« PreviousContinue »
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part hadst thou known thyself aright.
So having said, he thus to Eve in few: Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done?
To whom sad Eve with shame nigh overwhelm'd, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd reply'd. The serpent me beguil'd, and I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th' accus'd Serpent though brute; unable to transfer The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accurs'd, As vitiated in nature: more to know Concern'd not man, (since he no further knew,) 170 Nor alter'd his offence: yet God at last To Satan first in sin his doom apply'd, Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best: And on the serpent thus his curse let fall.
Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd 175 Above all cattle, each beast of the field; Upon thy belly groveling thou shalt go,
155 thy part] A pure Latinism, the personæ dramatis. So Cic. pro Mur. c. 2. Has partes lenitatis et misericordiæ, quas me Natura ipsa docuit, semper ago libenter: illam vero gravitatis, severitatis personam non appetivi.' Richardson.
157 in few] So K. Hen. IV. P. ii. act i. s. 1.
'In few; his death, whose spirit lent a fire.'
and Warner's Alb. Engl. 1608, p. 40.
'In few; the wars are full of woes.' Todd.
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel.
So spake this oracle, then verify'd
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall like lightning down from heaven,
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd. Because thou hast hearken'd to the voice of thy wife, And eaten of the tree concerning which
I charg'd thee, saying: Thou shalt not eat thereof,
Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,
So judg'd he man, both Judge and Saviour sent;
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
In glory as of old; to him appeas'd
All, though all-knowing, what had past with man Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on earth,
Within the gates of hell sat Sin and Death, 230 In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
232 belching] Spens. F. Q. i. xi. 44.
'As burning Etna from his boyling stew
Doth belch out flames.'
Far into Chaos, since the fiend pass'd through,
O son, why sit we here, each other viewing
For Death from Sin no power can separate.
Advent'rous work, yet to thy power and mine
Over this main from hell to that new world
Of merit high to all th' infernal host,
249 shade] Shade' used in the same manner in class. authors. Hor.
Sat. ii. 8. 22.
'quos Mæcenas adduxerat umbras! Newton.
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon.
The savour of death from all things there that live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid.
So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell
Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd
For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
266 err] Newton has thus pointed the text:
'I shall not lag behind, nor err
The way, thou leading.'
Well may he call it a remarkable expression; but it should thus be stopt:
'I shall not lag behind, nor err,
The way thou leading.'
This error is retained in Mr. Todd's edition. It is, however, proper to observe, that the punctuation of Milton's own editions agrees with Newton's.
268 innumerable] Exuberant.' Bentl. MS.