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THE Son of God presents to his Father the prayers o our first parents now repenting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in paradise; sends Michael with a band 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 remov'd The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'd 5 Unutterable, which the spirit of prayer

Inspir'd, and wing'd for heav'n with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory: yet their port

Not of mean suitors, nor important less
Seem'd their petition, than when th' ancient pair 10
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,

11 In fables old] Fables told this. Bentl. MS.

Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore

The race of mankind drown'd, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To heav'n their prayers
Flew up, nor miss'd the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they pass'd
Dimensionless through heav'nly doors; then clad
With incense, where the golden altar fum'd,
By their great Intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son 20
Presenting thus to intercede began.

See, Father, what first fruits on earth are sprung
From thy implanted grace in man, these sighs
And prayers, which, in this golden censer mix'd
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring,
Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
Which his own hand manuring all the trees
Of paradise could have produc'd, ere fall'n
From innocence. Now therefore bend thine ear
To supplication, hear his sighs though mute;
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me
Interpret for him, me his advocate

And propitiation; all his works on me
Good or not good ingraft, my merit those
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me, and in me from these receive

The smell of peace toward mankind, let him live
Before thee reconcil'd, at least his days

15 envious] Ov. Met. x. 642.

'Detulit aura preces ad me non invida blandas.'





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