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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;
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Usurping over sovran Reason claim'd
To whom, soon mov'd with touch of blame, thus
"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
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.
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
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 Man, with strength entire, and free-will, arm'd;
For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'd,
The high injunction, not to taste that fruit,