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That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced; 420
But him the gentle Angel by the hand
Soon raised, and his attention thus recall’d:

Adam, now open thine eyes; and first behold
The effects which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee; who never touched 425
The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired;
Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds.

His eyes he opened, and beheld a field, Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves

430 New reap’d; the other part sheep-walks and folds; I’ the midst an altar as the landmark stood, Rustic, of grassy sord: thither anon A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf, 435 Uncull'd, as came to hand: a shepherd next, More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, Choicest and best: then, sacrificing, laid The inwards and their fat, with incense strow'd, On the cleft wood, and all due rites performed. 440 His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven Consumed with nimble glance and grateful steam; The other's not, for his was not sincere; Whereat he inly raged, and, as they talk’d, Smote him into the midriff with a stone

445 That beat out life: he fell; and, deadly pale, Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effused. Much at that sight was Adam in his heart Dismay’d, and thus in haste to the Angel cried:

O Teacher! some great mischief hath befallen 450 To that meek man, who well had sacrificed; Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?

To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied: These two are brethren, Adam, and to come

Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain, 455
For envy that his brother's offering found
From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact
Will be avenged; and the other's faith, approved,
Lose no reward; though here thou see him die,
Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire: 460

Alas! both for the deed and for the cause;
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
I must return to native dust? O sight
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!

465
To whom thus Michael: Death thou hast seen
In his first shape on man; but many shapes
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead
To his grim cave, all dismal: yet to sense
More terrible at the entrance, than within;

470 Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die; By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew Before thee shall appear; that thou may’st know 475 What misery the inabstinence of Eve Shall bring on Men; Immediately a place Before his eyes appear’d, sad, noisome, dark; A lazar-house it seem'd; wherein were laid Numbers of all diseased; all maladies

480 Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms Of heartsick agony, all feverous kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone and ulcer, colic-pangs, Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy,

385 And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch; 490

505

And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invoked
With vows, as their chief good and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept,

495
Though not of woman born; compassion quelld
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrain'd excess;
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renew'd:
O miserable mankind, to what fall

500 Degraded, to what wretched state reserved! Better end here unborn. Why is life given To be thus wrested from us? rather, why Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew What we receive, would either not accept Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down; Glad to be so dismiss’d in peace. Can thus The image of God in Man, created once So goodly and erect, though faulty since, To such unsightly sufferings be debased

510 Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man, Retaining still divine similitude In part, from such deformities be free, And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt?

Their Maker's image, answer'd Michael, then 515 Forsook them, when themselves they vilified To serve ungovern’d Appetite; and took His image whom they served, a brutish vice Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. Therefore so abject is their punishment,

520 Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced; While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules To loathsome sickness; worthily since they God's image did not reverence in themselves. 525 I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.

But is there yet no other way, besides
These painful passages, how we may come
To death, and mix with our connatural dust?

There is, said Michael, if thou well observe 530
The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught,
In what thou eat’st and drink'st; seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till many years over thy head return:
So may’st thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 535
Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease
Gather'd, not harshly pluck'd; for death mature:
This is Old Age; but then thou must outlive [change
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will
To wither’d, weak, and gray; thy senses then, 540
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego,
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 545
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor:

Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge; Which I must keep till my appointed day

550 Of rendering up, and patiently attend My dissolution. Michael replied:

Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest Live ell; how long, or short, permit to Heaven: And now prepare thee for another sight.

555 He look'd, and saw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue; by some were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound Of instruments, that made melodious chime, Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved 560 Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch Instinct through all proportions, low and high,

Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one, who, at the forge
Laboring, two massy clods of iron and brass 565
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot
To some cave's mouth; or whether wash'd by stream
From underground;) the liquid ore he drain'd 570
Into fit moulds prepared; from which he forrn'd
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought
Fusil or graven in metal. After these,
But on the hither side, a different sort
From the high neighboring hills, which was their seat,
Down to the plain descended; by their guise 576
Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent
To worship God aright, and know his works
Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve
Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain 580
Long had not walk’d, when from the tents, behold!
A bevy of fair women, richly gay,
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on:
The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net

586
Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose;
And now of love they treat, till the evening star,
Love's harbinger, appear’d; then, all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and did invoke 590
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked:
With feast and music all the tents resound.
Such happy interview, and fair event
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers,
And charming symphonies, attach'd the heart 595
Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus express’d:

True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel bless'd;

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