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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, devoured 98c
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 990
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 our selves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both, let us make short; 1000
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 ?”


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She ended here, or vehement despair Broke off the rest ; so much of death her thoughts Had entertained as dyed her cheeks with pale. But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed, 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 misery, so thinking to evade The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire than so To be forestalled. Much more I fear lest death So snatched 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 1030 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 ordained, and we Instead shall double ours upon our heads. 1040 No more be mentioned, 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, 1051
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 1060
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 benumbed_ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 1070
Reflected may with matter sere foment,
Or by collision of two bodies grind
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds,
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame, driven

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
And sends a comfortable heat from

Which might supply the Sun.

Such fire to use, And what may else be remedy or cure To evils which our own inisdeeds have wrought, 1080 He will instruct us praying, and of grace Beseeching him ; so as we need not fe To pass commodiously this life, sustained 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 1090 Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek ? Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn From his displeasure, in whose look serene, When angry most he seemed and most severe, What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone ?"

So spake our Father penitent; nor Eve Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell Before him reverent, and both confessed Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek.

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THE ARGUMENT. The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now repenting, 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.

HUS 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 breathed
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory.

Yet their port Not of mean suitors ; nor important less Seemed 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 drowned, before the shrine Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers Flew up, nor missed the

by envious winds Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they passed Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then, clad With incense, where the golden altar fumed,



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