Page images
PDF
EPUB

700

705

710

715

Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore,
Bursting their brazen dungeon, arm'd with ice,
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust, and flaw,
Boreas and Cæcias, and Argestes loud,
And Thrascias, rend the woods, & seas upturn;
With adverse blast upturns them, from the south,
Notus and Afer, black with thunderous clouds
From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce,
Forth rush the Levant, & the Ponent winds,
Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise,
Sirocco, and Libecchio. Thus began
Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,
Daughter of Sin, among the irrational
Death introduced through fierce antipathy :
Beast now with beast 'gan war, & fowl with fowl,
And fish with fish ; to graze the herb all leaving,
Devour'd each other; nor stood much in awe
Of man, but Aled him, or, with countenance grim,
Glared on him passing. These were, from without
The growing miseries, which Adam saw
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
To sorrow abandon'd; but worse felt within,
And in a troubled sea of passion tost,
Thus to disburden sought, with sad complaint.

O miserable of happy! is this the end
Of this new glorious world, and me, so late
The glory of that glory, who now become
Accursed of blessed ? Hide me from the face
Of God, whom to behold was then my height
Of happiness; yet well, if here would end
The misery : I deserved it; and would bear
My own deservings; but this will not serve ;
All that I eat, or drink, or shall beget,
Is propagated curse. Ovoice once heard
Delightfully, Increase and multiply,'
Now death to hear! for what can I increase,
Or multiply, but curses

on my head ?
Who, of all ages to succeed, but feeling
The evil on him brought by me, will curse
My head? Illfare our ancestor impure,
For this we may thank Adam ; but his thanks
Shall be the execration; so besides
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
Shall, with a fierce reflux, on me redound,
On me, as

on their natural centre, light Heavy, though in their place. O Meeting joys Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes'

720

725

730

735

740 745

750

755

760

765

Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man? did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me, or here place,
In this delicious garden? as my will
Concurr'd not to my being, it were but right,
And equal, to reduce me to my dust,
Desirous to resign, and render back
All I received; unable to perform
Thy terms, too hard, by which I was to hold
The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable
Thy justice seems; yet, to say truth, too late
I thus contest; then should have been refused
Those terms whatever, when they were proposed.
Thou didst accept them; wilt thou enjoy the good
Then cavil the conditions ? and, though God
Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son
Prove disobedient, and reproved, retort,
Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not :
Wouldst thou admit, for his contempt of thee,
That proud excuse ? yet him, not thy election,
But natural necessity, begot.
God made thee, of choice his own, & of his own
To serve him; thy reward was of his grace;
Thy punishment then, justly is at his will.
Be it so, for I submit; his doom is fair
That dust I am, and shall to dust return.
O welcome hour whenever! why delays
His hand to execute what his decree
Fix'd on this day? why do I overlive?
Why am I mock'd with death, & lengthend out
To deathless pain? how gladly would I meet
Mortality, my sentence, and be earth
Insensible ! how glad would lay me down,
As in my mother's lap! there I should rest
And sleep secure: his dreadful voice no more
Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse
To me and to my offspring, would torment me,
With cruel expectation.

Yet one doubt
Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man,
Which God inspired, cannot together perish
With this corporeal clod; then in the grave,
Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? () thought
forrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath

770

775

780

785

790

795

800

805

810

Of life that sinned; what dies, but what had life
And sin ? the body properly hath neither.
All of me then shall die : let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is his wrath also ? be it; Man is not so,
But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise
Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end?
Can he make deathless death? that were to make
Strange contradiction, which to God himself
Impossible is held, as argument
Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out,
For anger's sake, finite to infinite
In punish'd man, to satisfy his rigour,
Satisfied never ? that were to extend
His sentence beyond dust, & nature's law
By which all causes else, according still
To the reception of their matter, act,
Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
Bereaving sense, but endless 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 thundering back with dreadful revolution
On
my

defenceless head ! both Death and I
Am found eternal, and incorporate both;
Nor I on my part single; in me all
Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, sons ! O were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !
So disinherited, how would ye 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
With me? how can they then acquitted stand
In sight of God? Him after all disputes,
Forced, I absolve : all my evasions vain,
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
But to my own conviction : first and last
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 support
That burden, heavier than the earth to bear,
Than all the world much heavier, though divided

815

820

825

830

835

840

845

850

855

With that bad woman? Thus what thou desirest,
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable,
Beyond all past example, and future,
To Satan only like, both crime and doom.
O conscience, into what abyss of fears
And horrors hast thou driven me! out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged.”

Thus Adam, to himself, lamented loud
Through the still night; not now, as ere man fell,
Wholesome, & cool, & mild, but with black air
Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom;
Which, to his evil conscience, represented
All things with double terror. On the ground
Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground, & oft
Curs'd his creation; death as oft accused
Of tardy execution, since denounced
The day of his offence. “Why comes not death,"
Said he," with one thrice-acceptable stroke
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 prayers or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, & bowers,
With other echo, late, I taught your shades
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 essay'd :
But her, with stern regard, he thus repell’d.

“Out of my sight, thou serpent ! that name best
Befits thee, with him leagued, thyself as false
And hateful : nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth ; lest that too heavenly form, pretended,
To hellish falsehood snare them. But for thee,
I had persisted happy; had not thy pride
And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen,
Though by the Devil himself, him overweening
To over-reach ; but, with the Serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguil'd; by him thou, I by thee,
To trust thee from my side, imagined wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,
And understood not all was but a show

860

865

870

875

880

885

890

895

900

905

Rather than solid virtue, all but a rib,
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister ; from me drawn,
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
To my just number found. Owhy did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With men, as angels, pithout feminine ;
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind ? this mischief had not then befallen;
And more that shall befal, innumerable
Disturbances on earth, througlı female snares,
And strait 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,
Through 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;
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To human life, and household

peace

confound.”
He added not, & from her turn'd. But Eve,
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing
And tresses all disordered, at his feet
Fell humble, and embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam ; witness Heaven,
What love sincere, and reverence, in my heart
I bear thee; and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceived; 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,
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 peace; both joining,
As join'd in injuries, one enmity
Against a foe, by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel Serpent.

On me exercise not
Thy hatred, for this misery befallen;
On me, already lost, me, than thyself
More miserable; both have sinn'd; but thou

910

915

920

925

930

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »