Page images

and horrors hast thon driven me ; out of which I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd !"

Thus Adam to himself lamented lour, Through the still night ; not now, as ere man fel.. 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 Curs'd his creation ; death as oft arcus'd Of tardy execution, since denounc'd 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 sliades To answer, and resound far other sing.' Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld, Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, Soft words to his fierce passion she a-say'd ; But her with stern regard he thus repelld : “ Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name

best Befits thee with him leagu'd, 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, ! retended To hellish falsehood, share them! But for their I had persisted happy: bad not thy pride And wandering vanity, when least was safe, Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd Not to be trusted ; longing to he seen, Though by the devil himself; hini overwiening To over-reach ; but with the serpent free:118)

Fool'd and leguild ; by him thou, I hylve,
To trust thee from my sirle; imagin'a wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults ;
And understood not all was but a show,
Pather than solid viriue; all but a rib
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
Well it thrown out, as supernumerary
To my just number found. O! why did 001
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven

il'ith spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
l'ith 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 throngh female snarik,
And strait conjunction wiih this sex; for either
He never shall rind out tit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistuke;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gall,
Through her perverseness, but shall see her pain,
By a tar worse ; or, if she love, withheld
By parents ; or his happiest choice too bure
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 repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing, And tresses wil disorder'd, at his feet Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint :

“ me not thus, Adam! witness Heavon What Ir ve sincere, and reverence in my heart I hear hee, and uni veeting have offended, Vuhay pily deceivid! Thy suppliant

veg and clasp thy knees ; bersyve me not,

Wherena I live, thy gentle looks, thy and,
'Thy counsel, in this uitermine distress.
Mly only strength and stav, forlorn of theo
Whither shall I letake nie, where subsist ?
While yet we live, serce one short hour perhaps,
Between us two let there be peace; both joining
As join'd in injuries, one eninity
Against a foe by doom express a sign'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 sinu'd ; but thou
Against God only, I against God and thee ;
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries in portune Heaven; that al
The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may lighs
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
Immoveable, till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledg'd and deplor’d, 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 displeas'd, bis aid
As one disarm’d, his anger all be lost,
And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon

“ Unwary, and too desirous, as before So now or what thou know'st not, who 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 party And my displeasure hear'st so ill. If prayers Could alter high de:reer, I to that place Would speed before shee, and be lour'er heard, l'hat on my head a' night be visited ; Thy frailty and infirn er sex furgiven,

w my committed, an! by me expos'do

Brit mise ; Inf us no more contend, nor biame
Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere; but strivo
In offices of love, how we may lighten
Each other's burden in our sbare of woe;
Since this day's death denounc'd, if aught I see,
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac'd evil ;
A long day's dying to angment our pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed !) deriv'd.”

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied :
Adam, by sad experiment I know

,w little weight my words with thee can find, ound so erroneous; thence by just event found so unfortunate: nevertheless, Restor*d by thee, vile as I am, to place Vi 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, Ag in our evils, and of easier choice. If care of our descent perplex us most, Which must be born to certain wove, 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 deceiv'd his glut, and with us two Be forc'd to satisfy his ravenous maw. But if thou julge it hard and difficult, Conversing, looking, loving, to alistain From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet ; And with desire to languish without hope, Before the present whine linguishina

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, be not found, supply
With our own nands 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 po

She ended bere, or vehement despair
Broke off the rest ; so much of death her thought
Tad 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 rais'd ; and thus to Eve replied :

“ Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seenir To argue in thee something more subilime And excellent, than what thy mind contemus : But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes That excellence thought in thee; and implies Vot thy contempt, but anguish and regret For loss of life and pleasure overlov'd. Or if thou covet death as utmost end Of misery, so thinking to evade The penalty pronounc'd ; doulit not but God Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire, than so

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 Oi contumacy will provoke the Highest To make death in us live: then let us 8. ek Some safer resolution, which methinks I have in view, calling io 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 foey Satan ; who, in the serpent, hath contriv'd Against us this deceit to crush his head

« PreviousContinue »