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From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact Will be avenged, and the other's faith, approved, Lose no reward, though here thou see him die, Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire:

Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause! But have I now seen death? Is this the way I must return to native dust? O sight Of terror, foul and ugly to behold! Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!

To whom thus Michael: Death thou hast seen
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead
To his grim cave; all dismal, yet to sense
More terrible at the entrance than within,
Some, as thou sawest, by violent stroke shall die;
By fire, flood, famine; by intemperance more
In meats and drinks, which on earth shall bring
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear, that thou mayst know
What misery the inabstinence of Eve
Shall bring on man. Immediately a place
Before his eyes appeared, sad, noisome, dark,
A lazar-house it seemed, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseased; all maladies

Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone and ulcer, cholic pangs,
Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy,
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;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delayed 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,
Though not of woman born; compassion quelled
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrained excess;
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint renewed:
O miserable mankind, to what fall

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
Life offered, or soon beg to lay it down,
Glad to be so dismissed in peace. Can thus
The image of God in man, created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unsightly sufferings be debased
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.

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Their Maker's image, answered Michael, ther Forsook them, when themselves they vilified To serve ungoverned appetite, and took His image whom they served, a brutish vice, Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve. Therefore so abject is their punishment, Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; Or, if His likeness, by themselves defaced; While they pervert pure nature's healthful rules To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they God's image did not reverence in themselves. I yield it just, said Adam, and submit: But is there yet no other way, besides These painful passages, how w may come


To death, and mix with our connatural dust?

There is, said Michael, if thou well observe The rule of: Not too much-by temperance taught, In what thou eat'st and drink'st; seeking from thence Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight.

Till many years over thy head return,

So mayst thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop

Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease

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Gathered, nor harshly plucked, for death mature.

This is old age; but, then, thou must outlive

Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will change
To withered, weak, and gray; thy senses then,
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego.

To what thou hast; and for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry,
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor :

Henceforth I fly not Death, nor would prolong
Life much; bent, rather, how I may be quit,
Fairest and easiest, of this cumbrous charge,
Which I must keep till my appointed day
Of rendering up, and patiently attend.

My dissolution. Michael replied:

Nor love thy life, nor hate, but what thou livest Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven. And now prepare thee for another sight.

He looked, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Were tents of various hues. 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
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


Laboring, two massy clods of iron and brass
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 washed by stream
From under ground. The liquid ore he drained
Into fit molds prepared, from which he formed

First, his own tools, then, what might else be wrought
Fusil or graven in metal. After these,

But on the hither side, a different sort,

From the high neighboring hills, which was their seat,
Down to the plain descended; by their guise
Just men they seemed, 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

Long had not walked, when from the tents, behold

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A bevy of fair women, richly gay

In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung

Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on.

The men, though grave, eyed them, and let their eyes
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net

Fast caught, they liked, and each his liking chose.
And now of love they treat, till the evening star,
Love's harbinger, appeared; then, all in heat,
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invoked;
With feast and music all the tents resound.

Such happy interview, and fair event
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers,
And charming symphonies, attached the heart

Of Adam, soon inclined to admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus expressed:

True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest,
Much better seems this vision, and more hope
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past;


Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse: Here nature seems fulfilled 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

Holy and pure, conformity divine

Those tents thou sawest 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,
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 sawest, that seemed
Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
Yet empty of all good, wherein consists
Woman's domestic honor and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetance, to sing, to dance,

To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye:
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,
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
Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread
Paths indirect, or in the midway faint!
But still I see the tenor of man's woe

Holds on the same, from woman to begin.

From man's effeminate slackness it begins, Said the angel, who should better hold his place By wisdom and superior gifts received.

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