Page images
PDF
EPUB

65

And immortality; that fondly lost,
This other served but to eternize woe;

60
Till I provided death: so death becomes
His final remedy; and, after life,
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Waked in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renew'd.
But let us call to synod all the Bless'd

[hide Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not My judgments; how with mankind I proceed, As how with peccant Angels late they saw, 70 And in their state, though firm, stood more confirm’d.

He ended, and the Son gave signal high To the bright minister that watch'd; he blew His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps When God descended, and perhaps once more 75 To sound at general doom. The angelic blast Filld all the regions: from their blissful bowers Of Amarantine shade, fountian or spring, By the waters of life, where'er they sat In fellowships of joy, the sons of light

80 Hasted, resorting to the summons high; And took their seats; till from his throne supreme The Almighty thus pronounced his sov'reign will:

O Sons, like one of us Man is become To know both good and evil, since his taste 85 Of that defended fruit; but let him boast His knowledge of good lost, and evil got; Happier, had it sufficed him to have known Good by itself, and evil not at all. He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite, 90 My motions in him; longer than they move, His heart I know, how variable and vain, Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,

And live for ever, dream at least to live

95 For ever, to remove him I decree, And send him from the garden forth to till The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.

Michael, this my behest have thou in charge, Take to thee from among the Cherubim

100 Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend, Or in behalf of Man, or to invade Vacant possession, some new trouble raise: Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God Without remorse drive out the sinful pair; 105 From hallow'd ground the unholy; and denounce To them, and to their progeny, from thence Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint At the sad sentence rigorously urged, (For I behold them softened, and with tears 110 Bewailing their excess,) all terror hide. If patiently thy bidding they obey, Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal To Adam what shall come in future days, As I shall thee enlighten; intermix

115 My covenant in the Woman's seed renew'd; So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace: And on the east side of the garden place, Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, Cherubic watch; and of a sword the flame

120 Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright, And guard all passage to the tree of life: Lest Paradise a receptacle prove To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey: With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude. 125

He ceased; and the archangelic Power prepared For swift descent; with him the cohort bright Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each Had like a double Janus; all their shape Spangled with eyes more numerous than those 130

Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse,
Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile,
To resalute the world with sacred light,
Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews embalm'd 135
The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve
Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring
Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet link'd;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd: 140

Eve, easily may faith admit, that all
The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends,
But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-bless’d, or to incline his will, 145
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Even to the seat of God. For since I sought
By prayer the offended Deity to appease;
Kneeld, and before him humbled all my heart; 150
Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favor; peace return'd
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; 155
Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is pass'd, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
Eve rightly call'd, mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living, since by thee, 160
Man is to live; and all things live for Man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanor meek: Ill worthy I such title should belong To me transgressor; who for thee ordain'd A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 165 Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise;

But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced
The source of life; next favorable thou,
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsafest, 170
Far other name deserving. But the field
To labor calls us, now with sweat imposed,
Though after sleepless night; for see! the morn,
All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth;

175
I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoin'd
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content. 180

So spake, so wish'd much humbled Eve; but Fate Subscribed not: Nature first gave signs, impress'd On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed, After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight The bird of Jove, stoop'd from his aery tour, 185 Two birds of gayest plume before him drove, Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. 190 Adam observed, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake:

O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn

195 Us, haply too secure of our discharge From penalty, because from death released Some days: how long, and what till then our life, Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, And thither must return, and be no more? 200 Why else this double object in our sight Of flight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground,

One

way the selfsame hour? why in the east Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light More orient in yon western cloud, that draws

205 O’er the blue firmament a radiant white, And slow descends with something heavenly fraught?

He err'd not; for by this the heavenly bands
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt;

210
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimm’d Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilion'd with his guardians bright: 215
Nor that, which on the flaming mount appear’d
In Dothan, cover'd with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
War unproclaim'd. The princely Hierarch 220
In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seize
Possession of the garden; he alone,
To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way,
Not unperceived of Adam: who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake: 225

Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps Of us will soon determine, or impose New laws to be observed; for I descry, From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, One of the heavenly host! and, by his gait, 230 None of the meanest; some great Potentate, Or of the Thrones above; such majesty Invests him coming! yet not terrible, That I should fear; nor sociably mild, As Raphael, that I should much confide;

235 But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend, With reverence I must meet, and thou retire. He ended: and the Archangel soon drew nigh,

s

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »