« PreviousContinue »
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 ;
Nor knowing us, nor known : and, if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of Him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary him with my assiduous cries :
But prayer against his absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth :
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that, departing hence,
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived
His blessed countenance : here I could frequent
With worship place by place where he vouchsafed
Presence Divine; and to my sons relate,
I heard ; here with him at this fountain talked :'
So many grateful altars I would rear
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre, from the brook, in memory,
Or monument to ages; and thereon
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers :
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or foot-step trace?
For though I fled him angry, yet, recalled
To life prolonged and promised race, I now
Gladly behold, though but his utmost skirts
Of glory; and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael, with regard benign.
Adam ! thou know'st Heaven his, and all the Earth;
Not this rock only; his Omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power, and warmed :
All the earth he gave thee to possess and rule ;
No despicable gift ! surmise not then
His presence to these narrow bounds confined
Of Paradise, or Eden : this had been
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations; and had hither come
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee, their great progenitor.
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons :
Yet doubt not but in valley, and in plain,
God is, as here; and will be found alike
Present; and of his presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, his face
Express, and of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou mayst believe, and be confirmed.
Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent
To shew thee what shall come in future days
To thee, and to thy offspring : good with bad
Expect to hear; supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men ; thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow; equally inured
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse : so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes.-Ascend
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes)
Here sleep below; while thouto foresight wak’st;
As once thou slept’st, while she to life was formed.
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied.
Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide ! the path
Thou lead’st me; and to the hand of Heaven submit,
However chastening; to the evil turn
My obvious breast; arming to overcome
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won,
If so I may attain.-So both ascend
In the visions of God. It was a hill,
Of Paradise the highest ; from whose top
The hemisphere of earth, in clearest ken,
Stretched out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
Not higher that hill, nor wider looking round,
Whereon, for different cause, the Tempter set
Our second Adam, in the wilderness; .
To show him all Earth's kingdoms, and their glory.
His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern fame, the seat
Of mightiest empire ; from the destined walls
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir’s throne,
To Paquin of Sinæan kings; and thence
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul,
Down to the golden Chersonese; or where
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
In Hispahan; or where the Russian Ksar
In Mosco; or the Sultan in Bizance,
Turchestan-born ; nor could his eye not ken
The empire of Negus to his utmost port
Ercoco, and the less maritim kings
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
And Sofala, thought Ophir, to the realm
Of Congo, and Angola farthest south;
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen ;
On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
The world : in spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexico, the seat of Montezume,
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa ; and yet unspoiled
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons
Call El Dorado. But to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film removed,
Which that false fruit that promised clearer sight
Had bred ; then purged with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
And from the well of life three drops instilled.
So deep the power of these ingredients pierced,
(Even to the inmost seat of mental sight)
That Adam, now enforced to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranced :
But him the gentle Angel by the hand
Soon raised, and his attention thus recalled.
Adam, now ope thine eyes; and first behold
The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee; who never touched
The excepted tree; nor with the snake conspired;
Nor sinned thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds.
His eyes he opened, and beheld a field, Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves New reaped ; the other part sheep-walks and folds :
'the midst an altar as the land-mark stood, Rustick, of grassy sord : thither anon A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf, Unculled, as came to hand : a shepherd next, More meek, came with the firstlings of his flock, Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid The inwards and their fat, with incense strowed, On the cleft wood, and all due rights performed : His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven Consumed with nimble glance, and grateful steam; The other's not, for his was not sincere; Whereat he inly raged, and as they talked, Smote him into the midriff with a stone,