Page images
PDF
EPUB

In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join

660
In synod unbenign; and taught the fix'd
Their influence malignant when to shower,
Which of them rising with the sun or falling,
Should prove tempestuous: To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound 665
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aerial hall.
Some say, he bid his Angels turn askance
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more,
From the sun's axle; they with labor push'd 670
Oblique the centric globe: Some say, the sun
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
Up to the Tropic Crab; thence down amain 675
By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,
As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change
Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring
Perpetual smiled on earth with verdant flowers,
Equal in days and nights, except to those

680 Beyond the polar circles; to them day Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun, To recompense his distance in their sight Had rounded still the horizon, and not known Or east or west; which had forbid the snow 685 From cold Estotiland, and south as far Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit The sun, as from Thyestean banquet turn'd His course intended; else how had the world Inhabited, though sinless, more than now

690 Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced Like change on sea and land; sideral blast, Vapor, and mist, and exhalation hot,

Corrupt and pestilent; Now from the north 695
Of Norumbega, and the Sameod shore,
Bursting their brazen dungeon, arm’d with ice,
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw,
Boreas, and Cæcias, and Argestes loud,
And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn; 700
With adverse blast upturns them from the south
Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds
From Serraliona; thwart of these as fierce,
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise, 705
Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first,
Daughter of Sin, among the irrational
Death introduced, through fierce antipathy:
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving, 711
Devour'd each other; nor stood much in awe
Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim,
Glared on him passing. These were from without
The growing miseries, which Adam saw
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
To sorrow abandon’d, but worse felt within;
And in a troubled sea of passion toss’d,
Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint:
O miserable of happy! Is this the end

720
Of this new glorious world, and me so late
The glory of that glory, who now become
Accursed of blessed? hide me from the face
Of God, whom to behold was then my height
Of happiness!-Yet well, if here would end 725
The misery; I deserved it, and would bear
My own deservings; but this will not serve:
All that I eat or drink, or shall beget,
Is propagated curse. O voice, once heard
Delightfully, Increase and multiply:

730

715

my clay

Now death to hear! for what can I increase,
Or multiply, but curses on my head?
Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling
The evil on him brought by me, will curse
My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure!

735
For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks
Shall be the execration: so, besides
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound;
On me, as on their natural centre, light

740 Heavy, though in their place. O feeting joys Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes! Did I request thee, Maker, from To mould me Man? did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me, or here place 745 In this delicious garden? As my will Concurr'd not to my being, it were but right And equal to reduce me to my dust: Desirous to resign and render back All I received; unable to perform

750 Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold The good I sought not. To the loss of that, Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable Thy justice seems; yet, to say truth, too late

755 I thus contest; then should have been refused Those terms, whatever, when they were proposed: Thou didst accept them: wilt thou enjoy the good, Then cavil the conditions? and, though God Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son 760 Prove disobedient; and, reproved, retort, Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not: Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee, That proud excuse? yet him not thy election, But natural necessity begot.

765 God made thee of choice his own, and of his own

To serve him; thy reward was of his grace;
Thy punishment then justly is at his will.
Be it so, for I submit; his doom is fair,
That dust I am, and shall to dust return:

770
O welcome hour whenever! Why delays
His hand to execute what his decree
Fix'd on this day? Why do I overlive?
Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd out
To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet 775
Mortality my sentence, and be earth
Insensible! How glad would lay me down
As in my mother's lap! There I should rest,
And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more
Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse 780
To me and to my offspring would torment me
With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die;
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man
Which God inspired, cannot together perish 785
With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave,
Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death! O thought
Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath
Of life that sinn'd; what dies but what had life 790
And sin? The body properly had neither.
All of me then shall die: let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is his wrath also? Be it; Man is not so,

795 But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end? Can he make deathless death? That were to make Strange contradiction, which to God himself Impossible is held; as argument

800 Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out For anger's sake, finite to infinite,

In punish'd Man, to satisfy his rigor,
Satisfied never? That were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law;

805
By which all causes else, according still
To the reception of their matter, act;
Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
Bereaving sense, but endless misery

810 From this day onward; which I feel begun Both in me, and without me; and so last. To perpetuity;—Ah me! that fear Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution On my defenceless head; both Death and I 815 Are found eternal, and incorporate both; Nor I on my part single; in me all Posterity stands accursed; fair patrimony That I must leave ye, Sons! O, were I able To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! 820 So disinherited, how would you bless Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind, For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd, If guiltless? But from me what can proceed, But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved 825 Not to do only, but to will the same With me? How can they then acquitted stand In sight of God? Him, after all disputes, Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain, And reasonings, though through mazes, led me still But to my own conviction: first and last

831 On me, me only, as the source and spring Of all corruption, all the blame lights due; So might the wrath! Fond wish! couldst thou support That burden, heavier than the earth to bear; 835 Than all the world much heavier, though divided With that bad Woman! Thus, what thou desirest, And what thou fear’st, alike destroys all hope

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »