Imágenes de página

Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain

Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart,

Living or dying, from thee I will not hide

What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,

Tending to some relief of our extremes,

Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,

As in our evils, and of easier choice.

If care of our descent perplex us most,

Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd

By Death at last, and miserable it is

To be to others cause of misery,

Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring

Into this cursed world a woeful race,

That after wretched life must be at last

Food for so foul a monster, in thy power

It lies, yet ere conception to prevent

The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.

Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death

Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two

Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.

But if thou judge it hard and difficult,

Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,

And, with desire to languish without hope,

Before the present object languishing

With like desire, which would be misery,

And torment less than none of what we dread,

Then both ourselves and seed at once to free

From what we fear for both, let us make short,

Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply

With our own hands his office on ourselves.

Why stand we longer shivering under fears,

That show no end but death, and have the power,

Of many ways to die, the shortest choosing,

Destruction with destruction to destroy?

She ended here, or vehement despair
Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
Had entertain'd, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
But Adam, with such counsel nothing sway'd,
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied:

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contemns;
But self-destruction therefore sought refutes
That excellence thought in thee, and implies,
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
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

M To be forestall'd; much more I fear lest death

So snatch'd will not exempt us from the pain

We are by doom to pay; rather, such acts

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

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

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.

No more be mention'd then of violence

Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,

That cuts us off from hope, and savours only

Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,

Reluctance against God, and his just yoke

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

Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,

And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy,

Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope

Glanced on the ground, with labour I must earn

My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse;

My labour 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

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

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

Reflected may with matter sere foment,

Or, by collision 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 down

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
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,
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
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
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,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?

So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd
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 breath'd
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,
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
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
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,
Fruits of more pleasing savour 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
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,-
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:
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
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
Distemper'd all things, and of incorrupt
Corrupted. I at fiist with two fair gifts
Created him endow'd, with happiness
And immortality: that fondly lost,
This other served but to eternise woe,

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 blest

Through heaven's wide bounds; from them I will not hide

My judgments, how with mankind I proceed,

As how with peccant angels late they saw,

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
To sound at general doom. The angelic blast
Fill'd all the regions: from their blissful bowers
Of Amarantine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light
Hasted, resorting to the summons high,
And took their seats; till, from his throne supreme,
The Almighty thus pronounced his sovereign will:

O sons, like one of us man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste
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,
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
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
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,
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 soften'd, and with tears
Bewailing their excess, all terror hide.
If patiently thy bidding they obey,

« AnteriorContinuar »