Page images

For understanding ruld not, and she will
Heard not her lore ; boch in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath
Usurping over sovran reason claim'd
Superior sway: from thus distemper'd breast,
Adam estrang'd in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd : [staid

« Would thou hadst hearken'd to my words, and
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,
I know not what possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy ; not as now, despoil'd
Of all our good ; shamed, naked, miserable !
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail."
To whom, soon mov'd with touch of blame,

thus Eve: " What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam severe? Impatest thou that to my default, or will Of wandering, as thou coll'st it, which who knows But might as ill have happen'd thou being by, Or to chyself perhaps ? Hadst thou been there, Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have disa

Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake;
No ground for enmity between us known,
Wiiy 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,
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou said'st ?
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,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me.

To whom then first incens'd, Adam replied : " Is this the love; is this the recompence

Of mit:e to thee, ingrateful Evel expressa
Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I;
Who might have liv'd, and 'joy'd immortal Wissen
Yet willing chose rather death with thee ?
And am I now upbraided as the cause
Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint; what could I more?
I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy
That lay in wait ; beyond this, had been force,
And force upon free will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee op ; secure
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
I also err'd, in overmuch admiring
W’hat seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee ; but I rue
The error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Him who, to worth in woman overtrusting,
Lets her will rule : restraint she will not brook ;
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse."

Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning
And of their vain contest appear'd no one



THE ARGUMENT. 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 tran:gressors; who descends, and gives sentence according ly; then in pity clothes them both, and re.ascends. Sia and Death, sitting till then at the gates of hell, by wondrous symi pathy feeling the success of Satan in this new world, and the sin by man there committed, resolve to sit no longer coufiuec. 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 high way or bridge over Chaos, according to the track that Satan first trade; then, preparing for earth they mect him, proud of his success, returning to hell; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium, in full Assembly relates with boasting his success against ini stead of applause, is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed with himself also suddenly into ser. pents, according to his dooin given in Pararlise: then, ciciused with a blow of the forbidden tree sprirging up before then they, greerily reaching to take of the truit, chew dust and bit ter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final victory of his son over them, and the renewing ed things; but for the present, commands bis angels to make several al erations in the heavens and elements. Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bewails, rexcts the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length apa peases him : then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he approves "ot; but, conceiving better hupe, puts her in mind of the 'ate promise made them, that her seed should be revenged or the ser pent: and exhorts her with him to seek peace of Ilie 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 cyt
Of God all-seeiug, or deceive his heart

Omniscient? who, in all things wise and jusi,
Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind
Of man, with strength entire, and free-will arm'a
Complete to lrave discover'd and repuls'd
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. [her'de
For still they knew, and ought to have still remena
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
The angelic guards ascended, mute and sad,
For man; for of his state hy this they knew,
Much wondering how the subtile fiend had stolen
Entrance unseen. Soon as the 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
With pity, violated not their bliss.
About the new-arriv'd in multitudes
The ethereal people ra!), to hear and know
How all befel: they towards the throne supreme
A Cer:untabie, 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 voices

si Assembled angels, and ye powers return d
Fro:n unsucressful charge, be not dismay'd,
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
Which your sincerest care could not prevents
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from hell
I told ye then he shjuld prevail, and speed
On his bad errand ; man should be seduc'd,
And flatter'd out of all, believing lies
Against his Maker; no decree of mine
Concurring to necessitate his fall,
ng touch with lightest moment of impulse

His free-will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
What resis, 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.
But whom send I to judye them ? whom but thee,
Vicegerent Son ? To theo I have transserr'd
All judgment, whether in lieaven, or earth, or
Easy it may be seen that I intend

Mercy colleague with justice, sending t! ee
Man's friend, his Mediatur, his desigu’d
Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
And destin'd man himself to julge man fallen.”

So spake the Father; and unfolding i riuht
Toward the right hand his glory, on the son
Blaz'd forth unclouded Deity; he full
Resplendent all his father manifest
Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild :

« Father Eternal, thine is to d.cree;
Mine, both in heaven and earth, to to thy will
Supreme; that thon in me, thy Son bielor'd,
Mayst ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors; lilit thou k::ow'st
Whoever judg'd, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be ; for so I undertak
Before thee; and, not repenting, this o'tain
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.
Attendance nove shall need, nor train, where #6:119
Are to behold the judgment, but the judg'd,
T'hose two; the third best absent is condimid,
Convict by flight, and reliel to all law :
Couviction to the serpent none belongs."

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »