Imatges de pÓgina

In Dothan, cover'd with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise
One man, assassin-like had levied war,
War unproclaim'd. The princely hierarch
In their bright stand there left his powers to seize
Possession of the garden; he alone,

To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way,
Not unperceived of Adam, who to Eve,

While the great visitant approach'd, 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 archangel soon drew nigh, Not in his shape celestial, but as man

Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flow'd,
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipp'd the woof;
His starry helm unbuckled show'd him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bow'd 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 seizure many days,

Given thee of grace, wherein thou mayst repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayst 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
Discover'd 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 adorn'd
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, accustom'd 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, him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil.
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
To Michael thus his humble words address'd:
and his scatter'd spirits return'd,
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,
Presence Divine, and to my sons relate,
With worship, place by place, where he vouchsafed
On this mount he appear'd, under this tree

Stood visible, among these pines his voice

I heard, here with him at this fountain talk'd:
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 thereon

Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers.
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace?
For though I fled him angry, yet, recall'd
To life prolong'd 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 know'st 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 warm'd:
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 mayst believe, and be confirm'd
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 drench'd her eyes,
Here sleep below, while thou to foresight wakest,
As once thou slept'st, while she to life was form’d.
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied:
Ascend, I follow thee, safe guide, the path
Thou lead'st 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,
Stretch'd 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 Samarcand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
To Paquin of Sinaan 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 Czar

In Moscow, 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 maritime 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 Almanzor, Fez, and Sus,
Morocco, and Algiers, and Tremisen;
Or 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 unspoil'd
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,




then purged with euphrasy and rue

The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
And from the well of life three drops instill'd.

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 recall'd:


now ope thine eyes, and first behold
effects which thy original crime hath wrought

In some to spring from thee, who never touch'd
The excepted tree, nor with the snake conspired,
Nor sinn'd thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds.
His eyes he open'd, and beheld a field,
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
New-reap'd; the other part, sheep-walks and folds;
In the midst an altar as the land-mark stood,
Rustic, of grassy sward; thither anon

A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First-fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf,
Uncull'd, 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 strew'd,
On the cleft wood, and all due rites perform'd:
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 talk'd,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone
That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effused.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismay'd, 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 terror, 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 saw'st, 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 mayst know
What misery the inabstinence of Eve

« AnteriorContinua »