Imatges de pÓgina



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_sidereal 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 Cæcias and Argestes loud
And Thrascias, rend the woods, and seas upturn;
With adverse blasts 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


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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 tossed,
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 height
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, 'Increase and multiply';
Now death to hear ! for what can I increase
Or multiply but curses on my head ?
Who, of all ages to succeed, but, feeling
The evil on him brought by me, will curse
My head ? Ill fare our ancestor impure !
For this we may thank Adam !' but his thanks
Shall be the execration. So, besides
Mine own that bide upon me, all from me
Shall with a fierce reflux on me redound-
On me, as on their natural centre, light;
Heavy, though in their place. O fleeting joys
Of Paradise, dear bought with lasting woes !
Did I request Thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me man? Did I solicit Thee
From darkness to promote me, or here place
In this delicious garden? As my will
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



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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

780 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 hath neither.
All of me, then, shall die : let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For, though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is His wrath also ? Be it, man is not so,
But mortal 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
Are found eternal, and incorporate both :
Nor I on my part single; in me all
Posterity stands cursed. Fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, sons! Oh, were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !
So disinherited, how would ye bless
Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind,
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemned ?
If guiltless! But from me what can proceed
But all corrupt—both mind and will depraved





Not to do only, but to will the same
With me? How can they, then, acquitted stand
In sight of God ? Him, after all disputes,
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 I couldst thou support
That burden, heavier than the earth to bear-
Than all the world much heavier, though divided
With that bad woman? Thus, what thou desir'st,
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and future-
To Satan only like, both crime and doom.
O Conscience ! into what abyss of fears
And horrors hast thou 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 terror. 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."



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