Page images

Incurr'd (what could they less ?) the penalty, 15
And manifold in sin, deserved to fall.
Up into Heav'n from Paradise in haste
Th’Angelic guards ascended, mute and sad
For Man; for of his state by this they knew,
Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stolen 20
Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news
From Earth arrived at Heaven-gate, displeased
All were who heard : dim sadness did not spare
That time celestial visages; yet, mix'd
With pity, violated not their bliss.

About the new-arrived, in multitudes
Th' ethereal people ran, to hear and know
How all befell: they tow'rds the throne supreme,
Accountable, made haste to make appear
With righteous plea their utmost vigilance, 30
And easily approved ; when the Most High
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
Amidst in thunder, utter'd thus his voice :

Assembled Angels, and ye Pow'rs return'd From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd 35 Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth, Which your sincerest care could not prevent, Foretold so lately what would come to pass, When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from Hell. I told ye then he should prevail and speed 40 On his bad errand ; Man should be seduced And flatter'd out of all, believing lies Against his Maker; no decree of mine Concurring to necessitate his fall, Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 45 His free-will, to her own inclining left In even scale. But fall'n he is; and now What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass On his transgression, death denounced that day; Which he presumes already vain and void, 50 Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd, By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. Justice shall not return as bounty scoru'd.

21. Mir'd with pity must be read as in a parenthesis, according to Warburton; the idea of angelic sadness thus softened being very just aud beautiful.

But whom send I to judge them? Whom but thee, 55
Vicegerent Son? To thee I have transferr'd
All judgment, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
Man's Friend, his Mediator, his design'd

Both Ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
And destined Man himself to judge Man fall’n.
So spake the Father, and unfolding bright
Tow'rd the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blazed forth unclouded Deity: he full

66 Resplendent all his Father manifest Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild :

Father Eternal, thine is to decree ; Mine, both in Heav'n and Earth, to do thy will Supreme, that thou in me, thy Son beloved, 70 May'st ever rest well pleased. I go to judge On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st, Whoever judged, the worst on me must light, When time shall be, for so I undertook Before thee; and not repenting, this obtain ;

75 Of right, that I may mitigate their doom On me derived; yet I shall temper so Justice with mercy', as may illustrate most Them fully satisfy'd, and thee appease. Attendance none shall need, nor train where none 80 Are to behold the judgment, but the judged, Those two. The third, best absent, is condemn'd, Convict by flight, and rebel to all law Conviction to the serpent none belongs.

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose 85 Of high collat'ral glory': him Thrones and Pow'rs, Princedoms and Dominations ministrant, Accompanied to Heaven-gate ; from whence Eden and all the coast in prospect lay. Down he descended straight: the speed of Gods 90 Time counts not, tho' with swiftest minutes wing'a. Now was the sun in western cadence low From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour

56. John v. 29-27.

59. Ps. Ixxxv. 10. 74. According to Book iii. line 236. 78. Ilustrate most, ahew or prove most clearly.

92. Gen. iii. 6, and following verses.

To fan the earth, now waked, and usher in
The ev'ning cool, when he from wrath more cool, 95
Came the mild Judge and Intercessor both,
To sentence Man. . The voice of God they heard
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds
Brought to their ears, while day declined: they heard,
And from his presence hid themselves among 100
The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God
Approaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud :
Where art thou, Adam ? wont with joy to meet
My coming, seen far off! I miss thee here,
Not pleased, thus entertain'd with solitude, 105
Where obvious duty' erewhile appear'd unsougut:
Or come I less conspicuous ? or what change
Absents thee, or what chance detains ? Come forth.

He came, and with him Eve, more loth, tho' first
T' offend, discount'nanced both, and discomposed : 110
Lore was not in their looks, either to God
Or to each other, but apparent guilt,
And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger, and obstinacy', and hate, and guile.
Whence Adam, falt’ring long, thus answer'd brief:
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice 116
Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom
The gracious Judge, without revile, reply'd :
My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear’d,
But still rejoiced : how is it now become

120 So dreadful to thee? That thou'rt naked, who Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat ?

To whom thus Adam, sore beset, reply'd : O Heav'n! in evil strait this day I stand

126 Before my Judge, either to undergo Myself the total crime, or to accuse My other self, the partner of my life; Whose failing, while her faith to me remains, I should conceal, and not expose to blame 130 By my complaint; but strict necessity Subdues me, and calamitous constraint, Lest on my head both sin and punishment, However insupportable, be all Devolved ; tho', should I hold my peace, yet thou 185 Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.

This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,
So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
That from her hand I could suspect no ill; 10
And what she did, whatever in itself,
Her doing seem'd to justify the deed ;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

To whom the Sov'reign Presence thus reply'd :
Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey 145
Before his voice? or was she made thy guide,
Superior, or but equal, that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
Wherein God set thee 'bove her, made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd 150
Hers in all real dignity? Adorn'd
She was indeed, and lovely to attract
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem d,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part 155
And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.

So having said, he thus to Eve in few:
Say, Woman, what is this which thou hast done?

To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm’d,
Confessing soon, yet not before ber Judge 160
Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd, reply'd :
The Serpent me beguiled, and I did eat.

Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th' accused Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 165 The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation ; justly then accursed, As vitiated in nature : more to know Concern'd not Man (since he no further knew) 170 Nor alter'd his offence; yet Gnd at last To Satan, first in sin, his doom applied, Though in mysterious terms, judged as then best; And on the serpent thus his curse let fall :

156. Person, here used in the sense of the Latin persona, character.

169. Warburton conjectures from this passage that Milton had not the intention when he wrote it, of making Michael give Adam the informatio, on redemption which is found in the xiith book. If it be not so, the passage as he observes is out of place.

Because thou hast done this, thou art accursed 175
Above all cattle, each beast of the field ;
Upon thy belly grov'ling thou shalt go,
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the Woman I will put
Enmity, and between thine and her seed : 180
Her Seed shall bruise thy head; thou bruise his heel.

So spake this Oracle, then verify'd
When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heav'n,
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave, 185
Spoil'd principalities and pow'rs, triumph'd
In open show, and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan long usurp'd ;
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet; 190
E'en he who now foretold his fatal bruise,
And to the Woman thus his sentence turn'd:
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
By thy conception : Children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will 195
Thine shall submit: he over thee shall rule.

On Adam last thus judgment he pronounced : Because thou'st hearken'd to th' voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree, concerning which

199 I charged thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof; Cursed is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life : Thorns also' and thistles it shall bring thee forth Unbid; and thou shalt eat th' herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, 205 Till thou return unto the ground; for tbou Out of the ground wast taken (know thy birth); For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return.

So judged he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, And th' instant stroke of death denounced, that day Removed far off; then pitying how they stood 211 Before him naked to the air, that now Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin Thenceforth the form of servant to assume,

184. There are several allusions to Scripture in this and the following lines, Luke x. 18. Eph. ii. 3. Col. ii. 15. Ps. Ixviii. IA and Rom. xxi. 20.

214. Philip. il. 7.

« PreviousContinue »