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But such as at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms,
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother-tree, a pillar'd shade,
High overarch'd, and echoing walks between ;
There oft the Indian herdsman shunning heat
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds
At loopholes cut through thickest shade. Those leaves
They gather'd broad, as Amazonian targe,
And, with what skill they had, together sew'd
To gird their waist ; vain covering, if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame! O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found the American so girt
With feather'd cincture, naked else and wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in part
Cover'd, but not at rest or ease of mind,
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Rain'd at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once,
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
For understanding ruled not, and the will
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath
Usurping over sovereign reason claim'd
Superior sway: from thus distemper'd breast
Adam, estranged in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd :
Would thou hadst hearken’d to my words, and stay'd
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering this unhappy morn
I know not whence possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy, not, as now, despoil'd
Of all our good, shamed, naked, miserable.
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.
To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve:
What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam, severe?
Imputest thou that to my default, or will
Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows
But might as ill have happen'd thou being by,
Or to thyself
, perhaps? Hadst thou been there,
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discern'd
Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake;
No ground of enmity between us known,
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
Was I to have never parted from thy side ?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou saidst ?
Too facile then thou didst not much gainsay,
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me.
To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied:
Is this the love, is this the recompence
Of mine to thee, ungrateful Eve, express'd
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I,
Who might have lived and joy'd immortal bliss,
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?
And am I now upbraided, as the cause
Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint : what could I more?
I warn’d thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy,
That lay in wait ; beyond this had been force ;
And force upon free-will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on, secure
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial ; and perhaps
I also err'd in overmuch admiring
What seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue
The error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Him who, to worth in women overtrusting,
Lets her will rule ; restraint she will not brook,
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,
And of their vain contest appear'd no end.
Man's transgression known, the guardian angels forsake Paradise, and return
proud of his success, returning to hell; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium ; in full assembly relates with boasting his success against man; instead of applause, is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed, with himself also, suddenly into serpents, according to his doom given in Paradise ; then, deluded with a show of the forbidden tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death ; God foretells the final victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but for the present commands his angels to make several alterations in the heavens and elements. Adam, more and more perceiving his sallen condition, heavily bewails, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases him : then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he approves not ; but, conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the serpent, and exhorts her with him to seek peace of the offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.
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 freewill 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 remember'd
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 befell : 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 fallen 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 thee,
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 fallen.
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
Mayst 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,
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 swistest 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 first
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
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,
And what she did, whatever in itself,