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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
Against God only, I against God and thee,
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune Heaven, that all
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,
Me, me only, just object of his ire !

She ended, weeping, and her lowly plight,
Immovable till peace obtained from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
Commiseration ; soon his heart relented
Towards 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 displeased, his aid;
As one disarm’d, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon:

Unwary and too desirous as before, So now, of what thou know'st not, who desirest The punishment all on thyself; alas, Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part, And my displeasure bear’st so 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, Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven, To me committed, and by me exposed. But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive, In offices of love, how we may lighten Each other's burden in our share of woe; Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see, Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil, A long day's dying to augment our pain, And to our seed, O hapless seed ! derived.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied : Adam, by sad experiment I know How little weight my words with thee can find Found so erroneous, thence by just event Found so unfortunate ; nevertheless, Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place

Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
Thy love, the sole contentment of

my heart,
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
Tending to some relief of our extremes,
Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
As in our evils, and of easier choice.
If care of our descent perplex us most,
Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
By Death at last, and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery,
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
Into this cursed world a woeful race,
That after wretched life must be at last
Food for so foul a monster, in thy power
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
Childless thou art, childless remain : so Death
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two
Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,
And, with desire to languish without hope,
Before the present object languishing
With like desire, which would be misery,
And torment less than none of what we dread,
Then both ourselves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both, let us make short,
Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply
With our own hands his office on ourselves.
Why stand we longer shivering under fears,
That show no end but death, and have the power,
Of many ways to die, the shortest choosing,
Destruction with destruction to destroy ?

She ended here, or vehement despair
Broke off the rest ; so much of death her thoughts
Had entertain'd, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
But Adam, with such counsel nothing sway'd,
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied :

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contemns ;
But self-destruction therefore sought refutes
That excellence thought in thee, and implies,
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
For loss of life and pleasure overloved.
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
Of nisery, so thinking to evade
The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God
Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire than so

M

To be forestall’d; much more I fear lest death
So snatch'd will not exempt us from the pain
We are by doom to pay ; rather, such acts
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
To make death in us live : then let us seek
Some safer resolution, which methinks
I have in view, calling to mind with heed
Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise
The serpent's head : piteous amends, unless
Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe,
Satan, who in the serpent hath contrived
Against us this deceit. To crush his head
Would be revenge indeed ; which will be lost
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe
Shall ’scape his punishment ordain'd, and we
Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
No more be mention'd then of violence
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
Reluctance against God, and his just yoke
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard and judged
Without wrath or reviling; we expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought
Was meant by death that day, when, lo! to thee
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy,
Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope
Glanced on the ground, with labour I must earn
My bread; what harm ? Idleness had been worse ;
My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold
Or heat should injure us, his timely care
Hath unbesought provided, and his hands
Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged.
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
And teach us further by what means to shun
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow,
Which now the sky with various face begins
To show us in this mountain, while the winds
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
Of these fair-spreading trees, which bids us seek
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumb'd, ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the ght, how we his gather'd beams
Reflected may with matter sere foment,
Or, by collision of two bodies, grind
The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds
Justling, or push'd with winds rude in their shock,
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driven down
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
And sends a comfortable heat from far,
Which might supply the sun. Such fire to use,
And what may else be remedy or cure
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him, so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust, our final rest and native home
What better can we do, than, to the place
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
From his displeasure, in whose look serene,
When angry most he seem'd and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?

So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse : they forth with to the place
Repairing where he judged them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd
Humbly their faults, and pardon begg’d, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd and humiliation meek.

BOOK X1

THE ARGUMENT.

The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now re

penting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael with a band of cherubim to dispossess them; but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming down. Adam shows to Eve certain ominous signs ; he discerns Michael's approach ; goes out to meet him: the angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits : the angel leads him up to a high hill ; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the flood.

Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from the mercy-seat above
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'd
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspired, and wing'd for heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory : yet their port

Not of mean suitors, nor important less
Seem'd their petition, than when the ancient pair,
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore
The race of mankind drown'd, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To heaven their prayers
Flew up, nor miss'd the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they pass'd
Dimensionless through heavenly doors ; then clad
With incense, where the golden altar fumed,
By their great Intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne : them the glad Son
Presenting, thus to intercede began :

See, Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung
From thy implanted grace in man, these sighs
And prayers, which, in this golden censer mix'd
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring,
Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen
From innocence. Now therefore bend thine ear
To supplication ; hear his sighs, though mute;
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me
Interpret for him, me his Advocate
And propitiation ; all his works on me
Good or not good ingraft; my merit those
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me, and in me from these receive
The smell of peace toward mankind, let him live
Before thee reconciled, at least his days
Number'd, though sad, till death his doom, which I
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,
To better life shall yield him, where with me
All my redeem'd may dwell in joy and bliss;
Made one with me as I with thee am one.

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene :
All thy request for man, accepted Son,
Obtain, all thy request was my decree :
But, longer in that Paradise to dwell
The law I gave to nature him forbids :
Those pure immortal elements, that know
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul,
Eject him, tainted now, and purge him off,
As a distemper, gross to air as gross,
And mortal food, as may dispose him best
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first
Distemper'd all things, and of incorrupt
Corrupted. I at first with two fair gifts
Created him endow'd, with happiness
And immortality : that fondly lost,
This other served but to eternise woe,

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