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By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already linked 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 turned; but Eve,
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing,
And tresses all disordered, at his feet
Fell humble ; and, embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam ! witness Heaven What love sincere, and reverence in my heart I bear thee, and unweeting have offended, Unhappily deceived ! Thy suppliant I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not (Whereon I live) thy gentle looks, thy aid, Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress, My only strength and stay : forlorn of thee, Whither shall I betake me, where subsist ? While yet we live (scarce one short hour perhaps) Between us two let there be peace; both joining (As joined in injuries) one enmity Against a foe by doom express assigned 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 sinned; but thou Against God only; I against God and thee; And to the place of judgment will return, There with my cries importune Heaven; that all The sentence, from thy head removed, may light


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 obtained from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, 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 displeased, his aid :
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.

Unwary, and too desirous (as before, So now) of what thou know'st not, who desir'st The punishment all on thyself : alas ! Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain His full wrath, whose thou feel’st as yet least part, And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers Could alter high decrees, I to that place Would speed before thee, and be louder heard, That on my head all might be visited ; Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven; To me committed, and by me exposed. But rise ;-let us no more contend, nor blame Each other, blamed enough elsewhere ; but strive In offices of love, how we may lighten Each other's burden, in our share of woe : Since this day's death denounced (if aught I see) Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced, evil; A long day's dying, to augment our pain ; And to our seed (O hapless seed !) derived.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied. Adam, by sad experiment I know How little weight my words with thee can find, Found so erroneous; thence by just event Found so unfortunate: nevertheless, Restored by thee, vile as I am! to place Of 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, As in our evils, and of easier choice. If care of our descent perplex us most, Which must be born to certain woe, devoured 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 deceived his glut, and with us two Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. But if thou judge it hard and difficult, Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain From love's due rights, nuptial embraces sweet, And with desire to languish without hope, Before the present object languishing

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, he not found, supply
With our own hands 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 ? -

She ended here, or vehement despair
Broke off the rest : so much of death her thoughts
Had entertained, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed,
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had raised ; and thus to Eve replied.

Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
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
Of 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.
No more be mentioned then of violence
Against ourselves; and wilful barrenness
That cuts us off from hope; and savours only
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
Reluctance against God and his just yoke
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard, and judged
Without wrath or reviling: we expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought
Was meant by death that day; when lo! to thee
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy,
Fruit of thy womb : on me the curse aslope
Glanced on the ground; with labour I must earn
My bread : what harm? Idleness had been worse :
My labour will sustain me: and, lest cold
Or heat should injure us, his timely care
Hath, unbesought, provided ; and his hands

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