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The source of life; next favorable thou,
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsafest,
Far other name deserving. But the field
To labor calls us, now with sweat imposed,
Though after sleepless night; for see! the Morn,
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress, smiling. Let us forth,
I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoined
Laborious till day droop. While here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks ?
Here let us live, though in fallen state, content.
So spake, so wished, much-humbled Eve; but fate
Subscribed not. Nature first gave signs, impressed
On bird, beast, air — air suddenly eclipsed,
After short blush of morn. Nigh, in her sight,
The bird of Jove, stooped from his aery tour,
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove;
Down from a hill, the beast that reigns in woods,
First hunter then, pursued a gentle brace,
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind;
Direct to the eastern gate was bent their flight.
Adam observed, and, with his eye the chase
Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake':
O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heaven, by these mute signs in Nature, shows, Forerunners of His purpose; or to warn Us, haply too secure of our discharge From penalty, because from death released Some days; how long, and what 'till then our life, Who knows? or more than this, that we are dust, And thither must return, and be no more? Why else this double object in our sight, Of fight pursued in the air, and o'er the ground, One way the self-same hour? Why, in the east, Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,
And slow descends with something heavenly fraught?
He erred not; for, by this, the heavenly bands
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt;
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilioned with his guardians bright;
Nor that which on the flaming mount appeared
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise
One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
War unproclaimed. The princely hierarch
In their bright stand there left his Powers, to seize
Possession of the garden. He alone,
To find where Adam sheltered, took his way,
Not unperceived of Adam ; who to Eve,
While the great visitant approached, thus spake:
Eve, now expect great tidings, which, perhaps,
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observed; for I descry,
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill,
One of the heavenly host, and, by his gait,
None of the meanest; some great Potentate,
Or of the Thrones above, such majesty
Invests his coming; yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime; whom, not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man. Over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple fowed,
Livelier than Meliboean, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce: Iris had dipt the woof.
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
As in a glistening zodiac, hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bowed low. He, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared :
Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs :
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure many days,
Given thee of grace, wherein thou mayst repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayst cover: well may, then, thy Lord, appeased,
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim.
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not. To remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth, to till
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.
He added not; for Adam, at the news Heart-struck, with chilling gripe of sorrow stood, That all his senses bound: Eve, who urrseen, Yet all had heard, with audible lament Discovered soon the place of her retire :
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave Thee, native soill these happy walks and shades, Fit haunt of gods ? where I had hope to spend, Quie:, though sad, the respite of that day That must be mortal to us both ?. O flowers, That never will in other climate grow, My early visitation, and my last At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names !
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild? How shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits ?
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild;
Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost, nor set thy heart.
Thus over fond, on that which is not thine.
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil.
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned, To Michael thus his humble words addressed:
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named Of them the Highest, for such of shape may seem Prince above princes! gently hast thou told Thy message, which might else in telling wound, And, in performing, end us. What besides Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring, Departure from this happy place — our sweet Recess, and only consolation left Familiar to our eyes — all places else Inhospitable appear, and desolate, Not knowing us, nor known: and if, by prayer Incessant, I could hope to change the will Of Him who all things can, I would not cease To weary Him with my assiduous cries. But prayer against his absolute decree No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth.
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me; that, departing hence,
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived
His blessed countenance. Here I could frequent,
With worship, place by place where He vouchsafed
Presence Divine, and to my sons relate,
On this mount He appeared; under this tree
Stood visible; among these pines his voice
I heard; here with Him at this fountain talked.
So many grateful altars I would rear
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory
Or monument to ages, and thereon
Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers.
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace ?
For though I fled him angry, yet, recalled
To life prolonged and promised race, I now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory, and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael, with regard benign:
Adam, thou knowest Heaven his, and all the earth;
Not this rock only. His omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power, and warmed.
All the earth He gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift. Surmise not then,
His presence to these narrow bounds confined
Of Paradise, or Eden; this had been
Perhaps, thy capital seat, from whence had spread,
All generations, and had hither come,
From all the ends of the earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee, their great progenitor,
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons.