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And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune Heav'n, that all
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe!
Me, me only, just object of his ire.

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She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
Immoveable till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
Commiseration. Soon his heart relented
Tow'rds her, his life so late and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress,
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,

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His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid;
As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,

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And thus with peaceful words upraised 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

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His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,

And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If pray'rs

Could alter high decrees, I to that place

Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,

That on my head all might be visited;

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Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,

To me committed, and by me exposed.

But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame

Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive

In offices of love, how we may lighten

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Each other's burden, in our share of woe;

Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see,

Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil,

A long day s dying to augment our pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.

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To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, reply'd: Adam, by sad experiment, I know

How little weight my words with thee can find,
Found so erroneous, thence by just event
Found so unfortunate! nevertheless,
Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain

Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
Tending to some relief of our extremes,
Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
As in our evils, and of easier choice.
If care of our descent perplex us most,

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Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd

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By Death at last; and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery,

Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring

Into this cursed world a woeful race!

That after wretched life, must be at last

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Food for so foul a monster! In thy pow'r

It lies, yet ere conception, to prevent
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.

Childless thou art, childless remain; so Death

Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two

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Be forced to satisfy his rav'nous maw.

But if thou judge it hard and difficult,

Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,

And with desire to languish without hope,

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Before the present object languishing
With like desire, which would be misery
And torment less than none of what we dread,
Then both ourselves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both let us make short;
Let us seek Death, or he not found, supply
With our own hands his office on ourselves.
Why stand we longer shivering under fears,

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That show no end but death, and have the pow'r
Of many ways to die, the shortest choosing,
Destruction with destruction to destroy?
She ended here, or vehement despair

Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
Had entertain'd, as dyed her cheeks with pale.
But Adam with such counsel nothing sway'd:
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied:
Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contemns;
But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes
That excellence thought in thee, and implies,
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
For loss of life and pleasure overloved.
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
Of misery, so thinking to evade

The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God
Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire than so

To be forestall'd: much more I fear lest death
So snatch'd will not exempt us from the pain
We are by doom to pay: rather such acts
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
To make death in us live. Then let us seek
Some safer resolution, which methinks
I have in view, calling to mind with heed
Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise
The Serpent's head. Piteous amends! unless
Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe
Satan, who in the serpent hath contrived
Against us this deceit. To crush his head
Would be revenge indeed: which will be lost

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By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
Resolved, as thou proposest; so our foe

Shall 'scape his punishment ordain'd, and we
Instead, shall double ours upon our heads.

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No more be mention'd then of violence
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
Reluctance against God and his just yoke
Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard and judged,
Without wrath or reviling! We expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought
Was meant by death that day; when lo! to thee
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth; soon recompensed with joy,
Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope
Glanced on the ground. With labour I must earn
My bread. What harm? Idleness had been worse:
My labour will sustain me. And lest cold
Or heat should injure us, his timely care
Hath unbesought provided, and his hands
Cloth'd us, unworthy, pitying while he judged;
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
And teach us farther by what means to shun
Th' inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow!
Which now the sky with various face begins
To show us in this mountain, while the winds
Blow moist and keen, shatt'ring the graceful locks
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumb'd, ere this diurnal star

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Leave cold the night, how we his gather'd beams
Reflected, may with matter sere foment,

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Or, by collision of two bodies, grind

The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds

Justling, or push'd with winds, rude in their shock,

Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driv'n down
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,

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And sends a comfortable heat from far,

Such fire to use,

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Which might supply the sun.

And what may else be remedy or cure

To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him, so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust: our final rest and native home.
What better can we do, than to the place
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
Before him, reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seem'd, and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?

So spake our father penitent: nor Eve
Felt less remorse. They forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell
Before him, reverent, and both confess'd
Humbly their faults, and pardon begg'd, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.

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