Imatges de pÓgina

When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from hell.
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed
On his bad errand, man should be seduced
And flatter'd out of all, believing lies
Against his Maker; no decree of mine
Concurring to necessitate his fall,

Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
His free-will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen he is, and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression, death denounced that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void,
Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd,

By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end.
Justice shall not return as bounty scorn'd.

But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee,
Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferr'd

All judgment, whether in heaven, or earth, or hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend

Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee,
Man's Friend, his Mediator, his design'd
Both Ransom and Redeemer voluntary,

And, destined Man himself, to judge man fallen.
So spake the Father, and, unfolding bright
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blazed forth unclouded deity; he full
Resplendent all his Father manifest
Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild :
Father Eternal, thine is to decree;

Mine, both in heaven and earth, to do thy will
Supreme, that thou in me thy Son beloved
Mayst ever rest well pleased. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st,
Whoever judged, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be, for so I undertook
Before thee, and, not repenting, this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me derived; yet shall temper so
Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most
Them fully satisfied, and thee appease.

Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none

Are to behold the judgment, but the judged,
Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd,
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law,

Conviction to the serpent none belongs.

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose

Of high collateral glory: him thrones and powers, Princedoms and dominations ministrant

Accompanied to heaven-gate, from whence

Eden and all the coast in prospect lay.

Down he descended straight; the speed of gods

Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing'd. Now was the sun in western cadence low

From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,

To fan the earth now waked, and usher in

The evening cool, when he from wrath more cool
Came, the mild Judge and Intercessor both,
To sentence man: the voice of God they heard
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds

Brought to their ears, while day declined; they heard,
And from his presence hid themselves among
The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God
Approaching thus to Adam call'd aloud :

Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet
My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,
Not pleased, thus entertain'd with solitude,
Where obvious duty erewhile appear'd unsought:
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth!
He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though first
To offend, discountenanced both, and discomposed.
Love was not in their looks, either to God
Or to each other, but apparent guilt,

And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.

Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answer'd brief:
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice
Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom
The gracious Judge without revile replied:

My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not

But still rejoiced; how is it now become

So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who
Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree

Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?
To whom thus Adam sore beset replied:

O heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
Before my Judge, either to undergo
Myself the total crime, or to accuse
My other self, the partner of my life;
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
I should conceal, and not expose to blame
By my complaint; but strict necessity
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,

Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
However insupportable, be all

Devolved though, should I hold my peace, yet thou

Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.

This woman, whom thou madest to be my help,

And gavest me as thy perfect gift, so good,

So fit, so acceptable, so divine,

That from her hand I could suspect no ill,

And what she did, whatever in itself,

Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

To whom the sovereign Presence thus replied:
Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
Superior, or but equal, that to her

Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
Wherein God set thee above her, made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Hers in all real dignity? Adorn'd
She was indeed, and lovely to attract
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem'd,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part
And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.

So having said, he thus to Eve in few :
Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd replied: The serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on the accused Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accursed, As vitiated in nature: more to know Concern'd not man, since he no further knew, Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied, Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best; And on the serpent thus his curse let fall:

Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed
Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go,
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the woman I will put
Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
So spake this oracle, then verified

When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from heaven,
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave,
Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd
In open show, and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan, long usurp'd,
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Even he who now foretold his fatal bruise;
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd:
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply



By thy conception; children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth, and to thy husband's will
Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced: Because thou hast hearken'd to the voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree concerning which

I charged thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat thereof, Cursed is the ground for thy sake, thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth
Unbid, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field •
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
Out of the ground wast taken; know thy birth,
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.

So judged he man, both Judge and Saviour sent;
And the instant stroke of death, denounced that day,
Removed far off; then pitying how they stood
Before him, naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, 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 reassumed
In glory as of old; to him appeased

All, though all-knowing, what had past with man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.

Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judged on earth,
Within the gates of hell sat Sin and Death,
In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the fiend pass'd through,
Sin opening, who thus now to Death began:

O son, why sit we here, each other viewing
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
In other worlds, and happier seat provides
For us his offspring dear? It cannot be
But that success attends him; if mishap,
Ere this he had 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,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
By this new-felt attraction and instinct.

Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon:
Go whither fate and inclination strong
Lead thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err,
The way thou leading, such a scent I draw
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
The savour of death from all things there that live;
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest

Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.

So saying, with delight he 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, lured
With scent of living carcases design'd

For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
So scented the grim feature, and upturn'd
His nostril wide into the murky air
Sagacious of his quarry from so far.

Then both, from out hell-gates, into the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,

Flew diverse; and with power, their power was great,
Hovering upon the waters, what they met

Solid or slimy, as in raging sea

Toss'd up and down, together crowded drove
From each side shoaling towards the mouth of hell.
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagined way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace 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,

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