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Of weakness, not of pow'r. Will he draw out,
For anger's sake, finite to infinite
In punish'd Man, to satisfy his rigour,
Satisfy'd never ? That were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law, 805
By which all causes else, according still
To the reception of their matter, act;
Not to th’extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I suppos’d,
Bereaving sense, but endles misery

From this day onward, which I feel begun
Both in me and without me, and so last
To perpetuity! Ah me! that fear
Comes thund'ring back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head! Both Death and I
Am found eternal, and incorp'rate both!
Nor I on my part single: in me all
Posterity stands curs’d! Fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, Sons!. O were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none ! 820
So disinherited, how would


bless Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind For one man's fault thus guiltless be condemn’d, If guiltless ? But from me what can proceed But all corrupt, both mind and will deprav’d; Not to do only, but to will the same 826 With me! How can they then acquitted stand In sight of God? Him, after all disputes Forc'd, I absolve. All my

evasions vain, And reasonings, tho' through mazes, lead me still

But to my own conviction. First and last 831
On me, me only, as the source and spring
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due:
So might the wrath. Fond wish! couldst thou

That burden, heavier than the earth to bear, 835
Than all the world much heavier, tho' divided
With that bad Woman! Thus, what thou desir'st
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee mis'rable
Beyond all past example and future: 840
To Satan only like, both crime and doom.
O Conscience! into what abyss of fears
And horrors hast thou driv'n me! out of which
I find no way! from deep to deeper plung’d!

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud 845 Through the still night, not now, as ere Man fell, Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air Accompany’d, with damps and dreadful gloom, Which to his evil conscience represented All things with double terror.

On the ground Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground, and oft Curs'd his creation ; Death as oft accus'd Of tardy execution, since denounc'd The day of his offence. Why comes not Death, Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke, 855 To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word ! Justice divine not hasten to be just ! But Death comes not at call; Justice divine Mends not her slowest pace for pray’rs or cries !

O woods, O fountains, hillocs, dales, and bow'rs, With other echo, late I taught your shades

861 To answer, and resound far other song ! Whom thus afflicted, when sad Eve beheld, Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, Soft words to his fierce passion she assay’d: 865 But her with stern regard he thus repell’d:

Out of my sight, thou Serpent! that name best Befits thee with him leagu'd, thyself as false And hateful! nothing wants, but that thy shape Like his, and colour serpentine, may show 870 Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee Henceforth, lest that too heav'nly form, pretended To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee I had persisted happy', had not thy pride And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe, Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd 876 Not to be trusted, longing to be seen Tho' by the Devil himself, him overweening To o'er-reach, but with the Serpent meeting Fool'd and beguil'd, by him thou, I by thee, To trust thee from my side, imagin'd wise, 881 Constant, mature, proof against all assaults, And understood not all was but a show Rather than solid virtue'; all but a rib Crook'd by nature, bent, as now appears,

885 More to the part sinister, from me drawn, Well if thrown out, as supernumerary To my just number found. O why did God, Creator wise, that peopl’d highest Heav'n

With Spirits masculine, create at last 890
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With Men, as Angels, without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind ? This mischief had not then befall'n,
And more that shall befall, innum'rable 896
Disturbances on earth, through female snares,
And straight conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain,
Thro' her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary', his hate or shame: 906
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To human life, and household-peace confound.

He added not, and from her turn'd. But Eve, Not so repuls’d, with tears that ceas'd not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

911 Fell humble, and embracing them, besought His peace;

and thus proceeded in her plaint: Forsake me not thus, Adam! Witness, Heav'n, What love sincere, and rev'rence in my heart I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, 916 Unhappily deceiv'd! Thy suppliant I beg, and clasp thy knees. Bereave me not, Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,

Thy counsel in this uttermost distress, 920 My only strength and stay. Forlorn of thee, Whither shall I betake me? where subsist? While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, Between us two let there be


both joining, As join'd in injuries, one enmity

925 Against a foe by doom express assign'd us, That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not Thy hatred for this misery befall’n, On me already lost, me than thyself More miserable. Both have sinn'd; but thou Against God only'; I against God and thee, And to the place of judgment will return, There with my cries importune Heav’n, that all The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe!

935 Me, me only, just object of his ire.

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight, Immoveable till peace obtain'd from fault Acknowledg'd and deplor’d, in Adam wrought Commiseration. Soon his heart relented

940 Tow'rds her, his life so late and sole delight, Now at his feet submissive in distress, Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking, His counsel, whom she had displeas’d, his aid; As one disarm’d, his anger all he lost, 945 And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon:

Unwary', and too desirous, as before, So now of what thou know'st not, who desir'st The punishment all on thyself; alas,

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