to behold the judgment, but the judged,
Those two: the third, best absent, is condemn’d,

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Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:
Conviction to the serpent none belongs.”

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
Of high collateral glory. Him, thrones and powers,
Princedoms, and dominations ministrant,
Accompanied to heaven-gate; from whence
Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.
Down he descended straight; the speed of gods
Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes

wing'd. Now was the sun in western cadence low From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour, To fan the earth, now waked, and usher in The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool, Came, the mild Judge and Intercessor both, To sentence man: the voice of God they heard Now walking in the garden, by soft winds Brought to their ears, while day declined; they

heard, And from his presence hid themselves among The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God, Approaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud:

“Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet My coming, seen far off? I miss thee here; Not pleased, thus entertain’d with solitude, Where obvious duty erewhile appear’d unsought: Or come I less conspicuous, or what change Absents thee, or what chance detains ? Come

forth !” He came, and with him, Eve, more loth, though


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