Page images

60 “ Man's friend, his Mediator-his design'd

“ Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary;
“ And destin'd man himself to judge man fall’n.”

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son 65 Blaz'd 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 70 Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son belov'd,

May'st ever rest well pleas’d. I go to judge “On earth these thy transgressors; but thou knowest, “ Whoever judg’d, the worst on me must light

“ When time shall be; for so I undertook
75 “Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain

“Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
“ On me deriv’d: yet I shall temper so
“ Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most

“ Them fully satisfied, and thee appease. 80 • Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none

“ Are to behold the judgment, but the judg’d-
“ Those two; the third, best absent, is condemn'd,
“ Convíct 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.
90 Down he descended straight: the speed of gods

Time counts not, though with swiftest 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 wak'd, and usher in
95 The ev’ning 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 declin'd—they heard, 100 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, 105 “Not pleas'd, thus entertaind 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 110 To offend-discount'nanc'd both, and discompos'd :

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.
115 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 fear'd, 120 “But still rejoic'd; 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: 125 “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, 130 “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

135 “Devolv'd : though, should I hold my peace, yet thou

“Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
“ This woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
“ And gav'st me as thy perfect gift—so good-

“So fit—so ácceptable—so divine, 140

“ That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
And what she did—whatever in itself,
“Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;

gave me of the tree, and I did eat."

To whom the Sov'ran Presence thus replied: 145 “ Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey

“Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
“Superior, or but equal, that to her
“ Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place

“ Wherein God set thee above her made of thee, 150 “And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd

“Hers in all real dignity? Adorn'd
“ She was indeed, and lovely, to attract

Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts

“ Were such, as under government well seem'd155 “ Unseemly to bear rule ; which was thy part

“ And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.”

So having said, he thus to Eve in few :
Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done ?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd, 160 Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge

Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd replied :
“ The serpent me beguild, and I did eat !”

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay

To judgment he proceeded on the accus’d 165 Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer

The guilt on him who made him instrument
Of mischief, and polluted from the end
Of his creation ; justly then accurs’d,

As vitiated in nature : more to know
170 Concern'd not man, (since he no further knew,)

Nor alter'd his offence ; yet God at last
To Satan first in sin his doom applied,

Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best:

And on the serpent thus his curse let fall :
175 “ Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd

“ Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
• Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go,
“ And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.

“ Between thee and the woman I will put 180 “Enmity, and between thine and her seed;

“ Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.”

So spake this oracle, then verified
When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,

Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from heaven, 185 Prince of the air ; then, rising from his grave,

Spoil'd Principalities and Powers, triumph'd
In open show; and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,

The realm itself of Satan, long usurp'd;
190 Whom he shall tread at last under our feet,

Ev'n he, who now foretold his fatal bruise:
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd:

Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
“By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
195 In sorrow forth ; and to thy husband's will

“ Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule."

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd : “ Because thou hast hearken'd to the voice of thy wife,

And eaten of the tree concerning which 200 “I charg'd thee, saying, ' Thou shalt not eat thereof;'

“Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
“Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;
“ Thorns also, and thistles, it shall bring thee forth

“ Unbid; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field: 205 “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,

“ Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
“ Out of the ground wast taken; know thy birth!
“ For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return."

So judg’d he man, both Judge and Saviour sent; 210 And the instant stroke of death denounc'd that day,

Remov'd far off; then, pitying how they stood
Before him naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin

Thenceforth the form of servant to assume ; 215 As when he washed his servants' feet; so now,

As father of his family, he clad
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or, as the snake, with youthful coat repaid ;

And thought not much to clothe his enemies : 220 Nor he their outward only, with the skins

Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness
Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.

To him with swift ascent he up return'd, 225 Into his blissful bosom re-assum'd

In glory, as of old—to him appeas'd
All, though all-knowing—what had pass'd with man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on earth, 230 Within the gates of hell sat Sin and Death,

In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the fiend pass'd through,

Sin opening; who thus now to Death began : 235 “O son ! why sit we here each other viewing

“ Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
“ In other worlds, and happier seat provides
“For us his offspring dear? It cannot be

“ But that success attends him: if mishap, 240 “Ere this he had return'd, with fury driv'n “ By his avengers ;

avengers; since no place like this
“Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
“Methinks I feel new strength within me rise-

Wings growing—and dominion given me large, 245 Beyond this deep ; whatever draws me on

“Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
“ Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
“With secret amity, things of like kind,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »