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Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair,
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring,
Departure from this happy place, our sweet
Recess, and only consolation left
Familiar to our eyes; all places else
Inhospitable appear, and desolate,
Nor knowing us, nor known; and, if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary Him with my assiduous cries;
But prayer against His absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth :
Therefore to His great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence,
As from His face I shall be hid, deprived
His blessed countenance: here I could frequent
With worship place by place where He vouchsafed
Presence Divine; and to my sons relate,
On this mount He appeared; under this tree
Stood visible; among these pines His voice
I heard : here with Him at this fountain talk'd :'
So many grateful altars I would rear
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory,
Or monument to ages; and thereon
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers.
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace ?
For though I fled Him angry, yet, recalld
To life prolong’d and promised race, I now
Gladly behold though but His utmost skirts
Of glory, and far off His steps adore."

To whom thus Michael with regard benign:
“ Adam, thou know'st heaven His, and all the earth ;
Not this rock only ; His omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fgmented by His virtual power, and warm’d :
All the earth He gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift; surmise not then

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His presence to these narrow bounds confined
Of Paradise or Eden ; this had been
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations ; and had hither come
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee, their great progenitor.
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons :
Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain
God is, as here, and will be found alike
Present; and of His presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, His face
Express, and of His steps the track divine.
Which that thou may’st believe, and be confirm’d
Ere thou from hence depart, know, I am sent
To shew thee what shall come in future days
To thee, and to thy offspring : good with bad
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow; equally inured
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse : so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes."

The Queen of Paradise.

[Among the most beautiful portions of the great poem are the descriptions of “the mother of all living." Their tenderness is a welcome relief amidst the prevailing stateliness and grandeur.)

So spake our sire, and by his count'nance seem'd
Ent’ring on studious thoughts abstruse : which Eve
Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight,
With lowliness majestic from her seat,

And grace, that won who saw to wish her stay,
Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flow'rs,
To visit bow they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
Her nursery: they at her coming sprung,
And touch'd by her fair tendance gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
Delighted, or not capable her ear
Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved,
Adam relating, she sole auditress :
Her husband the relater she preferr'd
Before the angel, and of him to ask
Chose rather: he, she knew, would intermix
Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
With conjugal caresses: from his lip
Not words alone pleased her. (O! when meet now
Such pairs, in love and mutual honour join'd?)
With goddess-like demeanour forth she went;
Not unattended! for on her, as queen,
A pomp of winning graces waited still;
And from about her shot darts of desire
Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.

The Penitent. He added not, and from her turn'd.-But Eve, Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:

" Forsake me not thus, Adam! Witness Heaven What love sincere and reverence in my heart I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant I beg, and clasp thy knees :-bereave me not (Whereon I live!) thy gentle looks, thy aid, Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress, My only strength and stay! Forlorn of thee, Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? While yet we live (scarce one short hour perhaps) Between us two let there be peace! both joining

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(As join'd in injuries) one enmity
Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel serpent!-On me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befallen;
On me, already lost! me, than thyself
More miserable! Both have sinn'd! but thou
Against God only: I, against God and thee;
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune Heaven, that all
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe:
Me! me only! just object of His ire!"

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight
Immovable, till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledged, and deplored, in Adam wrought
Commiseration: soon his heart relented
Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress !
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel (whom she had displeased), his aid !
As one disarm’d, his anger all he lost;
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon :

“Unwary! and too desirous (as before,
So now) of what thou knowest not, thou desirest
The punishment all on thyself! Alas !
Bear thine own first; ill able to sustain
His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers
Could alter high decrees, I to that place
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited:
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
To me committed, and by me exposed.
But, rise !-let us no more contend, nor blame
Each other ; blamed enough elsewhere! but strive,
In offices of love, how we may lighten
Each other's burden in our share of woe :
Since this day's death denounced (if ought I see)
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil;
A long day's dying, to augment our pain :
And to our seed (oh hapless seed!) derived."

The Erile from Eden.
He ended, and they both descend the hill:
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;
And thus with words not sad she him received:

“ Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know;
For God is also in sleep, and dreams advise;
Which He hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now, lead on!
In me is no delay : with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is go hence unwilling: thou to me
Art all things under heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed,
By me the Promised Seed shall all restore."

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard,
Well-pleased, but answered not: for now, too nigh
Th' arch-angel stood; and from the other hill
To their fix'd station, all in bright array,
The cherubim descended; on the ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist,
Risen from a river, o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel,
Homeward returning. High in front advanced,
The brandish'd sword of God before them blazed,
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
And vapours as the Lybian air adust,
Began to parch that temperate clime: whereat
In either hand the hast'ning angel caught
Our ling'ring parents, and to th' eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappear'd.
They, looking back, all th' eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate

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