網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

So counsell'd he, and both together went Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose The fig-tree; not that kind for fruit renown'd, But such as at this day, to Indians known, In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms Branching so broad and long, that in the ground The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade High over-arch'd, and echoing walks between: There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds At loop-holes cut through thickest shade: those leaves

They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe;
And, with what skill they had, together sew'd,
To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame! O, how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found the American, so girt
With feather'd cincture; naked else, and wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores. [part
Thus fenc'd, and, as they thought, their shame in
Cover'd, but not at rest or ease of mind,

They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Rain'd at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord; and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
For Understanding rul'd not, and the Will
Heard not her lore; both in subjection now
To Sensual Appetite, who from beneath

VOL. II.

E

[ocr errors]

Usurping over sovran Reason claim'd
Superior sway: from thus distemper'd breast,
Adam, estrang'd in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd.

[staid
"Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,
I know not whence possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy; not, as now, despoil'd
Of all our good; sham'd, naked, miserable!
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail."

To whom, soon mov'd with touch of blame, thus
Eve.

"What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam severe ! Imput'st thou that to my default, or will

Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows
But might as ill have happen'd thou being by,
Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there,
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discern'd
Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake;
No ground of enmity between us known,
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
Was I to have never parted from thy side?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head,
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou saidst?
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay;
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me."

To whom, then first incens'd, Adam replied. "Is this the love, is this the recompense Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve! Express'd Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I; Who might have liv'd, and joy'd immortal bliss, Yet willingly chose rather death with thee? And am I now upbraided as the cause Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe, It seems, in thy restraint: what could I more? I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold The danger, and the lurking enemy That lay in wait; beyond this had been force; And force upon free-will hath here no place. But confidence then bore thee on; secure Either to meet no danger, or to find Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps I also err'd, in overmuch admiring What seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue That errour now, which is become my crime, And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall Him, who, to worth in women overtrusting, Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook ; And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue, She first his weak indulgence will accuse. Thus they in mutual accusation spent The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning, And of their vain contést appear'd no end.

[ocr errors]

Book X.

The Argument.

Man's transgression known; the guardian-angels forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to approve their vigilance, and are approved; God declaring that the entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the transgressors, who descends and gives sentence accordingly; then in pity clothes them both, and re-ascends. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the gates of Hell, by wonderous sympathy feeling the success of Satan in this new world, and the Sin by Man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in Hell, but to follow Satan their sire up to the place of Man: to make the way easier from Hell to this world to and fro, they pave a broad highway or bridge over Chaos, according to the track that Satan first made; then, preparing for Earth, they meet him, proud of his success, returning to Hell; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium, in full assembly relates with boasting his success against Man; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed with himself also suddenly into serpents according to his doom given in Paradise; then, deluded with a show of the forbidden tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew dust

[ocr errors]

and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but for the present, commands his angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and elements. Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bewails, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases him: then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he approves not; but, conceiving better hope, puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the serpent; and exhorts her with him to seek peace of the offended Deity, by repentance and supplication.

MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satan done in Paradise; and how
He, in the serpent, had perverted Eve,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
Was known in Heaven; for what can 'scape the eye
Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind

Of Man, with strength entire, and free-will, arm'd;
Complete to have discover'd and repuls'd
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.

For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'd,

The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,
Whoever tempted; which they not obeying
Incurr'd (what could they less?) the penalty;

« 上一頁繼續 »