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This happy trial of thy love, which else So eminently never had been known.
Were it I thought death menac'd would ensue
This my attempt, I would sustain alone
The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die
Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact
Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assur'd
Remarkably so late of thy so true,
So faithful love unequall'd: but I feel
Far otherwise th' event, not death but life
Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys, 985
Taste so divine, that what of sweet before
Hath touch'd my sense, flat seems to this, and
On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
And fear of death deliver to the winds."
So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy Tenderly wept, much won that he his love Had so ennobled, as of choice to' incur Divine displeasure for her sake, or death In recompense (for such compliance bad Such recompense best merits) from the bough She gave him of that fair enticing fruit With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat Against his better knowledge, not deceiv'd, But fondly overcome with female charm. Earth trembled from her entrails, as again In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan; Sky lower'd, and muttering thunder, some sad Wept at completing of the mortal sin Original; while Adam took no thought, Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate
Her former trespass fear'd, the more to sooth Him with her lov'd society, that now,
As with new wine intoxicated both,
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wings
Wherewith to scorn the earth: but that false fruit
Far other operation first display'd,
Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve
Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him
As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn:
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move:
"Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste, And elegant, of sapience no small part, Since to each meaning savour we apply, And palate call judicious; I the praise Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd. Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd From this delightful fruit, nor known till now True relish, tasting: if such pleasure be In things to us forbidden, it might be wish'd, 1025 For this one tree had been forbidden ten. But come, so well refresh'd, now let us play, As meet is, after such delicious fare; For never did thy beauty, since the day I saw thee first, and wedded thee, adorn'd With all perfections, so inflame my sense With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree."
About their spirits had play'd, and inmost powers
Made err, was now exhal'd; and grosser sleep,
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
Encumber'd, now had left them; up they rose
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing, 1051
Soon found their eyes how open'd, and their minds
How darken'd; innocence, that as a veil
Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gone,
Just confidence, and native righteousness,
And honour from about them, naked left
To guilty shame; he cover'd, but his robe
Uncover'd more. So rose the Danite strong,
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd
Shorn of his strength. They destitute and bare
Of all their virtue: silent, and in face
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute,
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abash'd, 1065
At length gave utterance to these words con-
"O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear To that false worm, of whomsoever taught To counterfeit man's voice, true in our fall, False in our promis'd rising; since our eyes 1070 Open'd we find indeed, and find we know Both good and evil, good lost, and evil got; Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know, Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void, Of innocence, of faith, of purity, Our wonted ornaments now soil'd and stain'd, And in our faces evident the signs Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store; Even shame, the last of evils of the first Be sure then. How shall I behold the face Henceforth of God or angel, erst with joy And rapture so' oft beheld? those heavenly shapes Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze Insufferably bright. O might I here In solitude live savage, in some glade Obscur'd, where highest woods, impenetrable To star or sun light, spread their umbrage broad And brown as evening. Cover me, ye pines, Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs Hide me, where I may never see them more. 1090 But let us now, as in bad plight, devise What best may for the present serve to hide The parts of each from other, that seem most To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen; [sew'd, Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together And girded on our loins, may cover round 1096 Those middle parts, that this new comer, shame, There sit not, and reproach us as unclean."
So counsell'd he, and both together went 1099 Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd, But such as at this day to Indians known In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms Branching so broad and long, that in the ground The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade 1106 High overarch'd, and echoing walks between; There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds At loop-holes cut thro' thickest shade. Those leaves They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe, 1111 And with what skill they had, together sew'd, To gird their waist, vain covering if to hide Their guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike To that first naked glory! Such of late Columbus found th' American, so girt
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy Of amorous intent, well understood Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. Her hand he seiz'd, and to a shady bank, Thick overhead with verdant roof imbower'd, He led her, nothing loath; flowers were the couch, Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, And hyacinth, earth's freshest, softest lap. There they their fill of love and love's disport Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep Oppress'd them, wearied with their amorous play.
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, That with exhilarating vapour bland
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once 1125
And full of peace, now toss'd and turbulent:
For understanding rul'd not, and the will
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath,
Usurping over sov'reign reason, claim'd
Superior sway: from this distemper'd breast,
Adam estrang'd in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd:
"Would thou hadst hearken'd to my words, and
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wand'ring this unhappy morn,
I know not whence possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy, not as now, despoil'd
Of all our good, sham'd, naked, miserable.
Let none henceforth seek needless cause t' approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek 1141
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail."
To whom, soon mov'd with touch of blame, thus
"What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam, severe !
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will 1145
Of wand'ring, as thou call'st it, which who knows
But might as ill have happen'd thou being by,
Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there,
Or here th' attempt, thou couldst not have discern'd
Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake; 1150
No ground of enmity between us known,
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
Was I to' have never parted from thy side?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head, 1155
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger as thou saidst?
Too facile then thou didst not much gainsay,
Nay didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent, 1160
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me."
Man's transgression known, the guardian angels forsake Paradise, and return up to heaven to approve their vigilance; and are approved; God declaring that the entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the transgressors, who descends and gives sentence accordingly: then in pity clothes them both, and re-ascends. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the gates of hell, by wondrous sympathy, feeling the success of Satan in this new world, and the sin by man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in hell, but to follow Satan their sire up to the place of man. To make the way easier from hell to this world to and fro, they pave a broad highway or bridge over Chaos, according to the track that Satan first made; then preparing for earth, they meet him, proud of his success, returning to hell; their mutual gratulation." Satan arrives at Pandemonium; in full assembly relates, with boasting, his success against man; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed with himself also suddenly into serpents, according to his doom given in Paradise: then, deluded with a show of the forbidden tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death. God foretells the final victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but, for the present, commands his angels to make several alterations in the heavens and elements. Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bervails: rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases him: then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he approves not, but conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the Serpent, and exhorts her, with him, to seek peace with the offended Deity by repentance and supplication."
MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
He in the serpent had perverted Eve,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
Was known in heaven; for what can scape the eye
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind
Of man with strength entire, and free-will arm'd,
Complete to have discover'd and repuls'd
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
For still they knew, and ought to' have still re-
The high injunction not to taste that fruit,
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying,
Incurr'd (what could they less?) the penalty,
And, manifold in sin, deserv'd to fall.
Up into heaven from Paradise in haste
Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad
For man, for of his state by this they knew,
Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stol'n 20
Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news
From earth arriv'd at heaven-gate, displeas'd
All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare
That time celestial visages, yet mix'd
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
His free-will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression, death denounc'd that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void,
Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd,
By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end.
Justice shall not return as bounty scorn'd.
With pity, violated not their bliss.
About the new-arriv'd, in multitudes
The ethereal people ran, to hear and know
How all befell: they towards the throne supreme
Accountable made haste to make appear
With righteous plea their utmost vigilance,
And easily approv'd; when the Most High
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
Amidst in thunder utter'd thus his voice:
When time shall be, for so I undertook
Before thee'; and not repenting, this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me deriv'd; yet I shall temper so
Justice with mercy', as may illustrate most
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd, 75 Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160 Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd, replied: "The serpent me beguil'd, and I did eat."
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th' accurs'd Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accurs'd,
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
Are to behold the judgment, but the judg'd,
Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd,
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:
Conviction to the serpent none belongs."'
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
Of high collateral glory': him, thrones and powers,
Princedoms and dominations, ministrant,
Accompanied to heaven-gate, from whence
Eden and all the coast in prospect lay.
Down he descended straight; the speed of gods 90
Time counts not, tho' with swiftest minutes wing'd.
Now was the sun in western cadence low
From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour
To fan the earth, now wak'd, and usher in
The evening cool, when he from wrath more cool
Came the mild judge and intercessor both
To sentence man: the voice of God they heard,
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds [heard,
Brought to their ears, while day declin'd; they
And from his presence hid themselves among 100
The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God
Approaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud:
He came, and with him Eve, more loath, tho' first To offend, discount'nanc'd both, and discompos'd; Love was not in their looks, either to God Or to each other, but apparent guilt, And shame, and perturbation, and despair, Anger, and obstinacy', and hate, and guile. Whence Adam falt'ring long, thus answer'd brief :
"I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice 116
Afraid, being naked, hid myself." To whom
The gracious Judge without revile replied:
"My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear'd,
But still rejoic'd: how is it now become
So dreadful to thee? that thou' art naked, who
Hath told thee? hast thou eaten of the tree,
Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat."
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied:
"O heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
Before my Judge, either to undergo
Myself the total crime, or to accuse
My other self, the partner of my life;
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
I should conceal, and not expose to blame
By my complaint; but strict necessity
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,
Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
However insupportable, be all
Devolv'd; though should I hold my peace, yet thou
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
This woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,
So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
That from her hand I could suspect no ill, 140
And what she did, whatever in itself,
Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
To whom the sov'reign Presence thus replied: "Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 145 Before his voice, or was she made thy guide, Superior, or but equal, that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
Wherein God set thee' above her, made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Hers in all real dignity? Adorn'd
She was indeed, and lovely to attract
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem'd,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part
And person, hadst it ou known thyself aright."
So having said, he thus to Eve in few: [done?" "Say, Woman, what is this which thou had
As vitiated in nature: more to know
Concern'd not man (since he no further knew) 170
Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last
To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied,
Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best:
And on the serpent thus his curse let fall:
"Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd
Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
Upon thy belly grov'ling thou shalt go,
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the woman I will put
Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from heaven,
Prince of the air; then rising from his grave 185
Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd
In open show, and with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan long usurp'd,
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise,
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd:
"Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule."
On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd: "Because thou' hast hearken'd to the' voice of thy And eaten of the tree, concerning which [wife, I charg'd thee, saying, Thou shat not eat thereof:' Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life; Thorns also' and thistles it shall bring thee forth Unbid; and thou shalt eat th' herb of the field, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 205 Till thou return unto the ground; for thou Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth, For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return."
So judg'd he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, And th' instant stroke of death denounc'd, that day Remov'd far off; then pitying how they stood 211 Before him naked to the air, that now Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin Thenceforth the form of servant to assume,
As when he wash'd his servants' feet, so now, 215 As father of his family, he clad
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
And thought not much to clothe his enemies:
Nor he their outward only with the skins
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness,
Arraying cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up return'd,
Into his blissful bosom reassum'd
In glory as of old; to him appeas'd
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
He, after Eve seduc'd, unminded slunk
Into the wood fast by, and changing shape
To' observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband. saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge them, terrified
He fled, not hoping to escape, but shun
The present, fearing, guilty, what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
By night, and list'ning where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom, which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to hell he now return'd,
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhop'd
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke:
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd With scent of living carcasses design'd
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt
That I must after thee with this thy son,
Such fatal consequence unites us three:
Hell could no longer hold us in her bounds,
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
Detain from following thy illustrious track.
Thou hast achiev'd our liberty, confin'd
Within hell-gates till now, thou us impower'd
To fortify thus far, and overlay
For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
So scented the grim Feature, and upturn'd
His nostril wide into the murky air,
Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
Then both from out hell-gates into the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaos damp and dark
Flew diverse, and with power (their power was
Hovering upon the waters, what they met, 285
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
Toss'd up and down, together crowded drove
From each side shoaling tow'rds the mouth of hell:
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop th' imagin'd way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm
As Delos floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of hell, the gather'd beach
They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high-arch'd, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immoveable of this now fenceless world
Forfeit to death; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to hell.
So, if great things to small may be compar'd
With this portentous bridge the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world; thy virtue' hath won
What thy hands builded not, thy wisdom gain'd
With odds what war hath lost, and fully' aveng'd
Our foil in heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign,
There didst not; there let him still victor sway, 576
As battle hath adjudg'd, from this new world
Retiring, by his own doom alienated,
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all things parted by th' empyreal bounds,
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world,
Or try thee now more dang'rous to his throne."
Whom thus the prince of darkness answer'd glad: "Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both, High proof ye now have given to be the race Of Satan, (for I glory in the name, Antagonist of heaven's Almighty King) Amply have merited of me, of all
Th'infernal empire, that so near heaven's door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm,
Hell and this world one realm, one continent
Of easy thorough-fare. Therefore while I
Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,
To my associate powers, them to acquaint
With these successes, and with them rejoice;
You two this way, among these numerous orbs
All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
There dwell and reign in bliss, thence on the earth
Dominion exercise, and in the air.
And scourg'd with many a stroke th' indignant
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
Of this round world: with pins of adamant
And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
And durable; and now in little space
The confines met of empyrean heaven
And of this world, and on the left hand hell
With long reach interpos'd; three several ways
In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to earth they had descried, 325
To Paradise first tending, when behold
Satan in likeness of an angel bright
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose:
Disguis'd he came, but those his children dear 330
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.
Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declar'd,
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create
Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might
Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now 405
My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
Through sin to death expos'd by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, th' affairs of hell
No detriment need fear; go and be strong."
So saying, he dismiss'd them; they with speed 410
Their course through thickest constellations held,
Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan,
And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse
Then suffer'd. Th' other way Satan went down
The causeway to hell-gate; on either side
Disparted Chaos, over-built, exclaim'd!
And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd,
That scorn'd his indignation: through the gate,
Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd,
And all about found desolate; for those