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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
Thy justice seems; yet, to say truth, too late
I thus contest: then should have been refused
These terms, whatever, when they were proposed.
Thou didst accept them; wilt thou enjoy the good,
Then cavil the conditions ?' and though God
Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son
Prove disobedient, and reproved retort,
Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not:
Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee
That proud excuse? yet him not thy election,
But natural necessity begot.
God made thee of choice his own, and of his own
To serve him, thy reward was of his grace,
Thy punishment then justly is at his will.
Be it so, for I submit, his doom is fair,
That dust I am, and shall to dust return;
O welcome hour whenever! why delays
His hand to execute what His decree
Fix'd on this day? why do I overlive?
Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd 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

1 Job ii. 10.

Gen. ii. 7.

Horrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath
Of life that sinn'd; what dies but what had lif
And sin ? the body properly hath 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 doom'd. 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 punish'd 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 th' extent of their own sphere. But say,
That death be not one stroke, as I
Bereaving sense, but endless misery
From this day onward, which I feel begun
Both in me, and without me, and so last
To perpetvity. Ay me! that fear
Comes thund'ring back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head; both death and I
Are 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'
Su disinherited, how would ye bless
Me, now your curse! Ah! why should all mankind,
For one man's fault thus guiltless be condemn'd,
If 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,

supposed,

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 desir’st,
And what thou fear’st, 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 horrors hast thou driv'n 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 terror. On the ground
Outstretch'd 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 O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bow'rs, With other echo late I taught your

shades To anywer, and resound far other song. Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve Leveld, Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd : But her with stern regard he thus repell’d.

Out of my sight, thou serpent! that name best Befits thee with him leagued, thy self as false

prayers or cries.

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 heav'nly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee
I had persisted happy, had not thy pride
And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen
Though by the devil himself, him overweening
To over-reach; but with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd 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. Oh! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest heav'n
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at onoe
With men as angels withou; feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind? This mischief had not then befall'n,
And more that shall befall; innumerable
Disturbances on earth through female snares,
And straight 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 gain'd
By a far worse; or if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame;
Which inrinite calamity shall cause
To human life, and household peace confound

He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet Fell humble, and, enibracing them, besought His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam, witness heav'n 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 join'd in injuries, one enmity Against a foe by doom express assign'd ne, That cruel serpent. On me exercise not Thy hatred for this misery befall’n, On me already lost, me than thyself More miserable; both have sinn'd, 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 obtain'd 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 disarm’d, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon.

Unwary and too desirous as before,
Bo now of what thou know'st not, who desir'st

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