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That death be not one stroke, as I suppos'd,
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 curs'd: fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, sons! O, were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !
So disinherited, how would you bless
Me, now your curse! Ah, why should all mankind,
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd,
If guiltless? But from me what can proceed,
But all corrupt; both mind and will deprav'd
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,
Forc'd 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! 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 horrours hast thou driven me; out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!"
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 terrour: on the ground
Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground; and oft
Curs'd his creation; Death as oft accus'd
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd

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.'
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd:
But her with stern regard he thus repell'd.

"Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name best
Befits thee with him leagu'd, thyself as false
And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended

To hellish falsehood, snare them! But for thee
I had persisted happy; had not thy pride
And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,
Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguil'd; by him thou, I by thee,
To trust thee from my side; imagin'd wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults;
And understood not all was but a show
Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
To my just number found. O! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on Earth, this fair defect
Of Nature, and not fill the world at once
With men, as angels, without feminine;
Or find some other way to generate

Mankind? This mischief had not then befall'n,
And more that shall befall;
Disturbances on Earth through female snares,
And straight conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late

Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound

To a fell adversary, his hate or shame :
Which infinite calamity shall cause

To human life, and household peace confound."

He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve, Not so repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

"Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heaven
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv'd! Thy suppliant

beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not, Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid, Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress, My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee, Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, Between us two let there be peace; both joining, As join'd in injuries, one enmity Against a foe by doom express assign'd us, That cruel serpent: on me exercise not Thy hatred for this misery befall'n; On me already lost, me than thyself More miserable! Both have sinn'd; but thou Against God only; I against God and thee; And to the place of judgment will return, There with my crimes impórtune Heaven; that all The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe;
Me, me only, just object of his ire !"

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
Immoveable, till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledg'd and deplor'd, in Adam wrought
Commiseration: soon his heart relented
Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress;
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel, whom she had displeas'd, his aid:
As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,

And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon. "Unwary, and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou know'st not, who desir❜st

The punishment all on thyself; alas!

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain

His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers
Could alter high decrees, I to that place
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited;

Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,

To me committed, and by me expos'd.

But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere; but strive In offices of love, how we may lighten

Each other's burthen, in our share of woe;
Since this day's death denounc'd, if aught I see,
Will prove no sudden, but a slow pac'd, evil;
A long day's dying to augment our pain
And to our seed (O hapless seed !) deriv'd."

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied. "Adam, by sad experiment I know

How little weight my words with thee can find,

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