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Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
In synod unbenign, and taught the fix'd
Their influence malignant when to shower,
Which of them rising with the sun, or falling,
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aerial hall.
Some say, he bid his angels turn askance
The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more,
From the sun's axle; they with labour push'd
Oblique the centric globe: some say, the sun
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
Up to the Tropic Crab; thence down amain
By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales,
As deep as Capricorn, to bring in change
Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring
Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers,
Equal in days and nights, except to those
Beyond the polar circles ; to them day
Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun,
To recompense his distance, in their sight
Had rounded still the horizon, and not known
Or east or west, which had forbid the snow
From cold Estotiland, and south as far
Beneath Magellan. At that tasted fruit
The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turn'd
His course intended; else, how had the world
Inhabited, though sinless, more than now
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
These changes in the heavens, though slow, produced
Like change on sea and land, sidereal blast,
Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot,
Corrupt and pestilent. Now, from the north
Of Norumbega and the Samoed shore,
Bursting their brazen dungeon, arm’d with ice,
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust, and flaw,
Boreas, and Cæcias, and Argestes loud,
And Thrascias rend the woods, and seas upturn;
With adverse blast upturns them from the south
Notus, and Afer, black with thunderous clouds
From Sierra Leone ; thwart of these as fierce
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
Eurus and Zephyr with their lateral noise,
Sirocco and Libecchio. Thus began
Outrage from lifeless things ; but Discord first,
Daughter of Sin, among the irrational
Death introduced through fierce antipathy:
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl,
And fish with fish ; to graze the herb all leaving

172

Devour'd each other; nor stood much in awe
Of man, but fed him, or, with countenance grim,
Glared on him passing. These were from without
The growing miseries, which Adam saw
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
To sorrow abandon’d, but worse felt within,
And, in a troubled sea of passion tost,
Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint :

O miserable of happy ! is this the end
Of this new glorious world, and me so late
The glory of that glory, who now become
Accursed of blessed ? Hide me from the face
Of God, whom to behold was then my height
Of happiness. Yet well, if here would end
The misery ; I deserved it, and would bear
My own deservings; but this will not serve ;
All that I eat, or drink, or shall beget,
Is propagated curse. O voice once heard
Delightfully, Increase and multiply,
Now death to hear ! for what can I increase
Or multiply, but curses on my head ?
Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling
The evil on him brought by me, will curse
My head ? Ill fare our ancestor impure,
For this we may thank Adam ; but his thanks
Shall be the execration ; so besides
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound,
On me, as on their natural centre, light
Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes !
Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me, or here place
In this delicious garden? As my will
Concurr'd not to my being, it were but right
And equal to reduce me to my dust,
Desirous to resign, and render back
All I received, unable to perform
Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold
The good I sought not. To the loss of that,
Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable

Thy justice seems; yet, to say truth, too late
I thus contest; then should have been refused
Those terms, whatever, when they were proposed.
Thou didst accept them ; wilt thou enjoy the good,
Then cavil the conditions ? and, though God
Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son
Prove disobedient, and reproved retort,
Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not :
Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee

That proud excuse ? yet him not thy election,
But natural necessity begot.
God made thee of choice his own, and of his own
To serve him, thy reward was of his grace,
Thy punishment then justly is at his will.
Be it so, for I submit, his doom is fair,
That dust I am, and shall to dust return :
O welcome hour whenever! Why delays
His hand to execute what his decree
Fix'd on this day? Why do I overlive?
Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd out
To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet
Mortality my sentence, and be earth
Insensible ! How glad would lay me down,
As in my mother's lap? There I should rest,
And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more
Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse
To me and to my offspring would torment me
With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt
Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die,
Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of man,
Which God inspired, cannot together perish
With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave,
Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought
Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath
Of life that sinn'd; what dies but what had life
And sin? The body properly hath neither
All of me then shall die ; let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows,
For though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is his wrath also ? Be it, man is not so,
But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise
Wrath without end on man whom death must end ?
Can he make deathless death? That were to make
Strange contradiction, which to God himself
Impossible is held, as argument
Of weakness, not of power. Will he draw out,
For anger's sake, finite to iníinite
In punish'd man, to satisfy his rigour
Satisfied never? That were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and nature's law,
By which all causes else according still
To the reception of their matter act,
Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
Bereaving sense, but endless misery
From this day onward, which I feel begun
Both in me, and without me, and so last
To perpetuity. Ah, me! that fear
Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head; both death and I

Are found eternal, and incorporate both;
Nor I on my part single, in me all
Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, sons! O were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !
So disinherited, how would ye bless
Me, now your curse ! Ah! why should all mankind,
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd,
If guiltless ? But from me what can proceed,
But all corrupt, both mind and will depraved,
Not to do only, but to will the same
With me? How can they then acquitted stand
In sight of God ? Him after all disputes
Forced I absolve : all my evasions vain
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
But to my own conviction : first and last
On me, me only, as the source and spring
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due ;
So might the wrath! Fond wish! couldst thou support
That burden, heavier than the earth to bear,
Than all the world much heavier, though divided
With that bad woman ? Thus what thou desirest,
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and future,
To Satan only like both crime and doom.
O conscience ! into what abyss of fears
And horrors hast thou driven me, out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged !

Thus Adam to him self lamented loud
Through the still night, not now, as ere man fell,
Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air
Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom,
Which to his evil conscience represented
All things with double terror. On the ground
Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground, and oft
Cursed his creation, death as oft accused
Of tardy execution, since denounced
The day of his offence. Why comes not death,
Said he, with one thrice acceptable stroke
To end me? Shall truth fail to keep her word,
Justice divine not hasten to be just ?
But death comes not.at call, justice divine
Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers
With other echo late I taught your shades
To answer, and resound far other song.
Whom thus afflicted, when sad Eve beheld,
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
Soft words to his fierce passion she essay'd;
But her with stern regard he thus repelld:

Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name best

Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false
And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth, lest that too heavenly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee
I had persisted happy, had not thy pride
And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen,
Though by the devil himself, him overweening
To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguiled ; by him thou, I by thee,
To trust thee from my side, imagined wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults
And understood not all was but a show
Rather than solid virtue, all but a rib
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister from me drawn;
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
To my just number found. Oh! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With men as angels without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen,
And more that shall befall, innumerable
Disturbances on earth through female snares,
And straight conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake,
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness; but shall see her gain’d
By a far worse, or, if she love, withheld
By parents, or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame;
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To human life, and household peace confound.

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, Unhappliy deceived! Thy suppliant I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,

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