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Before his eyes appear’d, sad, noisome, dart,
485 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; 490 And over them triumphant Death his dart Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invoked With vows, as their chief good and final hope. Sight so deform, what heart of rock could long Dry-eyed behold! Adam could not, but wept, 493 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 recov'ring words, his plaint reuew'd. O miserable mankind! to what fall
500 Degraded ! to what wretched state reserved ! Better 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 505 Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down, Glad to be so dismiss'd in peace. Can thus The image of God, in man created once So goodly and erect, though faulty since, To such unsightly suff'rings be debased
510 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
517. There is a considerable error, I imagine, in the ideas thus pot into the mouth of Michael. By supposing Eve swayed, a here said, by a brutisk vice, the colisequences of the fall and the
His image whom they served (a brutish vice)
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
There is, said Michael, if thou well observe 530
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong Life much, bent rather how I may be quit, Fairest and easiest, of this cumb'rous charge, Which I must keep till my appointed day 550 Of rend'ring up, and patiently attend My dissolution. Michael replied:
corruption which it produced are anticipated. There is not sufficient authority in Scripture this strong introduction of low sensual feeling, as the whole passage in which the fall is related turns upon the strong desire felt by Eve to become as the gods, accomplished in the knowledge of good and evil. I mi a little surprised Milton's commentators have not remarked this. See Gen. iii. 5, 6.
$52. In the first edition it was, of rendering up, Michael to krm replied.
Nor love thy life, nor hate ; but what thou liv'st
; Live well; how long or short permit to Heav'n. And now prepare thee for another sight. 558
He look'd, and saw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue: by some were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound Of instruments that made melodious chime Was heard, of harp and organ, and who moved 560 Their stops and chords, was seen. His volant touch Instinct, through all proportions low and high, Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue. In other part stood one who, at the forge Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass 565 Had melted (whether found where casual fire Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot To some cave's mouth, or whether wash'd by stream From under ground): the liquid ore he drain'd 570 Into fit moulds prepared ; from which he furm'd First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought Fusile, or grav’n in metal. After these, But on the hither side, a different sort From the high neighb'ring hills, which was their seat, Down to the plain descended. By their guise, 576 Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent To worship God aright, and know his works Not hid, nor those things last which might preserve Freedom and peace to men. They on the plain 580 Long had not walk'd, when from the tents, behold, A bevy of fair women, richly gay In gems and wanton dress. To th' harp they sung Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on.
tho' grave, eyed them, and let their eyes 586 Rove without rein, till in the amorous net Fast caught, they liked, and each his liking chose :
557. Gen. iv. 20-22. 573. Fusil, cast in moulds. The account of the descendants of Seth is partly derived from Scripture, and partly from other
582. In allusion to the union mentioned in Scripture, which the sons of God, or the descendants of his true worshippers, formed with the daughters of Cain's posterity. See Gen. vi. 1, 2. That the sons of God meant celestial beings, an idea once supported by some divines, and that on which Mr. Moore has founded his poem of the Loves of the Angels, has been long ago an exploded supposition.
And now of love they treat, till tu' ev'ning star,
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest, Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past: 600 Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse : Here Nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael : Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet, Created, as thou art, to nobler end,
605 Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother. Studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventors rare,
610 Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none : Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 615 Yet empty of all good, wherein consists Woman's domestic honour and chief praise ; Bred only and completed to the taste Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye. 620 To these that sober race of men, whose lives Religious, titled them the sons of God, Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame, Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles Of these fair atheists, and now swim in joy, 025 Ere long to swim at large; and laugh, for which The world ere long a world of tears must weep.
To whom thus Adam (of short joy bereft): O pity' and shame, that they who to live well
614. For that; As for that.
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread 630
From Man's effeminate slackness it begins,
He look'd, and saw wide territory spread Before him ; towns and rural works between, Cities of men, with lofty gates and tow'rs, 640 Concourse in arms, fierce faces threat'ning war, Giants of migbty bone, and bold emprise : Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle ranged Both horse and foot; nor idly must'ring stood. 643 One way a band select, from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, From a fat meadow-ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty. Scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650 But call in aid ; which makes a bloody fray. With cruel tournament the squadrons join : Where cattle pastured late, now scatter'd lies With carcases and arms th' insanguined field Deserted. Others, to a city strong
655 Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and mine, Assaulting: others, from the wall, defend With dart and javelin, stones and sulph'rous fire: On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. In other part the scepter'd heralds call
600 To council in the city gates. Anon Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mix'd, Assemble, and harangues are heard ; but soon In factious opposition, till at last Of middle age one rising, eminent
645. Nor idly must'ring stood: there is supposed to be an allusion here, and in one or two other similar lines, to the situation of the English army at the time Milton was writing.
660. There are several imitations of Homer in this description. Iliad, xviii.
661. The judges are described in Scripture as sitting in the gates of the cities. Gen. xxxiv. 20. Zech. viii. 16, &c. 665. Of middle age, as the years of life were then numbered, Enoch was 365 years old when translated, Gen. v. 23.