Page images

To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed;
Love was not in their looks, either to God,
Or to each other; but apparent guilt,
And shame, and perturbation, and despair;
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answer'd brief:

“I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice Afraid, being naked, hid myself.” To whom The gracious Judge, without revile, replied:

My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear'd, But still rejoiced; how is it now become So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree, Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?

To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied: “O heaven! in evil strait this day I stand Before my Judge; either to undergo Myself the total crime, or to accuse My other self, the partner of my life; Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, I should conceal, and not expose to blame By my complaint; but strict necessity Subdues me, and calamitous constraint; Lest on my head both sin and punishment, However insupportable, be all Devolved; though, should I hold my peace, yet thou Wouldst easily detect what I conceal. This woman, whom thou madest to be my help, And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good, So fit, so acceptable, so divine, That from her hand I could suspect no ill,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

And what she did, whatever in itself,
Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
To whom the sovereign Presence thus replied:

“Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
Superior, or but equal, that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Hers in all real dignity ? Adorn'd
She was, indeed, and lovely, to attract
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem'd;
Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part

hadst thou known thyself aright."
So having said, he thus to Eve in few:
Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done ?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge
Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd replied:
“The serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.”

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
To judgment he proceeded on the accused
Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer
The guilt on him who made him instrument
Of mischief, and polluted from the end
Of his creation: justly then accursed,
As vitiated in nature: more to know
Concern'd not man (since he no further knew,)
Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last

To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied,
Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best:
And on the serpent thus his curse let fall:

“ Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed
Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go,
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the woman I will put
Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his

So spake this oracle, then verified,
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from heaven,
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave,
Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd
In open show; and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan, long usurp’d;
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise:
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd:

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.”

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced: “ Because thou hast hearken’d to the voice of thy

wife, And eaten of the tree concerning which I charged thee, saying, “Thou shalt not eat thereof,'

Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life;
Thorns, also, and thistles, it shall bring thee forth
Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
Out of the ground wast taken: know thy birth,
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.”

So judged he man, both Judge and Saviour sent;
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
Removed far off; then pitying how they stood
Before him, naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
As when he wash'd his servants' feet; so now,
As father of his family, he clad
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid ;
And thought not much to clothe his enemies:
Nor he their outward only with the skins
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness
Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him, with swift ascent, he up return’d,
Into his blissful bosom reassumed,
In glory, as of old; to him, appeased,
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judged on

earth, Within the gates of hell sat Sin and Death,

In counterview within the gates, that now Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Far into Chaos, since the fiend passed through, Sin opening; who-thus now to Death began :

O son, why sit we here, each other viewing Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives In other worlds, and happier seat provides For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be But that success attends him; if mishap, Ere this he had return'd, with fury driven By his avengers: since no place like this Can fit his punishment, or their revenge. Methinks I feel new strength within me rise, Wings growing, and dominion given me large, Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, Or sympathy, or some connatural force, Powerful at greatest distance to unite, With secret amity, things of like kind, By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade Inseparable, must with me along : For Death from Sin no power can separate. But, lest the difficulty of passing back Stay his return, perhaps, over this gulf Impassable, impervious, let us try Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine Not unagreeable, to found a path Over this main from hell to that new world, Where Satan now prevails; a monument Of merit high to all the infernal host, Easing their passage hence, for intercourse, Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »