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 Thy justice seems; yet to say truth, too late I thus contest; then should have been refused Those 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 Fixed on this day? Why do I overlive, 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. Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn From his displeasure; in whose look serene, When angry most he seemed and most severe, What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone? So spake our father penitent; nor Eve Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell Before him reverent; and both confessed Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek.
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood Praying; for from the mercy-seat above Prevenient grace descending had removed The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight Than loudest oratory: Yet their port Not of mean suitors; nor important less Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair In fables old, less ancient yet than these, Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad With incense, where the golden altar fumed, By their great intercessour, came in sight Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son Presenting, thus to intercede began. See Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed With incense, I thy priest before thee bring; Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed Sown with contrition in his heart, than those Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen From innocence. Now therefore, bend thine ear To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute; Unskilful with what words to pray, let me Interpret for him; me, his advocate And propitiation; all his works on me, Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. Accept me; and, in me, from these receive The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live Before thee reconciled, at least his days Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,) To better life shall yield him: where with me All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss; Made one with me, as I with thee am one. To whom the Father, without cloud, serene. All thy request for Man, accepted Son, Obtain; all thy request was my decree: But, longer in that Paradise to dwell, The law I gave to Nature him forbids: Those pure immortal elements, that know, No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul, Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off, As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, And mortal food; as may dispose him best For dissolution wrought by sin, that first Distempered all things, and of incorrupt Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts Created him endowed; with happiness, And immortality: that fondly lost, This other served but to eternize woe; Till I provided death: so death becomes His final remedy; and, after life, Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined By faith and faithful works, to second life, Waked in the renovation of the just, Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. But let us call to synod all the Blest, Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide My judgements; how with mankind I proceed, As how with peccant Angels late they saw, And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed. He ended, and the Son gave signal high To the bright minister that watched; he blew His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps When God descended, and perhaps once more To sound at general doom. The angelick blast Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring, By the waters of life, where'er they sat In fellowships of joy, the sons of light Hasted, resorting to the summons high; And took their seats; till from his throne supreme The Almighty thus pronounced his sovran will. O Sons, like one of us Man is become To know both good and evil, since his taste Of that defended fruit; but let him boast His knowledge of good lost, and evil got; Happier! had it sufficed him to have known Good by itself, and evil not at all. He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite, My motions in him; longer than they move, His heart I know, how variable and vain, Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand Reach also of the tree of life, and eat, And live for ever, dream at least to live For ever, to remove him I decree, And send him from the garden forth to till The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil. Michael, this my behest have thou in charge; Take to thee from among the Cherubim Thy choice of flaming warriours, lest the Fiend, Or in behalf of Man, or to invade Vacant possession, some new trouble raise: Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God Without remorse drive out the sinful pair; From hallowed ground the unholy; and denounce To them, and to their progeny, from thence Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint At the sad sentence rigorously urged, (For I behold them softened, and with tears Bewailing their excess,) all terrour hide. If patiently thy bidding they obey, Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal To Adam what shall come in future days, As I shall thee enlighten; intermix My covenant in the Woman's seed renewed; So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace: And on the east side of the garden place, Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, Cherubick watch; and of a sword the flame Wide-waving; all approach far off to fright, And guard all passage to the tree of life: Lest Paradise a receptacle prove To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey; With whose stolen fruit Man once more to delude. He ceased; and the arch-angelick Power prepared For swift descent; with him the cohort bright Of watchful Cherubim: four faces each Had, like a double Janus; all their shape Spangled with eyes more numerous than those Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drouse, Charmed with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Mean while, To re-salute the world with sacred light, Leucothea waked; and with fresh dews imbalmed The earth; when Adam and first matron Eve Had ended now their orisons, and found Strength added from above; new hope to spring Out of despair; joy, but with fear yet linked; Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewed. Eve, easily my faith admit, that all The good which we enjoy from Heaven descends; But, that from us aught should ascend to Heaven So prevalent as to concern the mind Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne Even to the seat of God. For since I sought By prayer the offended Deity to appease; Kneeled, and before him humbled all my heart; Methought I saw him placable and mild, Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew That I was heard with favour; peace returned Home to my breast, and to my memory His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; Which, then not minded in dismay, yet now Assures me that the bitterness of death Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee, Eve rightly called, mother of all mankind, Mother of all things living, since by thee Man is to live; and all things live for Man. To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek. Ill-worthy I such title should belong To me transgressour; who, for thee ordained A help, became thy snare; to me reproach Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise: But infinite in pardon was my Judge, That I, who first brought death on all, am graced The source of life; next favourable thou, Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st, Far other name deserving. But the field To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed, Though after sleepless night; for see! the morn, All unconcerned with our unrest, begins Her rosy progress smiling: let us forth; I never from thy side henceforth to stray, Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell, What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks? Here let us live, though in fallen state, content. So spake, so wished much humbled Eve; but Fate Subscribed not: Nature first gave signs, impressed On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclipsed, After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour, Two birds of gayest plume before him drove; Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace, Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. Adam observed, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake. O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows Forerunners of his purpose; or to warn Us, haply too secure, of our discharge From penalty, because from death released Some days: how long, and what till then our life, Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, And thither must return, and be no more? Why else this double object in our sight Of flight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground, One way the self-same hour? why in the east Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light More orient in yon western cloud, that draws O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, And slow descends with something heavenly fraught? He erred not; for by this the heavenly bands Down from a sky of jasper lighted now In Paradise, and on a hill made halt; A glorious apparition, had not doubt And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye. Not that more glorious, when the Angels met Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw The field pavilioned with his guardians bright; Nor that, which on the flaming mount appeared In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire, Against the Syrian king, who to surprise One man, assassin-like, had levied war, War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seise Possession of the garden; he alone, To find where Adam sheltered, took his way, Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve, While the great visitant approached, thus spake. Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps Of us will soon determine, or impose New laws to be observed; for I descry, From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill, One of the heavenly host; and, by his gait, None of the meanest; some great Potentate Or of the Thrones above; such majesty Invests him coming! yet not terrible, That I should fear; nor sociably mild, As Raphael, that I should much confide; But solemn and sublime; whom not to offend, With reverence I must meet, and thou retire. He ended: and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh, Not in his shape celestial, but as man Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms A military vest of purple flowed, Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof; His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime In manhood where youth ended; by his side, As in a glistering zodiack, hung the sword, Satan's dire dread; and in his hand the spear. Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state Inclined not, but his coming thus declared. Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs: Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death, Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, Defeated of his seisure many days Given thee of grace; wherein thou mayest repent, And one bad act with many deeds well done Mayest cover: Well may then thy Lord, appeased, Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim; But longer in this Paradise to dwell Permits not: to remove thee I am come, And send thee from the garden forth to till The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil. He added not; for Adam at the news Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen Yet all had heard, with audible lament Discovered soon the place of her retire. O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! Must I thus leave thee Paradise? thus leave Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades, Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend, Quiet though sad, the respite of that day That must be mortal to us both. O flowers, That never will in other climate grow, My early visitation, and my last At even, which I bred up with tender hand From the first opening bud, and gave ye names, Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount? Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee How shall I part, and whither wander down Into a lower world; to this obscure And wild, how shall we breathe in other air Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits? Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild. Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart, Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine: Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes Thy husband; whom 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, On this mount he appeared; under this tree Stood visible; among these pines his voice 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 theron 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 knowest 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 mayest believe, and be confirmed Ere thou from hence depart; know, I am sent To show 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 thou to foresight wakest; As once thou sleptst, while she to life was formed. To whom thus Adam gratefully replied. Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path Thou leadest 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 Sinaean 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; I' 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 That beat out life; he fell; and, deadly pale, Groaned out his soul with gushing blood effused. Much at that sight was Adam in his heart Dismayed, and thus in haste to the Angel cried. O Teacher, some great mischief hath befallen To that meek man, who well had sacrificed; Is piety thus and pure devotion paid? To whom Michael thus, he also moved, replied. These two are brethren, Adam, and to come Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain, For envy that his brother's offering found From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact Will be avenged; and the other's faith, approved, Lose no reward; though here thou see him die, Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire. Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause! But have I now seen Death? Is this the way I must return to native dust? O sight Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold, Horrid to think, how horrible to feel! To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen In his first shape on Man; but many shapes Of Death, and many are the ways that lead To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense More terrible at the entrance, than within. Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die; By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew Before thee shall appear; that thou mayest know What misery the inabstinence of Eve Shall bring on Men. Immediately a place Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark; A lazar-house it seemed; wherein were laid Numbers of all diseased; all maladies Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone and ulcer, colick-pangs, Demoniack phrenzy, moaping melancholy, And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch; And over them triumphant Death his dart Shook, but delayed to strike, though oft invoked With vows, as their chief good, and final hope. Sight so deform what heart of rock could long Dry-eyed behold? Adam could not, but wept, Though not of woman born; compassion quelled His best of man, and gave him up to tears A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess; And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed. O miserable mankind, to what fall Degraded, to what wretched state reserved! Better end here unborn. Why is life given To be thus wrested from us? rather, why Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew What we receive, would either no accept Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down; Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus The image of God in Man, created once So goodly and erect, though faulty since, To such unsightly sufferings be debased Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man, Retaining still divine similitude In part, from such deformities be free, And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt? Their Maker's image, answered Michael, then Forsook them, when themselves they vilified To serve ungoverned Appetite; and took His image whom they served, a brutish vice, Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. Therefore so abject is their punishment, Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; Or if his likeness, by themselves defaced; While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they God's image did not reverence in themselves. I yield it just, said Adam, and submit. But is there yet no other way, besides These painful passages, how we may come To death, and mix with our connatural dust? There is, said Michael, if thou well observe The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught, In what thou eatest and drinkest; seeking from thence Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, Till many years over thy head return: So mayest thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease Gathered, nor harshly plucked; for death mature: This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then, Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego, To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth, Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign A melancholy damp of cold and dry To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume The balm of life. To whom our ancestor. Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge; Which I must keep till my appointed day Of rendering up, and patiently attend My dissolution. Michael replied. Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven: And now prepare thee for another sight. He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound Of instruments, that made melodious chime, Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who moved Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch, Instinct through all proportions, low and high, Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. In other part stood one who, at the forge Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass Had melted, (whether found where casual fire Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot To some cave's mouth; or whether washed by stream From underground;) the liquid ore he drained Into fit moulds prepared; from which he formed First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought Fusil or graven in metal. After these, But on the hither side, a different sort From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat, Down to the plain descended; by their guise Just men they seemed, and all their study bent To worship God aright, and know his works Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve Freedom and peace to Men; they on the plain Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold! A bevy of fair women, richly gay In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on: The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net Fast caught, they liked; and each his liking chose; And now of love they treat, till the evening-star, Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked: With feast and musick all the tents resound. Such happy interview, and fair event Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, And charming symphonies, attached the heart Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight, The bent of nature; which he thus expressed. True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest; Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past; Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse; Here Nature seems fulfilled in all her ends. To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet; Created, as thou art, to nobler end Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou sawest so pleasant, were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother; studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventers rare; Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; For that fair female troop thou sawest, that seemed Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, Yet empty of all good wherein consists Woman's domestick honour and chief praise; Bred only and completed to the taste Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye: To these that sober race of men, whose lives Religious titled them the sons of God, Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy, Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which The world erelong a world of tears must weep. To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft. O pity and shame, that they, who to live well Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint! But still I see the tenour of Man's woe Holds on the same, from Woman to begin. From Man's effeminate slackness it begins, Said the Angel, who should better hold his place By wisdom, and superiour gifts received. But now prepare thee for another scene. He looked, and saw wide territory spread Before him, towns, and rural works between; Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle ranged Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood; One way a band select from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray; With cruel tournament the squadrons join; Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field, Deserted: Others to a city strong Lay siege, encamped; by battery, scale, and mine, Assaulting; others from the wall defend With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire; On each hand slaughter, and gigantick deeds. In other part the sceptered heralds call To council, in the city-gates; anon Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mixed, Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon, In factious opposition; till at last, Of middle age one rising, eminent In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong, Of justice, or religion, truth, and peace, And judgement from above: him old and young Exploded, and had seized with violent hands, Had not a cloud descending snatched him thence Unseen amid the throng: so violence Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law, Through all the plain, and refuge none was found. Adam was all in tears, and to his guide Lamenting turned full sad; O! what are these, Death's ministers, not men? who thus deal death Inhumanly to men, and multiply Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew His brother: for of whom such massacre Make they, but of their brethren; men of men But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost? To whom thus Michael. These are the product Of those ill-mated marriages thou sawest; Where good with bad were matched, who of themselves Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mixed, Produce prodigious births of body or mind. Such were these giants, men of high renown; For in those days might only shall be admired, And valour and heroick virtue called; To overcome in battle, and subdue Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch Of human glory; and for glory done Of triumph, to be styled great conquerours Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods; Destroyers rightlier called, and plagues of men. Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth; And what most merits fame, in silence hid. But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst The only righteous in a world preverse, And therefore hated, therefore so beset With foes, for daring single to be just, And utter odious truth, that God would come To judge them with his Saints; him the Most High Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds Did, as thou sawest, receive, to walk with God High in salvation and the climes of bliss, Exempt from death; to show thee what reward Awaits the good; the rest what punishment; Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold. He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed; The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar; All now was turned to jollity and game, To luxury and riot, feast and dance; Marrying or prostituting, as befel, Rape or adultery, where passing fair Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils. At length a reverend sire among them came, And of their doings great dislike declared, And testified against their ways; he oft Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, Triumphs or festivals; and to them preached Conversion and repentance, as to souls In prison, under judgements imminent: But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceased Contending, and removed his tents far off; Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall, Began to build a vessel of huge bulk; Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth; Smeared round with pitch; and in the side a door Contrived; and of provisions laid in large, For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange! Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, Came sevens, and pairs; and entered in as taught Their order: last the sire and his three sons, With their four wives; and God made fast the door. Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black wings Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove From under Heaven; the hills to their supply Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist, Sent up amain; and now the thickened sky Like a dark ceiling stood; down rushed the rain Impetuous; and continued, till the earth No more was seen: the floating vessel swum Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else Flood overwhelmed, and them with all their pomp Deep under water rolled; sea covered sea, Sea without shore; and in their palaces, Where luxury late reigned, sea-monsters whelped And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late, All left, in one small bottom swum imbarked. How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, Depopulation! Thee another flood, Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drowned, And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently reared By the Angel, on thy feet thou stoodest at last, Though comfortless; as when a father mourns His children, all in view destroyed at once; And scarce to the Angel utter'dst thus thy plaint. O visions ill foreseen! Better had I Lived ignorant of future! so had borne My part of evil only, each day's lot Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed The burden of many ages, on me light At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth Abortive, to torment me ere their being, With thought that they must be. Let no man seek Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall Him or his children; evil he may be sure, Which neither his foreknowing can prevent; And he the future evil shall no less In apprehension than in substance feel, Grievous to bear: but that care now is past, Man is not whom to warn: those few escaped Famine and anguish will at last consume, Wandering that watery desart: I had hope, When violence was ceased, and war on earth, All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned With length of happy days the race of Man; But I was far deceived; for now I see Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. How comes it thus? unfold, celestial Guide, And whether here the race of Man will end. To whom thus Michael. Those, whom last thou sawest In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they First seen in acts of prowess eminent And great exploits, but of true virtue void; Who, having spilt much blood, and done much wast Subduing nations, and achieved thereby Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey; Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. The conquered also, and enslaved by war, Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned In sharp contest of battle found no aid Against invaders; therefore, cooled in zeal, Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure, Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear More than enough, that temperance may be tried: So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved; Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; One man except, the only son of light In a dark age, against example good, Against allurement, custom, and a world Offended: fearless of reproach and scorn, Or violence, he of their wicked ways Shall them admonish; and before them set The paths of righteousness, how much more safe And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come On their impenitence; and shall return Of them derided, but of God observed The one just man alive; by his command Shall build a wonderous ark, as thou beheldst, To save himself, and houshold, from amidst A world devote to universal wrack. No sooner he, with them of man and beast Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged, And sheltered round; but all the cataracts Of Heaven set open on the Earth shall pour Rain, day and night; all fountains of the deep, Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp Beyond all bounds; till inundation rise Above the highest hills: Then shall this mount Of Paradise by might of waves be moved Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood, With all his verdure spoiled, and trees adrift, Down the great river to the opening gulf, And there take root an island salt and bare, The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang: To teach thee that God attributes to place No sanctity, if none be thither brought By men who there frequent, or therein dwell. And now, what further shall ensue, behold. He looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry, Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decayed; And the clear sun on his wide watery glass Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew, As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole With soft foot towards the deep; who now had stopt His sluces, as the Heaven his windows shut. The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed. And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear; With clamour thence the rapid currents drive, Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide. Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies, And after him, the surer messenger, A dove sent forth once and again to spy Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light: The second time returning, in his bill An olive-leaf he brings, pacifick sign: Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark The ancient sire descends, with all his train; Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout, Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow Conspicuous with three lifted colours gay, Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth. O thou, who future things canst represent As present, heavenly Instructer! I revive At this last sight; assured that Man shall live, With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. Far less I now lament for one whole world Of wicked sons destroyed, than I rejoice For one man found so perfect, and so just, That God vouchsafes to raise another world From him, and all his anger to forget. But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heaven Distended, as the brow of God appeased? Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth? To whom the Arch-Angel. Dextrously thou aimest; So willingly doth God remit his ire, Though late repenting him of Man depraved; Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, That he relents, not to blot out mankind; And makes a covenant never to destroy The earth again by flood; nor let the sea Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world, With man therein or beast; but, when he brings Over the earth a cloud, will therein set His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look, And call to mind his covenant: Day and night, Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new, Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.
As one who in his journey bates at noon, Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored, If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes. Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end; And Man, as from a second stock, proceed. Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine Must needs impair and weary human sense: Henceforth what is to come I will relate; Thou therefore give due audience, and attend. This second source of Men, while yet but few, And while the dread of judgement past remains Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, With some regard to what is just and right Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace; Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock, Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast, Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell Long time in peace, by families and tribes, Under paternal rule: till one shall rise Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content With fair equality, fraternal state, Will arrogate dominion undeserved Over his brethren, and quite dispossess Concord and law of nature from the earth; Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game) With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse Subjection to his empire tyrannous: A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven, Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty; And from rebellion shall derive his name, Though of rebellion others he accuse. He with a crew, whom like ambition joins With him or under him to tyrannize, Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell: Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven; And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed In foreign lands, their memory be lost; Regardless whether good or evil fame. But God, who oft descends to visit men Unseen, and through their habitations walks To mark their doings, them beholding soon, Comes down to see their city, ere the tower Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase Quite out their native language; and, instead, To sow a jangling noise of words unknown: Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud, Among the builders; each to other calls Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage, As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven, And looking down, to see the hubbub strange, And hear the din: Thus was the building left Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named. Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased. O execrable son! so to aspire Above his brethren; to himself assuming Authority usurped, from God not given: He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, Dominion absolute; that right we hold By his donation; but man over men He made not lord; such title to himself Reserving, human left from human free. But this usurper his encroachment proud Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends Siege and defiance: Wretched man! what food Will he convey up thither, to sustain Himself and his rash army; where thin air Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross, And famish him of breath, if not of bread? To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorrest That son, who on the quiet state of men Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue Rational liberty; yet know withal, Since thy original lapse, true liberty Is lost, which always with right reason dwells Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being: Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed, Immediately inordinate desires, And upstart passions, catch the government From reason; and to servitude reduce Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits Within himself unworthy powers to reign Over free reason, God, in judgement just, Subjects him from without to violent lords; Who oft as undeservedly enthrall His outward freedom: Tyranny must be; Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse. Yet sometimes nations will decline so low From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong, But justice, and some fatal curse annexed, Deprives them of their outward liberty; Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame Done to his father, heard this heavy curse, Servant of servants, on his vicious race. Thus will this latter, as the former world, Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last, Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw His presence from among them, and avert His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth To leave them to their own polluted ways; And one peculiar nation to select From all the rest, of whom to be invoked, A nation from one faithful man to spring: Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, Bred up in idol-worship: O, that men (Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown, While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood, As to forsake the living God, and fall To worship their own work in wood and stone For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes To call by vision, from his father's house, His kindred, and false Gods, into a land Which he will show him; and from him will raise A mighty nation; and upon him shower His benediction so, that in his seed All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys; Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes: I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil, Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford To Haran; after him a cumbrous train Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude; Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth With God, who called him, in a land unknown. Canaan he now attains; I see his tents Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain Of Moreh; there by promise he receives Gift to his progeny of all that land, From Hameth northward to the Desart south; (Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;) From Hermon east to the great western Sea; Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold In prospect, as I point them; on the shore Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream, Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. This ponder, that all nations of the earth Shall in his seed be blessed: By that seed Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon Plainlier shall be revealed. This patriarch blest, Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, A son, and of his son a grand-child, leaves; Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown: The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs From Canaan to a land hereafter called Egypt, divided by the river Nile See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths Into the sea. To sojourn in that land He comes, invited by a younger son In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds Raise him to be the second in that realm Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race Growing into a nation, and now grown Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: Till by two brethren (these two brethren call Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim His people from enthralment, they return, With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies To know their God, or message to regard, Must be compelled by signs and judgements dire; To blood unshed the rivers must be turned; Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land; His cattle must of rot and murren die; Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, And all his people; thunder mixed with hail, Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptians sky, And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls; What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green; Darkness must overshadow all his bounds, Palpable darkness, and blot out three days; Last, with one midnight stroke, all the first-born Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds The river-dragon tamed at length submits To let his sojourners depart, and oft Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass, As on dry land, between two crystal walls; Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand Divided, till his rescued gain their shore: Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, Though present in his Angel; who shall go Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire; By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire; To guide them in their journey, and remove Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues: All night he will pursue; but his approach Darkness defends between till morning watch; Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud, God looking forth will trouble all his host, And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command Moses once more his potent rod extends Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys; On their embattled ranks the waves return, And overwhelm their war: The race elect Safe toward Canaan from the shore advance Through the wild Desart, not the readiest way; Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed, War terrify them inexpert, and fear Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather Inglorious life with servitude; for life To noble and ignoble is more sweet Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on. This also shall they gain by their delay In the wide wilderness; there they shall found Their government, and their great senate choose Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained: God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top Shall tremble, he descending, will himself In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound, Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain To civil justice; part, religious rites Of sacrifice; informing them, by types And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God To mortal ear is dreadful: They beseech That Moses might report to them his will, And terrour cease; he grants what they besought, Instructed that to God is no access Without Mediator, whose high office now Moses in figure bears; to introduce One greater, of whose day he shall foretel, And all the Prophets in their age the times Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus, laws and rites Established, such delight hath God in Men Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes Among them to set up his tabernacle; The Holy One with mortal Men to dwell: By his prescript a sanctuary is framed Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein An ark, and in the ark his testimony, The records of his covenant; over these A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn Seven lamps as in a zodiack representing The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night; Save when they journey, and at length they come, Conducted by his Angel, to the land Promised to Abraham and his seed:—The rest Were long to tell; how many battles fought How many kings destroyed; and kingdoms won; Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, Man's voice commanding, "Sun, in Gibeon stand, And thou moon in the vale of Aialon, Till Israel overcome!" so call the third From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win. Here Adam interposed. O sent from Heaven, Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things Thou hast revealed; those chiefly, which concern Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased; Erewhile perplexed with thoughts, what would become Of me and all mankind: But now I see His day, in whom all nations shall be blest; Favour unmerited by me, who sought Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. This yet I apprehend not, why to those Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth So many and so various laws are given; So many laws argue so many sins Among them; how can God with such reside? To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin Will reign among them, as of thee begot; And therefore was law given them, to evince Their natural pravity, by stirring up Sin against law to fight: that when they see Law can discover sin, but not remove, Save by those shadowy expiations weak, The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude Some blood more precious must be paid for Man; Just for unjust; that, in such righteousness To them by faith imputed, they may find Justification towards God, and peace Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part Perform; and, not performing, cannot live. So law appears imperfect; and but given With purpose to resign them, in full time, Up to a better covenant; disciplined From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit; From imposition of strict laws to free Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear To filial; works of law to works of faith. And therefore shall not Moses, though of God Highly beloved, being but the minister Of law, his people into Canaan lead; But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call, His name and office bearing, who shall quell The adversary-Serpent, and bring back Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man Safe to eternal Paradise of rest. Mean while they, in their earthly Canaan placed, Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins National interrupt their publick peace, Provoking God to raise them enemies; From whom as oft he saves them penitent By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom The second, both for piety renowned And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive Irrevocable, that his regal throne For ever shall endure; the like shall sing All Prophecy, that of the royal stock Of David (so I name this king) shall rise A Son, the Woman's seed to thee foretold, Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings The last; for of his reign shall be no end. But first, a long succession must ensue; And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, The clouded ark of God, till then in tents Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine. Such follow him, as shall be registered Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll; Whose foul idolatries, and other faults Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense God, as to leave them, and expose their land, Their city, his temple, and his holy ark, With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey To that proud city, whose high walls thou sawest Left in confusion; Babylon thence called. There in captivity he lets them dwell The space of seventy years; then brings them back, Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn To David, stablished as the days of Heaven. Returned from Babylon by leave of kings Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God They first re-edify; and for a while In mean estate live moderate; till, grown In wealth and multitude, factious they grow; But first among the priests dissention springs, Men who attend the altar, and should most Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings Upon the temple itself: at last they seise The scepter, and regard not David's sons; Then lose it to a stranger, that the true Anointed King Messiah might be born Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star, Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come; And guides the eastern sages, who inquire His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold: His place of birth a solemn Angel tells To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night; They gladly thither haste, and by a quire Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung. A virgin is his mother, but his sire The power of the Most High: He shall ascend The throne hereditary, and bound his reign With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens. He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears, Without the vent of words; which these he breathed. O prophet of glad tidings, finisher Of utmost hope! now clear I understand What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain; Why our great Expectation should be called The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail, High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God Most High: so God with Man unites! Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal pain: Say where and when Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel. To whom thus Michael. Dream not of their fight, As of a duel, or the local wounds Of head or heel: Not therefore joins the Son Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil Thy enemy; nor so is overcome Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise, Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound: Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure, Not by destroying Satan, but his works In thee, and in thy seed: Nor can this be, But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the law of God, imposed On penalty of death, and suffering death; The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to theirs which out of thine will grow: So only can high Justice rest appaid. The law of God exact he shall fulfil Both by obedience and by love, though love Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment He shall endure, by coming in the flesh To a reproachful life, and cursed death; Proclaiming life to all who shall believe In his redemption; and that his obedience, Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits To save them, not their own, though legal, works. For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed, Seised on by force, judged, and to death condemned A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross By his own nation; slain for bringing life: But to the cross he nails thy enemies, The law that is against thee, and the sins Of all mankind, with him there crucified, Never to hurt them more who rightly trust In this his satisfaction; so he dies, But soon revives; Death over him no power Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light, Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems, His death for Man, as many as offered life Neglect not, and the benefit embrace By faith not void of works: This God-like act Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldest have died, In sin for ever lost from life; this act Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength, Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms; And fix far deeper in his head their stings Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel, Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life. Nor after resurrection shall he stay Longer on earth, than certain times to appear To his disciples, men who in his life Still followed him; to them shall leave in charge To teach all nations what of him they learned And his salvation; them who shall believe Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign Of washing them from guilt of sin to life Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall, For death, like that which the Redeemer died. All nations they shall teach; for, from that day, Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world; So in his seed all nations shall be blest. Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend With victory, triumphing through the air Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains Through all his realm, and there confounded leave; Then enter into glory, and resume His seat at God's right hand, exalted high Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come, When this world's dissolution shall be ripe, With glory and power to judge both quick and dead; To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward His faithful, and receive them into bliss, Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth Shall all be Paradise, far happier place Than this of Eden, and far happier days. So spake the Arch-Angel Michael; then paused, As at the world's great period; and our sire, Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied. O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense! That all this good of evil shall produce, And evil turn to good; more wonderful Than that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand, Whether I should repent me now of sin By me done, and occasioned; or rejoice Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring; To God more glory, more good-will to Men From God, and over wrath grace shall abound. But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven Must re-ascend, what will betide the few His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd, The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide His people, who defend? Will they not deal Worse with his followers than with him they dealt? Be sure they will, said the Angel; but from Heaven He to his own a Comforter will send, The promise of the Father, who shall dwell His Spirit within them; and the law of faith, Working through love, upon their hearts shall write, To guide them in all truth; and also arm With spiritual armour, able to resist Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts; What man can do against them, not afraid, Though to the death; against such cruelties With inward consolations recompensed, And oft supported so as shall amaze Their proudest persecutors: For the Spirit, Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends To evangelize the nations, then on all Baptized, shall them with wonderous gifts endue To speak all tongues, and do all miracles, As did their Lord before them. Thus they win Great numbers of each nation to receive With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: At length Their ministry performed, and race well run, Their doctrine and their story written left, They die; but in their room, as they forewarn, Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves, Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven To their own vile advantages shall turn Of lucre and ambition; and the truth With superstitions and traditions taint, Left only in those written records pure, Though not but by the Spirit understood. Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, Places, and titles, and with these to join Secular power; though feigning still to act By spiritual, to themselves appropriating The Spirit of God, promised alike and given To all believers; and, from that pretence, Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force On every conscience; laws which none shall find Left them inrolled, or what the Spirit within Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind His consort Liberty? what, but unbuild His living temples, built by faith to stand, Their own faith, not another's? for, on earth, Who against faith and conscience can be heard Infallible? yet many will presume: Whence heavy persecution shall arise On all, who in the worship persevere Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part, Will deem in outward rites and specious forms Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith Rarely be found: So shall the world go on, To good malignant, to bad men benign; Under her own weight groaning; till the day Appear of respiration to the just, And vengeance to the wicked, at return Of him so lately promised to thy aid, The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold, Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord; Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be revealed In glory of the Father, to dissolve Satan with his perverted world; then raise From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date, Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love; To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss. He ended; and thus Adam last replied. How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest, Measured this transient world, the race of time, Till time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss, Eternity, whose end no eye can reach. Greatly-instructed I shall hence depart; Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain; Beyond which was my folly to aspire. Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best, And love with fear the only God; to walk As in his presence; ever to observe His providence; and on him sole depend, Merciful over all his works, with good Still overcoming evil, and by small Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake Is fortitude to highest victory, And, to the faithful, death the gate of life; Taught this by his example, whom I now Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest. To whom thus also the Angel last replied. This having learned, thou hast attained the sum Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers, All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works, Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea, And all the riches of this world enjoyedst, And all the rule, one empire; only add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith, Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love, By name to come called charity, the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess A Paradise within thee, happier far.— Let us descend now therefore from this top Of speculation; for the hour precise Exacts our parting hence; and see the guards, By me encamped on yonder hill, expect Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword, In signal of remove, waves fiercely round: We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve; Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed Portending good, and all her spirits composed To meek submission: thou, at season fit, Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard; Chiefly what may concern her faith to know, The great deliverance by her seed to come (For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind: That ye may live, which will be many days, Both in one faith unanimous, though sad, With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered With meditation on the happy end. He ended, and they both descend the hill; Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked; And thus with words not sad she him received. Whence thou returnest, and whither wentest, I know; For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise, Which he hath sent propitious, some great good Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress Wearied I fell asleep: But now lead on; In me is no delay; with thee to go, Is to stay here; without thee here to stay, Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me Art all things under Heaven, all places thou, Who for my wilful crime art banished hence. This further consolation yet secure I carry hence; though all by me is lost, Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed, By me the Promised Seed shall all restore. So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard Well pleased, but answered not: For now, too nigh The Arch-Angel stood; and, from the other hill To their fixed station, all in bright array The Cherubim descended; on the ground Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist Risen from a river o'er the marish glides, And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel Homeward returning. High in front advanced, The brandished sword of God before them blazed, Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat, And vapour as the Libyan air adust, Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat In either hand the hastening Angel caught Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast To the subjected plain; then disappeared. They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms: Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon; The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide: They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, Through Eden took their solitary way.