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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 grac'd 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 impos'd, Though after sleepless night; for see! the Morn, All unconcern'd 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 enjoin'd Laborious till day droop ; while here we dwell, What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks ? Here let us live, though in fall’n state, content.
So spake, so wish'd much-humbled Eve; but Fate Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impress’d On bird, beast, air ; air suddenly eclips'd, After short blush of morn : nigh in her sight The bird of Jove, stoop'd 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, pursu'd a gentle brace, Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight. Adam observ'd, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmov'd, 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 releas'd
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
He err’d 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 dimm’d Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the angels met
Jacob in Mahanaím, where he saw
The field pavilion'd with his guardians bright;
Nor that, which on the flaming mount appear'd
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 unperceiv'd 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 observ'd; 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; şuch majesty
Invests him coming! yet not terrible,
That I should fear; nor sociably mild,
As Raphaël, 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 flow'd,
Livelier than Melibean, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce ; Iris had dipt 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
Inclin'd not, but his coming thus declar'd.
“ 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 may'st repent, And one bad act with many deeds well done May'st cover : well may then thy Lord, appeas'd, 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.
“ ( 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 Aowers,
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 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
Recovering, and his scatter'd spirits return'd,
To Michael thus his humble words address'd.
“ Celestial, whether among the thrones, or nain'd 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 sha be hid, depriv'd His blessed countenance : here I could frequent With worship place by place where he vouchsaf'd Presence Divine; and to my sons relate, • 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;'