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Paradise Lost: Book 10

Written by: John Milton | Biography
 | Quotes (101) |
 Mean while the heinous and despiteful act 
Of Satan, done in Paradise; and how 
He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve, 
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, 
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye 
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart 
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just, 
Hindered not Satan to attempt the mind 
Of Man, with strength entire and free will armed, 
Complete to have discovered and repulsed 
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
For still they knew, and ought to have still remembered, The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, (Incurred what could they less?) the penalty; And, manifold in sin, deserved to fall.
Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad, For Man; for of his state by this they knew, Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen Entrance unseen.
Soon as the unwelcome news From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare That time celestial visages, yet, mixed With pity, violated not their bliss.
About the new-arrived, in multitudes The ethereal people ran, to hear and know How all befel: They towards the throne supreme, Accountable, made haste, to make appear, With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance And easily approved; when the Most High Eternal Father, from his secret cloud, Amidst in thunder uttered thus his voice.
Assembled Angels, and ye Powers returned From unsuccessful charge; be not dismayed, Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth, Which your sincerest care could not prevent; Foretold so lately what would come to pass, When first this tempter crossed the gulf from Hell.
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed On his bad errand; Man should be seduced, And flattered out of all, believing lies Against his Maker; no decree of mine Concurring to necessitate his fall, Or touch with lightest moment of impulse His free will, to her own inclining left In even scale.
But fallen he is; and now What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass On his transgression,--death denounced that day? Which he presumes already vain and void, Because not yet inflicted, as he feared, By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end.
Justice shall not return as bounty scorned.
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferred All judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or Hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee Man's friend, his Mediator, his designed Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary, And destined Man himself to judge Man fallen.
So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son Blazed forth unclouded Deity: He full Resplendent all his Father manifest Expressed, and thus divinely answered mild.
Father Eternal, thine is to decree; Mine, both in Heaven and Earth, to do thy will Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son beloved, Mayest ever rest well pleased.
I go to judge On earth these thy transgressours; but thou knowest, Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, When time shall be; for so I undertook Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain Of right, that I may mitigate their doom On me derived; yet I shall temper so Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none Are to behold the judgement, but the judged, Those two; the third best absent is condemned, Convict by flight, and rebel to all law: Conviction to the serpent none belongs.
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose Of high collateral glory: Him Thrones, and Powers, Princedoms, and Dominations ministrant, Accompanied to Heaven-gate; from whence Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes winged.
Now was the sun in western cadence low From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour, To fan the earth now waked, and usher in The evening cool; when he, from wrath more cool, Came the mild Judge, and Intercessour both, To sentence Man: The voice of God they heard Now walking in the garden, by soft winds Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard, And from his presence hid themselves among The thickest trees, both man and wife; till God, Approaching, thus to Adam called aloud.
Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet My coming seen far off? I miss thee here, Not pleased, thus entertained with solitude, Where obvious duty ere while appeared unsought: Or come I less conspicuous, or what change Absents thee, or what chance detains?--Come forth! He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though first To offend; discountenanced both, and discomposed; Love was not in their looks, either to God, Or to each other; but apparent guilt, And shame, and perturbation, and despair, Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answered brief.
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice Afraid, being naked, hid myself.
To whom The gracious Judge without revile replied.
My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not feared, But still rejoiced; how is it now become So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree, Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat? To whom thus Adam sore beset replied.
O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand Before my Judge; either to undergo Myself the total crime, or to accuse My other self, the partner of my life; Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, I should conceal, and not expose to blame By my complaint: but strict necessity Subdues me, and calamitous constraint; Lest on my head both sin and punishment, However insupportable, be all Devolved; though should I hold my peace, yet thou Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
-- This Woman, whom thou madest to be my help, And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good, So fit, so acceptable, so divine, That from her hand I could suspect no ill, And what she did, whatever in itself, Her doing seemed to justify the deed; She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.
Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey Before his voice? or was she made thy guide, Superiour, or but equal, that to her Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place Wherein God set thee above her made of thee, And for thee, whose perfection far excelled Hers in all real dignity? Adorned She was indeed, and lovely, to attract Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts Were such, as under government well seemed; Unseemly to bear rule; which was thy part And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.
So having said, he thus to Eve in few.
Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done? To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelmed, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge Bold or loquacious, thus abashed replied.
The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgement he proceeded on the accused Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer The guilt on him, who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accursed, As vitiated in nature: More to know Concerned not Man, (since he no further knew) Nor altered his offence; yet God at last To Satan first in sin his doom applied, Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best: And on the Serpent thus his curse let fall.
Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed Above all cattle, each beast of the field; Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go, And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the woman I will put Enmity, and between thine and her seed; Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
So spake this oracle, then verified When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve, Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven, Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave Spoiled Principalities and Powers, triumphed In open show; and, with ascension bright, Captivity led captive through the air, The realm itself of Satan, long usurped; Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; Even he, who now foretold his fatal bruise; And to the Woman thus his sentence turned.
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply By thy conception; children thou shalt bring In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.
On Adam last thus judgement he pronounced.
Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree, concerning which I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof: Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, Till thou return unto the ground; for thou Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth, For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.
So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent; And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day, Removed far off; then, pitying how they stood Before him naked to the air, that now Must suffer change, disdained not to begin Thenceforth the form of servant to assume; As when he washed his servants feet; so now, As father of his family, he clad Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain, Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid; And thought not much to clothe his enemies; Nor he their outward only with the skins Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more.
Opprobrious, with his robe of righteousness, Arraying, covered from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up returned, Into his blissful bosom reassumed In glory, as of old; to him appeased All, though all-knowing, what had passed with Man Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Mean while, ere thus was sinned and judged on Earth, Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, In counterview within the gates, that now Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Far into Chaos, since the Fiend passed through, Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.
O Son, why sit we here each other viewing Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives In other worlds, and happier seat provides For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be But that success attends him; if mishap, Ere this he had returned, with fury driven By his avengers; since no place like this Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise, Wings growing, and dominion given me large Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, Or sympathy, or some connatural force, Powerful at greatest distance to unite, With secret amity, things of like kind, By secretest conveyance.
Thou, my shade Inseparable, must with me along; For Death from Sin no power can separate.
But, lest the difficulty of passing back Stay his return perhaps over this gulf Impassable, impervious; let us try Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine Not unagreeable, to found a path Over this main from Hell to that new world, Where Satan now prevails; a monument Of merit high to all the infernal host, Easing their passage hence, for intercourse, Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn By this new-felt attraction and instinct.
Whom thus the meager Shadow answered soon.
Go, whither Fate, and inclination strong, Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste The savour of death from all things there that live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
So saying, with delight he snuffed the smell Of mortal change on earth.
As when a flock Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, Against the day of battle, to a field, Where armies lie encamped, come flying, lured With scent of living carcasses designed For death, the following day, in bloody fight: So scented the grim Feature, and upturned His nostril wide into the murky air; Sagacious of his quarry from so far.
Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark, Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great) Hovering upon the waters, what they met Solid or slimy, as in raging sea Tost up and down, together crouded drove, From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell; As when two polar winds, blowing adverse Upon the Cronian sea, together drive Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich Cathaian coast.
The aggregated soil Death with his mace petrifick, cold and dry, As with a trident, smote; and fixed as firm As Delos, floating once; the rest his look Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move; And with Asphaltick slime, broad as the gate, Deep to the roots of Hell the gathered beach They fastened, and the mole immense wrought on Over the foaming deep high-arched, a bridge Of length prodigious, joining to the wall Immoveable of this now fenceless world, Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad, Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
So, if great things to small may be compared, Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke, From Susa, his Memnonian palace high, Came to the sea: and, over Hellespont Bridging his way, Europe with Asia joined, And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wonderous art Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock, Over the vexed abyss, following the track Of Satan to the self-same place where he First lighted from his wing, and landed safe From out of Chaos, to the outside bare Of this round world: With pins of adamant And chains they made all fast, too fast they made And durable! And now in little space The confines met of empyrean Heaven, And of this World; and, on the left hand, Hell With long reach interposed; three several ways In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to Earth they had descried, To Paradise first tending; when, behold! Satan, in likeness of an Angel bright, Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering His zenith, while the sun in Aries rose: Disguised he came; but those his children dear Their parent soon discerned, though in disguise.
He, after Eve seduced, unminded slunk Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape, To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought Vain covertures; but when he saw descend The Son of God to judge them, terrified He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath Might suddenly inflict; that past, returned By night, and listening where the hapless pair Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint, Thence gathered his own doom; which understood Not instant, but of future time, with joy And tidings fraught, to Hell he now returned; And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot Of this new wonderous pontifice, unhoped Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight Of that stupendious bridge his joy encreased.
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.
O Parent, these are thy magnifick deeds, Thy trophies! which thou viewest as not thine own; Thou art their author, and prime architect: For I no sooner in my heart divined, My heart, which by a secret harmony Still moves with thine, joined in connexion sweet, That thou on earth hadst prospered, which thy looks Now also evidence, but straight I felt, Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt, That I must after thee, with this thy son; Such fatal consequence unites us three! Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds, Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure Detain from following thy illustrious track.
Thou hast achieved our liberty, confined Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impowered To fortify thus far, and overlay, With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gained With odds what war hath lost, and fully avenged Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign, There didst not; there let him still victor sway, As battle hath adjudged; from this new world Retiring, by his own doom alienated; And henceforth monarchy with thee divide Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds, His quadrature, from thy orbicular world; Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne.
Whom thus the Prince of darkness answered glad.
Fair Daughter, and thou Son and Grandchild both; High proof ye now have given to be the race Of Satan (for I glory in the name, Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,) Amply have merited of me, of all The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door Triumphal with triumphal act have met, Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm, Hell and this world, one realm, one continent Of easy thorough-fare.
Therefore, while I Descend through darkness, on your road with ease, To my associate Powers, them to acquaint With these successes, and with them rejoice; You two this way, among these numerous orbs, All yours, right down to Paradise descend; There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the earth Dominion exercise and in the air, Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declared; Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create Plenipotent on earth, of matchless might Issuing from me: on your joint vigour now My hold of this new kingdom all depends, Through Sin to Death exposed by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell No detriment need fear; go, and be strong! So saying he dismissed them; they with speed Their course through thickest constellations held, Spreading their bane; the blasted stars looked wan, And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse Then suffered.
The other way Satan went down The causey to Hell-gate: On either side Disparted Chaos overbuilt exclaimed, And with rebounding surge the bars assailed, That scorned his indignation: Through the gate, Wide open and unguarded, Satan passed, And all about found desolate; for those, Appointed to sit there, had left their charge, Flown to the upper world; the rest were all Far to the inland retired, about the walls Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat Of Lucifer, so by allusion called Of that bright star to Satan paragoned; There kept their watch the legions, while the Grand In council sat, solicitous what chance Might intercept their emperour sent; so he Departing gave command, and they observed.
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe, By Astracan, over the snowy plains, Retires; or Bactrin Sophi, from the horns Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond The realm of Aladule, in his retreat To Tauris or Casbeen: So these, the late Heaven-banished host, left desart utmost Hell Many a dark league, reduced in careful watch Round their metropolis; and now expecting Each hour their great adventurer, from the search Of foreign worlds: He through the midst unmarked, In show plebeian Angel militant Of lowest order, passed; and from the door Of that Plutonian hall, invisible Ascended his high throne; which, under state Of richest texture spread, at the upper end Was placed in regal lustre.
Down a while He sat, and round about him saw unseen: At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head And shape star-bright appeared, or brighter; clad With what permissive glory since his fall Was left him, or false glitter: All amazed At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng Bent their aspect, and whom they wished beheld, Their mighty Chief returned: loud was the acclaim: Forth rushed in haste the great consulting peers, Raised from their dark Divan, and with like joy Congratulant approached him; who with hand Silence, and with these words attention, won.
Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; For in possession such, not only of right, I call ye, and declare ye now; returned Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth Triumphant out of this infernal pit Abominable, accursed, the house of woe, And dungeon of our tyrant: Now possess, As Lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven Little inferiour, by my adventure hard With peril great achieved.
Long were to tell What I have done; what suffered;with what pain Voyaged th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep Of horrible confusion; over which By Sin and Death a broad way now is paved, To expedite your glorious march; but I Toiled out my uncouth passage, forced to ride The untractable abyss, plunged in the womb Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild; That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely opposed My journey strange, with clamorous uproar Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found The new created world, which fame in Heaven Long had foretold, a fabrick wonderful Of absolute perfection! therein Man Placed in a Paradise, by our exile Made happy: Him by fraud I have seduced From his Creator; and, the more to encrease Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up Both his beloved Man, and all his world, To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us, Without our hazard, labour, or alarm; To range in, and to dwell, and over Man To rule, as over all he should have ruled.
True is, me also he hath judged, or rather Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape Man I deceived: that which to me belongs, Is enmity which he will put between Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel; His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head: A world who would not purchase with a bruise, Or much more grievous pain?--Ye have the account Of my performance: What remains, ye Gods, But up, and enter now into full bliss? So having said, a while he stood, expecting Their universal shout, and high applause, To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears On all sides, from innumerable tongues, A dismal universal hiss, the sound Of publick scorn; he wondered, but not long Had leisure, wondering at himself now more, His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare; His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining Each other, till supplanted down he fell A monstrous serpent on his belly prone, Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power Now ruled him, punished in the shape he sinned, According to his doom: he would have spoke, But hiss for hiss returned with forked tongue To forked tongue; for now were all transformed Alike, to serpents all, as accessories To his bold riot: Dreadful was the din Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now With complicated monsters head and tail, Scorpion, and Asp, and Amphisbaena dire, Cerastes horned, Hydrus, and Elops drear, And Dipsas; (not so thick swarmed once the soil Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst, Now Dragon grown, larger than whom the sun Ingendered in the Pythian vale or slime, Huge Python, and his power no less he seemed Above the rest still to retain; they all Him followed, issuing forth to the open field, Where all yet left of that revolted rout, Heaven-fallen, in station stood or just array; Sublime with expectation when to see In triumph issuing forth their glorious Chief; They saw, but other sight instead! a croud Of ugly serpents; horrour on them fell, And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw, They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms, Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast; And the dire hiss renewed, and the dire form Catched, by contagion; like in punishment, As in their crime.
Thus was the applause they meant, Turned to exploding hiss, triumph to shame Cast on themselves from their own mouths.
There stood A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change, His will who reigns above, to aggravate Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve Used by the Tempter: on that prospect strange Their earnest eyes they fixed, imagining For one forbidden tree a multitude Now risen, to work them further woe or shame; Yet, parched with scalding thirst and hunger fierce, Though to delude them sent, could not abstain; But on they rolled in heaps, and, up the trees Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks That curled Megaera: greedily they plucked The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed; This more delusive, not the touch, but taste Deceived; they, fondly thinking to allay Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste With spattering noise rejected: oft they assayed, Hunger and thirst constraining; drugged as oft, With hatefullest disrelish writhed their jaws, With soot and cinders filled; so oft they fell Into the same illusion, not as Man Whom they triumphed once lapsed.
Thus were they plagued And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss, Till their lost shape, permitted, they resumed; Yearly enjoined, some say, to undergo, This annual humbling certain numbered days, To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduced.
However, some tradition they dispersed Among the Heathen, of their purchase got, And fabled how the Serpent, whom they called Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide-- Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven And Ops, ere yet Dictaean Jove was born.
Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair Too soon arrived; Sin, there in power before, Once actual; now in body, and to dwell Habitual habitant; behind her Death, Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.
Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death! What thinkest thou of our empire now, though earned With travel difficult, not better far Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat watch, Unnamed, undreaded, and thyself half starved? Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered soon.
To me, who with eternal famine pine, Alike is Hell, or Paradise, or Heaven; There best, where most with ravine I may meet; Which here, though plenteous, all too little seems To stuff this maw, this vast unhide-bound corps.
To whom the incestuous mother thus replied.
Thou therefore on these herbs, and fruits, and flowers, Feed first; on each beast next, and fish, and fowl; No homely morsels! and, whatever thing The sithe of Time mows down, devour unspared; Till I, in Man residing, through the race, His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all infect; And season him thy last and sweetest prey.
This said, they both betook them several ways, Both to destroy, or unimmortal make All kinds, and for destruction to mature Sooner or later; which the Almighty seeing, From his transcendent seat the Saints among, To those bright Orders uttered thus his voice.
See, with what heat these dogs of Hell advance To waste and havock yonder world, which I So fair and good created; and had still Kept in that state, had not the folly of Man Let in these wasteful furies, who impute Folly to me; so doth the Prince of Hell And his adherents, that with so much ease I suffer them to enter and possess A place so heavenly; and, conniving, seem To gratify my scornful enemies, That laugh, as if, transported with some fit Of passion, I to them had quitted all, At random yielded up to their misrule; And know not that I called, and drew them thither, My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filth Which Man's polluting sin with taint hath shed On what was pure; til, crammed and gorged, nigh burst With sucked and glutted offal, at one sling Of thy victorious arm, well-pleasing Son, Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave, at last, Through Chaos hurled, obstruct the mouth of Hell For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
Then Heaven and Earth renewed shall be made pure To sanctity, that shall receive no stain: Till then, the curse pronounced on both precedes.
He ended, and the heavenly audience loud Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas, Through multitude that sung: Just are thy ways, Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works; Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son, Destined Restorer of mankind, by whom New Heaven and Earth shall to the ages rise, Or down from Heaven descend.
--Such was their song; While the Creator, calling forth by name His mighty Angels, gave them several charge, As sorted best with present things.
The sun Had first his precept so to move, so shine, As might affect the earth with cold and heat Scarce tolerable; and from the north to call Decrepit winter; from the south to bring Solstitial summer's heat.
To the blanc moon Her office they prescribed; to the other five Their planetary motions, and aspects, In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite, Of noxious efficacy, and when to join In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed Their influence malignant when to shower, Which of them rising with the sun, or falling, Should prove tempestuous: To the winds they set Their corners, when with bluster to confound Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll With terrour through the dark aereal hall.
Some say, he bid his Angels turn ascanse The poles of earth, twice ten degrees and more, From the sun's axle; they with labour pushed Oblique the centrick globe: Some say, the sun Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven Atlantick Sisters, and the Spartan Twins, Up to the Tropick Crab: thence down amain By Leo, and the Virgin, and the Scales, As deep as Capricorn; to bring in change Of seasons to each clime; else had the spring Perpetual smiled on earth with vernant flowers, Equal in days and nights, except to those Beyond the polar circles; to them day Had unbenighted shone, while the low sun, To recompense his distance, in their sight Had rounded still the horizon, and not known Or east or west; which had forbid the snow From cold Estotiland, and south as far Beneath Magellan.
At that tasted fruit The sun, as from Thyestean banquet, turned His course intended; else, how had the world Inhabited, though sinless, more than now, Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat? These changes in the Heavens, though slow, produced Like change on sea and land; sideral blast, Vapour, and mist, and exhalation hot, Corrupt and pestilent: Now from the north Of Norumbega, and the Samoed shore, Bursting their brazen dungeon, armed with ice, And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw, Boreas, and Caecias, and Argestes loud, And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn; With adverse blast upturns them from the south Notus, and Afer black with thunderous clouds From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce, Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds, Eurus and Zephyr, with their lateral noise, Sirocco and Libecchio.
Thus began Outrage from lifeless things; but Discord first, Daughter of Sin, among the irrational Death introduced, through fierce antipathy: Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with fowl, And fish with fish; to graze the herb all leaving, Devoured each other; nor stood much in awe Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance grim, Glared on him passing.
These were from without The growing miseries, which Adam saw Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade, To sorrow abandoned, but worse felt within; And, in a troubled sea of passion tost, Thus to disburden sought with sad complaint.
O miserable of happy! Is this the end Of this new glorious world, and me so late The glory of that glory, who now become Accursed, of blessed? hide me from the face Of God, whom to behold was then my highth Of happiness!--Yet well, if here would end The misery; I deserved it, and would bear My own deservings; but this will not serve: All that I eat or drink, or shall beget, Is propagated curse.
O voice, once heard Delightfully, Encrease and multiply; Now death to hear! for what can I encrease, Or multiply, but curses on my head? Who of all ages to succeed, but, feeling The evil on him brought by me, will curse My head? Ill fare our ancestor impure, For this we may thank Adam! but his thanks Shall be the execration: so, besides Mine own that bide upon me, all from me Shall with a fierce reflux on me rebound; On me, as on their natural center, light Heavy, though in their place.
O fleeting joys Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes! Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay To mould me Man? did I solicit thee From darkness to promote me, or here place In this delicious garden? As my will Concurred not to my being, it were but right And equal to reduce me to my dust; Desirous to resign and render back All I received; unable to perform Thy terms too hard, by which I was to hold The good I sought not.
To the loss of that, Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added The sense of endless woes? Inexplicable Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet Mortality my sentence, and be earth Insensible! How glad would lay me down As in my mother's lap! There I should rest, And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more Would thunder in my ears; no fear of worse To me, and to my offspring, would torment me With cruel expectation.
Yet one doubt Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die; Lest that pure breath of life, the spirit of Man Which God inspired, cannot together perish With this corporeal clod; then, in the grave, Or in some other dismal place, who knows But I shall die a living death? O thought Horrid, if true! Yet why? It was but breath Of life that sinned; what dies but what had life And sin? The body properly had neither, All of me then shall die: let this appease The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite, Is his wrath also? Be it, Man is not so, But mortal doomed.
How can he exercise Wrath without end on Man, whom death must end? Can he make deathless death? That were to make Strange contradiction, which to God himself Impossible is held; as argument Of weakness, not of power.
Will he draw out, For anger's sake, finite to infinite, In punished Man, to satisfy his rigour, Satisfied never? That were to extend His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law; By which all causes else, according still To the reception of their matter, act; Not to the extent of their own sphere.
But say That death be not one stroke, as I supposed, Bereaving sense, but endless misery From this day onward; which I feel begun Both in me, and without me; and so last To perpetuity;--Ay me!that fear Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution On my defenceless head; both Death and I Am found eternal, and incorporate both; Nor I on my part single; in me all Posterity stands cursed: Fair patrimony That I must leave ye, Sons! O, were I able To waste it all myself, and leave ye none! So disinherited, how would you bless Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind, For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned, It guiltless? But from me what can proceed, But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved Not to do only, but to will the same With me? How can they then acquitted stand In sight of God? Him, after all disputes, Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain, And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still But to my own conviction: first and last On me, me only, as the source and spring Of all corruption, all the blame lights due; So might the wrath! Fond wish!couldst thou support That burden, heavier than the earth to bear; Than all the world much heavier, though divided With that bad Woman? Thus, what thou desirest, And what thou fearest, alike destroys all hope Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable Beyond all past example and future; To Satan only like both crime and doom.
O Conscience! into what abyss of fears And horrours hast thou driven me; out of which I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged! Thus Adam to himself lamented loud, Through the still night; not now, as ere Man fell, Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom; Which to his evil conscience represented All things with double terrour: On the ground Outstretched he lay, on the cold ground; and oft Cursed his creation; Death as oft accused Of tardy execution, since denounced The day of his offence.
Why comes not Death, Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke To end me? Shall Truth fail to keep her word, Justice Divine not hasten to be just? But Death comes not at call; Justice Divine Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries, O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers! With other echo late I taught your shades To answer, and resound far other song.
-- Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld, Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, Soft words to his fierce passion she assayed: But her with stern regard he thus repelled.
Out of my sight, thou Serpent! That name best Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape, Like his, and colour serpentine, may show Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended To hellish falshood, snare them! But for thee I had persisted happy; had not thy pride And wandering vanity, when least was safe, Rejected my forewarning, and disdained Not to be trusted; longing to be seen, Though by the Devil himself; him overweening To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting, Fooled and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee To trust thee from my side; imagined wise, Constant, mature, proof against all assaults; And understood not all was but a show, Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears, More to the part sinister, from me drawn; Well if thrown out, as supernumerary To my just number found.
O! why did God, Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven With Spirits masculine, create at last This novelty on earth, this fair defect Of nature, and not fill the world at once With Men, as Angels, without feminine; Or find some other way to generate Mankind? This mischief had not been befallen, And more that shall befall; innumerable Disturbances on earth through female snares, And strait conjunction with this sex: for either He never shall find out fit mate, but such As some misfortune brings him, or mistake; Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain Through her perverseness, but shall see her gained By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld 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 houshold 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 judgement 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 knowest not, who desirest The punishment all on thyself; alas! Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain His full wrath, whose thou feelest as yet least part, And my displeasure bearest 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 Shal '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 Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged; How much more, if we pray him, will his ear Be open, and his heart to pity incline, And teach us further by what means to shun The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow! Which now the sky, with various face, begins To show us in this mountain; while the winds Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish Our limbs benummed, ere this diurnal star Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams Reflected may with matter sere foment; Or, by collision of two bodies, grind The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock, 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.



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