Page images
PDF
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Possession of the garden: he alone,

To find where Adam sheltered, took his way;

Not unperceived of Adam, who to Eve,

While the great visitant approached, thus spake:

"Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of ns will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry,
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill.
One of the heavenly host, and, by his gait,
None of the meanest; some great potentate,
Or of the thrones above; such majesty
Invests him coming! yet not terrible,
That I should fear; nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I site ild much coniide;
But solemn and sublime; whom, not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire."
He ended: and the archangel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed,
Livelier than Meliboean,1 or the grain
Of Sarra,2 worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipped the woof:
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended: by his side,
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear.
Adam 1 owed low: he, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared-

"Adam! Heaven's high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure: many days
Given thee of grace, wherein thou mayst repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayst cover: well may then thy Lord, appeased,
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not: to remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth, to till
The ground whence thou wast taken; fitter soil."

1 So called from a city of Thessaly, famous for the tutrvm, or purple-fish, there caught. 3 i. e. the Tyrian purple.

He added not; for Adam at the news Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood That all his senses bound: Eve, who unseen Yet all had heard, with audible lament Discovered soon the place of her retire:

"Oh, unexpected stroke, worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names;
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned,
With what to sight or «mell was sweet; from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?"

Whom thus the angel interrupted mild:
"Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost: nor se: thy heart,
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine:
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil."

Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned,
To Michael thus his humble words addressed:

"Celestial, whether among the thrones, or named Of them the highest, for such of shape may seem Prince above princes, gently hast thou told Thy message, which might else in telling wound, And in performing end us; what besides Of sorrow and dejection and despair Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring, Departure from this happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left Familiar to our eyes; all places else Inhospitable appear and desolate,

« PreviousContinue »