Page images

Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought
Horrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath
Of life that find; what dies but what had life 190
And fin? 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 fo,

But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise
Wrath without end on man whom death must end?
Can he make deathlefs death? that were to make
Strange contradiction, which to God himself
Impoliible is held, as argument

800 Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out, For anger's fake, finite to infinite In punish'd min, to satisfy his rigour Satisfy'd never ? that were to extend His fentence 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 endless misery

810 From this day onward, which I feel begun Both in me, and without me, and so last To perpetuity : Ay me, that fear Comes thund'ring back with dreadful revolution On my defenceless head; both death and I

815 Am found eternal, and incorporate both; Nor I on my part single, in me all Posterity stands eurs'd: fair patrimony That I must leave ye, fons; O were I able To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !




So disinherited, how would ye blefs
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 depravid,
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
Force'd I absolve: all my evasions vain,
And reasonings, though thro' mazes, lead me still

But to my own conviction : first and last
: On me, me only, as the fource 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
With that bad woman? Thus what thou desir'st,
And what thou fear'it, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and future,

840 To Satan only like both crime and doom. O Conscience, into what abyfs of fears. And horrours haft thou driv'n me; out of which I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud Through the still night; not now, as ere man fell, Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom, Which to his evil confcience represented All things with double terrour : on the ground 850 Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground, and oft Curs'd his creation, death as oft accus'd Of tardy execution, since denounce'd 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 lowest pace for pray’rs or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers,
With other echo late I taught your shades 861
To answer, and resound far other fong.
Whom thus afflicted when fad Eve beheld,
Desolate where she fat, approaching nigh,
Soft words to his fierce paflion she assay'd : 865
But her with stern regard he thus repell’d.

Out of my fight, thou Serpent; that name best
Befits thee with himn leagu'd, thyself as false
And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour ferpentine, may fhow

Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth ; left that too heavenly 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 fafe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,
Though by the dev'il himself, him overweening
To overreach ; but with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguild; by him thou, I by thee, 880
To trust thee from my side, imagin’d wise,
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,

More to the part sinister, from me drawn,
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
To myjust number found. O why did God,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

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 without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind? This mischief had not then befall'n, 895
And more that shall befall; innumerable
Dilturbances on earth through female snares,
And strait conjunction with this fex : for either
He never fhall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or miltake; goo
Or whom he wishes most fhall seldoin gain
Through her perverseness; but shall see her gain'd
By a far worfe; or if the 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.calainity shall cause
To human life, and household-peace confound.

He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve
Not fo repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing,
And treffes all disorder'd, at his feet

Fell humble, and embracing them, befought,
His peace; and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness Heaven
What love fincere, and reverence in my heart 915
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv’d.; thy suppliant-
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle tooks, thy.aid,
Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress, 1920
My only strength and stay : forlorn of thee,
Whether Iball I betake me, where fubfift?

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

925 Against a foe by doom express affign'd us, That cruel ferpent. On me exercise not Thy hatred for this mifery befallen, On me already loft, me than thyself Moré miserable: both have finn'd, but thoi 930 Against God only, I'gainit God and thee; And to the place of judgement will return, There with my cries importune Heaven, that all The sentence from thy head remov'd, may light On me, fole cause to thee of all this woe, 935 Me, only me, just object of his ire !

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight, Immoveable till peace obtain'd from fault Acknowledge'd and deplor'd, in Adain wrought Conimiseration : foon his heart relented

940 Towards her, his life so late and fole delight, Now at his feet fubmiflive in distress, Creature fo fair his reconcilement feeking, His counsel, whom the had displeas’d, his aid; As one difarmd, his anger all he loft,

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'it The punishment all on thyself; alas, Bear thine own first, ill able to fustain

950 His full wrath, whose thou feel’st as yet least part, And my displeasure bear'ft fo ill. If prayers Could alter high decrees, I to that place Would speed before thee, and be louder heard, That on my head all might be visited,

955 Thy frailty and infirmer fex forgiven,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »