Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Remov'd far off; then, pitying how they stood
Before him naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
As when he wash'd 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, cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up return'd,
Into his blissful bosom reassum'd

[ocr errors]

[Man

In glory, as of old; to him appeas'd,
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Mean while, ere thus was sirm'd and judg'd 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 pass'd througħ,
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 return'd, 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,
Fasing 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."

;

His nostril wide into the murky air Sagacious of his quarry from so far.

Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd 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 Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest [live: Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.”

So saying, with delight he snuff'd 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 encamp'd, come flying, lur'd With scent of living carcasses design'd For death, the following day, in bloody fight: So scented the grim feature, and upturn'd

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:

waves.

As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagin'd way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move;
And with Asphaltic slíme, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach [on
They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought
Over the foaming deep high-arch'd, 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 compar'd,
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 join'd,
And scourg'd with many a stroke the indignant
[art
Now had they brought the work by wonderous
Pontifical, a ridge of pendant rock,
Over the vex'd 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 empyréan Heaven,
And of this world; and, on the left hand, Hell
With long reach interpos'd; 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 :
Disguis'd he came ; but those his children dear
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.
He, after Eve seduc'd, 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, return'd
By night, and listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom; which under-
stood

Not instant, but of future time, with joy

And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd;
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wonderous pontifice, unhop'd
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.

"O parent, these are thy magnific deeds, Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own;

Thou art their author, and prime architect:
For I no sooner in my heart divin'd,
My heart, which by a secret harmony
Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet,
That thou on Earth hadst prosper'd, which thy
Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet
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

[looks

[felt

Detain from following thy illustrious track:
Thou hast achiev'd our liberty, confin'd
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us impower'd
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 gain'd
With odds what war hath lost, and fully aveng'd
Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch
reign,
There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
As battle hath adjudg'd; 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 answer'd
glad.
[both;

"Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild
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,

[ocr errors]

Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
Of easy thorough-fare. Therefore, while I
Descend through darkness, on your road with
ease,

[Earth

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
Dominion exercise and in the air,
Chiefly on man, sole lord of all declar'd;
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes 1 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 expos'd by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong!"

So saying he dismiss'd them; they with speed Their course through thickest constellations held, wan, Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse Then suffer'd. The other way Satan went down The causey to Hell-gate: on either side Disparted Chaos over built exclaim'd,' And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd, That scorn'd his indignation: through the gate, Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd, 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 retir'd, about the walls Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat Of Lucifer, so by allusion call'd Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd; There kept their watch the legions, while the In council sat, solicitous what chance [grand Might intercept their emperor sent; so he Departing gave command, and they observ'd. As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,

By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
Retires; or Bactrian 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-banish'd host, left desert utmost Hell
Many a dark league, reduc'd in careful watch
Round their metropolis; and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurer, from the
search
[mark'd,
Of foreign worlds: he through the midst un-
In show plebeiau angel militant

Of lowest order, pass'd; 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 plac'd 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 appear'd, or brighter;
clad

With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter: all amaz'd
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd be
held,
[claim:
Their mighty chief return'd: loud was the ac-
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
Rais'd from their dark divan, and with like joy
Congratulant approach'd 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; return'd
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accurs'd, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
Little inferior, by my adventure hard
With peril great achiev'd. Long were to tell
What I have done; what suffer'd; with what pain
Voyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion; over which

By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'd,

To expedite your glorious march; but I
Toil'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride
The untractable abyss, plung'd in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely oppos'd
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 fabric wonderful
Of absolute perfection! therein Man
Plac'd in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy: him by fraud I have seduc'd
From his Creator; and, the more to increase
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 rul'd.
True is, me also he hath judg'd, or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape
Man I deceiv'd: 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 ac-

count

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 public scorn; he wonder'd, but not long lau leisure, wondering at himself now more ; lis visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare; fis arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining ach other, till supplanted down he fell monstrous serpent on his belly prone, teluctant, but in vain; a greater power ow rul'd him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd, ccording to his doom: he would have spoke, ut hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue o forked tongue; for now were all transform'd like, to serpents all, as accessories

o his bold riot: dreadful was the din

f hissing through the hall, thick swarming now ith complicated monsters head and tail, corpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire, erastes horn'd, hydrus, and elops drear, nd dipsas; (not so thick swarm'd once the soil edropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle phiusa,) but still greatest he the midst, ow dragon grown, larger than whom the Sun ngender'd in the Pythian vale or slime, uge Python, and his power no less he seem'd bove the rest still to retain; they all im follow'd, issuing forth to the open field, There all yet left of that revolted rout, eaven-fall'n, in station stood or just array ; ablime with expectation when to see I triumph issuing forth their glorious chief; hey saw, but other sight instead! a croud f ugly serpents; horrour on them fell,

nd horrid sympathy; for, what they saw, hey felt themselves, now changing; down their

arms, VOL. VII.

[ocr errors]

as

Down fell both spear and shield; down they a
And the dire hiss, renew'd, and the dire form[fast;
Catch'd, by contagion; like in punishment,
As in their crime. Thus was the applause they
meant,

Turn'd 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
Us'd by the tempter: on that prospect strange
Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining
For one forbidden tree a multitude

Now ris'n, to work them further woe or shame; Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,

Though to delude them sent, could not abstain ;
But on they roll'd in heaps, and, up the trees
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
That curl'd Megara: greedily they pluck'd
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flam'd;
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceiv'd; they, fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
Chew'd bitter ashes, which the offended taste
With spattering noise rejected: oft they assay'd
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg'd as oft,
With hatefullest disrelish writh'd their jaws,
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell
Into the same illusion, not as Man

Whom they triumph'd once laps'd. Thus were they plagu'd

And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resun'd;
Yearly enjoin'd, some say, to undergo,
This annual humbling certain number'd days,
To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduc'd.
However, some tradition they dispers'd
Among the Heathen, of their purchase got,
And fabled how the serpent, whom they calld
Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide-
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven
And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born.

Mean while in Paradise the hellish pair
Too soon arriv'd; 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!
Learn'd
What think'st thou of our empire now, though
With travel difficult, not better far [watch,
Than still at Hell's dark threshold to have sat
Unnam'd, undreaded, and thyself half starv'd ?"

[soon,

Whom thus the Sin-born monster answered "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;

Ee

No homely morsels! and whatever thing
The sithe of Time mows down, devour un-
spar'd;

Till I, in Man residing, through the race,
His thoughts, his looks, words, actions, all in-
fect;

1

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 utter'd thus his voice.
"See, with what heat these dogs of Hell

advance

To waste and havoc 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 call'd, 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; till cramm'd and gorg'd,
nigh burst

With suck'd and glutted offal, at one sling
Of thy victorious arm, well pleasing Son,
Both Sin, and Death, and yawning Grave, at last,
Through Chaos hurl'd, obstruct the mouth of
Hell

Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terrour through the dark aëreal 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 push'd
Oblique the centric globe: some say, the Sun
Was bid turn reins from the equinoctial road
Like distant breadth to Taurus with the seven
Atlantic Sisters, and the Spartan Twins,
Up to the tropic 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 smil'd 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, turn'd
His course intended; else, how bad the world
Inhabited, though sinless, more than now,
Avoided pinching cold and scorching heat?
These changes in the Heavens, though slow, pro-

duc'd

For ever, and seal up his ravenous jaws.
Then Heaven and Earth renew'd shall be
made pure

To sanctity, that shall receive no stain:
Till then, the curse pronounc'd on both precedes."
He ended, and the heavenly audience loud
Sung Halleluiah, as the sound of seas, [ways,
Through multitude that sung: "Just are thy
Righteous are thy decrees on all thy works;
Who can extenuate thee? Next, to the Son,
Destin'd 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 fix'd
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

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, arm'd with ice,
And snow, and hail, and stormy gust and flaw,
Boreas, and Cæcias, and Argestes loud,
And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn;
With adverse blast upturns them from the south
Notus, add Afer black with thunderous clouds
From Serraliona; thwart of these, as fierce,
Forth rush the Lévant 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 introduc'd, through firce antipathy:
Beast now with beast 'gan war, and fowl with
fowl,

And fish with fish: to graze the herb all leaving.
Devour'd each other; nor stood much in awe
Of Man, but fled him; or, with countenance
grim,

Glar'd on him passing. These were from without
The growing miseries, which Adam saw
Already in part, though hid in gloomiest shade,
To sorrow abandon'd, 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
Accurs'd, of blessed? hide me from the face
Of God, whom to behold was then my height
Of happiness!-Yet well, if here would end
The misery; I deserv'd 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, Increase and multiply;

Now death to hear! for what can I increase,

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 centre, 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
Concurr'd not to my being, it were but right ́
And equal to reduce me to my dust;
Desirous to resign and render back
All 1 receiv'd; 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
Thy justice seems; yet, to say truth, too late
I thus contest; then should have been refus'd
Those terms, whatever, when they were propos'd:
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, reprov'd, 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.

[out

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
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 inspir'd, 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 sinn'd; what dies but what had life
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 [end?
Wrath without end on Man, whom death must
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 the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I suppos'd,
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 [tion
Comes thundering back with dreadful revolu-
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 curs'd: 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 [kind,
Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all man-
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 deprav'd
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,
Forc'd I absolve: all my evasions vain, [still
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me
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 horrours hast thou driven me; out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plung❜d !"
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,
Through the still night; not now, as ere Man
fell,
[air
Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black
Accompanied; with damps, and dreadful gloom;
Which to his evil conscience represented

All things with double terrour: on the ground
Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground; and oft
Curs'd his creation; Death as oft accus'd
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd

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 uigh,
Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd:

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »