網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

335

His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern fame, the seat
Of mightiest empire, from the destin'd walls
Of Cambalu, scat of Cathain Can,
And Samarchand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
To Pacquin of Sinæan kings, and thence

390
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 Ksar
In Moscow, or the Sultan in Bizance,

395 Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken Th'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

400 Of Congo, and Angola farthest south; Or thence from Niger food to Atlas mount The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez, and Sus, Morocco and Algiers, and Tremisen; On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway 405 The world: in spi'rit 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 remov'd, Which that false fruit that promis'd clearer sight Had bred; then purg'd with euphrasy and ruç

410

The visual nerve, for he had much to see;

415
And from the well of life three drops instill’d.
So deep the pow'r of these ingredients pierc'd,
E'en to the inmost seat of mental sight,
That Adam now enforc'd to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his spi'rits became entranc'd; 420
But him the gentle Angel by the hand
Soon rais'd, and his attention thus recall’d.

ADAM, now ope thine eyes, and first behold
Th' effects which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee, who never touch'd

425
Th' excepted tree, nor with the Snake conspir'd,
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 430 New-reap'd, the other part sheep-walks and folds; ľth’midst an altar as the land-mark stood, Rustic, of grassy sord;

thither anon A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf, 435 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 strow'd, On the cleft wood, and all due rites perform’d. 440 His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven Consum'd with nimble glance, and grateful steam; The other's not, for his was not sincere ; Whereat he inly rag'd, and as they talk'd, Smote him into the midriff with a stone

445

460

That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effus'd.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismay'd, and thus in haste to th’Angel cry'd.

O TEACHER, some great mischief hath befallen 450
To that meek man, who well had sacrific'd;
Is piety thus and pure devo tion paid ?

T'whom Michael thus, he also mov’d, reply'd.
These two are brethren, Adam, and to come
Out of thy loins; th’unjust the just hath slain, 455
For envy that his brother's offering found
From Heav'n acceptance: but the bloody fact
Will be aveng'd, and th' other's faith approv'd
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 !

465
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 th' entrance than within.

470 Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die, By fire, flood, famine, by intemp’rance more In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew Before thee shall appear; that thou may'st know 475 What misery th' inabstinence of Evc

480

485

490

Shall bring on men. Immediately a place
Before his eyes appear'd, sad, noisome, dark,
A lazar house it seem'd, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs,
Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd
With vows, as their chief good and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-ey'd behold ? Adam could not, but wept,
Though not of woman born; compassion quell'd
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrain'd excess ;
And scarce recovering words his plaint renewid.

O MISERABLE mankind, to what fall
Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd!
Petter end here unborn. Why is life given
To be thus wrested from us? Rather why
Obtruded on us thus? Who if we knew
What we receive, would either not accept
Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,
Glad to be so dismiss'd in peace. Can thus

495

500

505

510

Th’image of God in man created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unsightly sufferings be debas'd
Under inhuman pains ? Why should not man,
Retaining still divine similitude
In part, from such deformities be free,
And for his Maker's image sake exempt?

Their Maker's image, answer'd Michael, then 515
Forsook them, when themselves they vilify'd
To serve ungovern'd appetite, and took
His image whom they serv'd, a brutish vice,
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore so abject is their punishment,

320
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own,
Or if his likeness, by themselves defac'd
While they pervert pure nature's heathful rules
To loathsome sickness, worthily, since they
God's image did not reverence in themselves. 525

I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
But is there yet no other way, besides
These painful passages, how we may come
To death, and mix with our connatural dust?

There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
The rule of not too much, by temp’rance taught,
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till

many years over thy head return : So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop 533 Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease Gather’d, not harshly pluck'd, for death mature : This is old age; but then thou must outlive

530

« 上一頁繼續 »