« PreviousContinue »
But still rejoiced ; 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 þeset replied :
O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
125 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 130 By my complaint : but strict necessity Subdues me, and calamitous constraint ; Lest on my head both sin and punishment However insupportable, be all Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thoa. Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
136 This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help, And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good, So fit, so acceptable, so divine, That from her hand I could suspect nó 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 repliod: . Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 16 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 - 150
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 thou known thyself aright
So having said, he thus to Eve in few :
Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?
To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmid,
Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160
Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd replied :
The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
To judgment he proceeded on the accused
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 accursed,
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, judged as then best :
And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall :
Because thou hast done this thou art accursed 175 Above all cattle, each beast of the field; Upon thy belly grovelling 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; 180 Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
So spake this oracle, then verified When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve, 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;
190 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 pronounced :
And eaten of the tree, concerning which
I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof : 200
Cursed 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 the 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 judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent;
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
Removed 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 220
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 reassumed
In glory, as of old; to him appeased
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with Man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judged on Earth, Within the gates of Holl sat Sin and Death, 230 In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through,
Sin opening ;'who thus now to Death began:
O Son, why sit we here each other viewing
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
In other worlds, and happier seat provides
For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
Ere this he had return'd, with fury driven
By his avengers; since no place like this
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
Wings growing, and dominion given me large
Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, 245
Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
With secret amity things of like kind,
By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
Inseparable, must with me along :
For Death from Sin no power can separate.
But, lest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassable, impervious; let us try
Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine 255
Not unagreeable, to found a path
Over this main from Hell to that new world,
Where Satan now prevails: a monument
Of merit high to all the infernal host,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
260 Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead. Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn By this new-felt attraction and instinct.
Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon : Go, whither Fate and inclination strong Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The way, thou leading ; such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste The savour of death from all things there that live
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 270
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
So saying, with delight he snuff"d the smell
Of mortal change on earth. As when a flock
Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote,
Against the day of battle, to a field,
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lured
With scent of living carcasses design'd
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.
Them both from out Hell gates, into the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damıp and dark,
Flew diverse ; and with power (their power was great)
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 towards the mouth of Hell :
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined 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 : 295
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 300
Over the foaming deep high-arch’d, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immovable of this now fenceless world,
Forfeit to Death ; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
305 So, if great things to small may be compared, Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,