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Incurr'd (what could they less ?) the penalty, 15
Assembled Angels, and ye low'rs return'd From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd
35 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
40 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 45 His free-will, to her own inclining left In even scale. But fall’n 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, 50 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.
24. Mir'd with pity must be read as in a parenthesis, according to Warburton ; the idea of angelic sadness thus softened bring very just and beautiful.
But whom send I to judge them? Whom but thee, 55
86 Resplendent all his father manifest Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild:
Father Eternal, thine is to decree ; Mine, both in Heav'n and Earth, to do thy will Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 70 May'st 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 75 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 satisfy'd, and thee appease. Attendance none shall need, nor train where none 80 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 85 Of high collat'ral glory': bim Thrones and Pow'rs, 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 90 Time counts not, tho' with swiftest minutes wing'd. Now was the sun in western cadence low From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour
56. John v. 22-27.
39. Ps. Ixxxv. 10.
92. Gen. iii. 6, and following verses,
To fan the earth, now waked, and usher in
He came, and with him Eve, more loth, tho' first
120 So dreadful to thee? That thou'rt naked, who Hath told thee? Hlast thou eaten of the tree Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, reply'd : O Heav'n! in evil strait this day I stand
125 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 130 By my complaint; but strict necessity Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, Lest on my head both sin and punishment, However insupportable, be all Devolved ; tho', should I hold my peace, yet thou 135 Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
To whom the Sov'reign Presence thus reply'd :
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, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160 Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd, reply'd : The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th' accused Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 165 The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accursed, As vitiated in nature : more to know Concern'd not Man (since he no further knew) 170 Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied, Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best; And on the serpent thus his curse let fall:
156. Person, here used in the sense of the Latin persona, character.
169. Warburton conjectures from this passage that Milton had not the intention when he wrote it, of making Michael give Adam the information on redemption which is found in the xiith book. If it be not so, the passage as he observes is out of place.
Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 175
So spake this Oracle, then verify'd
On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced : Because thou'st hearken'd to th' voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree, concerning which
199 I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof; Cursed 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 th'herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 205 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 judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, And th' instant stroke of death denounced, that day Removed far off; then pitying how they stood 211 Before him naked to the air, that now Must suffer change, disdain’d not to begin Thenceforth the form of servant to assume,
184. There are several allusions to Scripture in this and the following lines, Luke x. 18. Eph. ii. 2. Col. ii. 15. Ps. Ixviii, 1& and Rom. xxi. 20.
214. Philip. il. 7.