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Th' ethereal people ran, to hear and know
How all befell: they towards the throne supreme
Accountable, made haste to make appear
With righteous plea their utmost vigilance,
And easily approv'd; when the most high
Eternal Father from his secret cloud
Amidst in thunder utter'd thus his voice.
Assembled angels, and ye powers return'd
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd,
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
On his bad errand; man should be seduc'd
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
His free will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen he is; and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression, death denounc'd that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void,
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 scorn'd.
But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee 55
Vicegerent Son; to thee I have transferr'd
All judgment, whether in heaven, 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 destin'd man himself to judge man fallen.
So spake the Father, and, unfolding bright
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blaz'd forth unclouded Deity; he full
Resplendent all his Father manifest
Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild.
Father eternal, thine is to decree;
Mine both in heaven and earth to do thy will
Supreme, that thou in me thy Son belov'd
May'st ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st,
Whoever judg'd, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be, for so I undertook
Before thee, and not repenting this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me deriv'd; 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
Are to behold the judgment, but the judg'd,
Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd,
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law;
Conviction to the serpent none belongs.
58 may] The second edition, and others, give, Easy it might be seen.'
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose Of high collateral glory: him thrones and powers, Princedoms and dominations ministrant
Accompany'd 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'd.
Now was the sun in western cadence low
From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour
To fan the earth now wak'd, 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 declin'd, they heard,
And from his presence hid themselves among
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 pleas'd, thus entertain'd with solitude, Where obvious duty erewhile appear'd unsought:
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.' Steevens.
103 Where art thou] See A. Ramsæi Poem. Sacr. vol. i. p. 35. vocisque volutat imago,
Per nemus ingeminans, Adam! Adam! quæ loca, quæ te
Terrarumque tenent sedes? Commercia nostra
Congressusque fugis? Silvis quid te abdis opacis ?'
86 collateral] Shakesp. All's Well that Ends Well, act i. scene i 'In his bright radiance and collateral light,
Or come I less conspicuous? or what change Absents thee, or what chance detains? Come forth. He came, and with him Eve, more loth, though first
To offend, discountenanc'd both, and discompos'd.
Love was not in their looks, either to GOD
Or to each other, but apparent guilt,
116 I heard] So in Grotii Adamus Exsul, 'Audivi truces,
And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger, and obstinacy, and hate, and guile.
Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answer'd brief.
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice.
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 rejoic'd; how is it now become
So dreadful to thee? that thou art 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 heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
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
Metuende rector! per nemus sacrum sonos'
membra concussit pavor
By my complaint; but strict necessity
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,
Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
However insupportable, be all
Devolv'd: though should I hold my peace, yet thou
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,
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 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 above her, made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
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,
137 This woman] Consortem dederas thalami; per te dotale venenum
Hoc ego concepi. Nam quæ mihi lege jugali
Juncta fuit, nostro per te dignata cubili,
Blanditiis teneris nostris amplexibus hærens,
Ferales epulas, inimicaque fercula suasit.'