Page images


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 arm’d his vengeful ire than so
To be forestall’d; much more I fear lest death,
So snatch'd, will not exempt us from the pain 1025
We are by doom to pay; rather, such
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

1035 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. 1040 No more be mention’d then of violence Against ourselves, and willful barrenness, That cuts us off from hope, and savors only Rancor and pride, impatience and despite, Reluctance against God and his just yoke 1045 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 1050 Pains only in childbearing were foretold, And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy, Fruit of thy womb: on me the curse aslope Glanced on the ground; with labor I must earn

My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse. 1055
My labor 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 1065
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 night, how we his gather'd beams 1070
Reflected may with matter sere foment;
Or, by collusion 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

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine;

1076 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, 1080 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.

1085 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 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, 1095
What else but favor, 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 confessed

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.



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.

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 breathed 5
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 10
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 15
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 20
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: 25
Fruits of more pleasing savor, 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 30
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,)

41 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; 45 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

50 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

55 Distemper'd all things, and of incorrupt Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts Created him endow'd;with happiness

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »