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And torment less than none of what we dread;
She ended here, or vehement despair
"Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seemi. To argue in thee something more sublime And excellent than what thy mind contemns; But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes That excellence thought in thee, and implies, Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret For loss of life and pleasure overloved. Or if thou covet death, as utmost end Cf misery, so thinking to evade The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire than so To be forestalled; much more I fear lest death, So snatched, will not exempt us from the pain We are by doom to pay; rather such acts Of contumacy will provoke the Highest To make death in us live. Then let us seek Some safer resolution, which methinks I have in view, calling to 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 foe Satan, who in the serpent hath contrived Against us this deceit: to crush his head Would be revenge indeed; which will be lost By death brought on ourselves, or childless days Resolved as thou proposest; so our foe Shall 'scape his punishment ordained, and we Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
1 i. e. the shortest way.
No more be mentioned then of violence
1 This "shattering" is an excellent word, and very expressive of the sense, shaking or breaking to pieces; and etymologists derive it of the Belgic Schelteren; our author had used it before in his Lycidas,
"Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year." And "locks of trees" is a Latinism: "Spissa? nemorum comoe." Hor. Od. iv. iii. 11; t: arboribusque comae," iv. vii. 2.—Netvlun. 8 The sun.
8 Dry So Spenser, Shepherd's Calendar, id. ii.— "His top was bald, and wasted with worms, His honour decayed, his branches sere."
Tine' the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driven down
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
And sends a comfortable heat from far,
Which might supply the sun: such fire to use,
And what may else be remedy or cure
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him, so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustained
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust our final rest and native home.
What better can we do, than, to the place
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seemed and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?"
So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
4 !.«. light, kindle, from the Saxon tynan, whence also our word tinder.
END OF THE TENTH BOOK
The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of onr first parents, now repenting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, hut declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise; sends Michael with a hand of cherubim to dispossess them; but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming down. Adam shows to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michael's approach; goes out to meet him: the angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: the angel leads him up to a high hill; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the flood.
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood
Praying; for, from the mercy-seat above,
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayei
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory; yet their port
Not of mean suitors, nor important less
Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad
With incense, where the golden altar fumed,
By their great Intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son
"See, Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung
To whom the Father, without cloud, serene *
13 John ii. 15.