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Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought

Horrid, if true!

Yet why? It was but breath Of life that sinn'd: what dies but what had life And sin? The body properly hath neither. All of me then shall die: let this appease

The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite,

Is his wrath also? Be it, man is not so,
But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise

Wrath without end on man whom death must end?
Can he make deathless death? that were to make
Strange contradiction, which to God himself
Impossible is held, as argument

Of weakness, not of power.

Will he draw out,

For anger's sake, finite to infinite

In punish'd man, to satisfy his rigour,
Satisfied never? That were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law,
By which all causes else according still
To the reception of their matter act,

Not to th' extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I suppos'd,
Bereaving sense, but endless misery

From this day onward, which I feel begun
Both in me, and without me, and so last
To perpetuity; ay me! that fear

Comes thund'ring back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head; both Death and I
Am found eternal, and incorporate both;

Nor I on my part single, in me all

Posterity stands curs'd: fair patrimony

That I must leave ye, sons!

O were I able

To waste it all myself and leave ye none!
So disinherited, how would ye bless

Me, now your curse! Ab! why should all mankind
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd,
If guiltless? But from me what can proceed,
But all corrupt, both mind and will deprav'd,
Not to do only, but to will the same

With me? How can they then acquitted stand

In sight of God? Him after all disputes
Forc'd I absolve: all my evasions vain,
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
But to my own conviction: first and last

Ou me, the only, as the source and spring
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;
So might the wrath. Fond wish! couldst thou

That burden, heavier than the earth to bear,
Than all the world much heavier, though divided
With that bad woman? Thus what thou desir'st,
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and future,

To Satan only like both crime and doom.

O conscience, into what abyss of fears

And horrors hast thou driven me! out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!"
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud

Through the still night, not now, as ere man fell,
Wholesome and cool, and mild, but with black air
Accompanied, with damps and dreadful gloom;
Which to his evil conscience represented
All things with double terror. On the ground
Outstretch'd be lay, on the cold ground, and oft
Curs'd his creation, 'eath as oft accus'd
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd


The day of his offence. Why comes not death,"
Said he, "with one thrice-acceptable stroke
To end me? Shall truth fail to keep her word,
Justice divine not hasten to be just?

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But death comes not at all, justice divine
Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers!
With other echo late I taught your shades
To answer, and resound far other song.'
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd;
But her with stern regard he thus repell'd:


Out of my sight, thou serpent! that name best

Befits thee, with him leagu'd, thyself as false
Aud hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show

Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee
I had persisted happy', had not thy pride
And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen,
Though by the Devil himself; him overweening
To over-reach; but with the serpent meeting
Fool'd and beguil'd; by him thou, I by thee,
To trust thee from my side; imagin'd wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,
And understood not all was but a show
Rather than solid virtue', all but a rib
Crook'd by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister, from me drawn,
Well if thrown out as supernumerary
To my just number found. O! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With men as angels without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate

Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen,
And more that shall befall; innumerable
Disturbances on earth through female snares,
And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary', his hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause

To human life, and household peace confound,*

IIe added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve, Not so repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

Fell bumble, and embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:
"Forsake me not thus Adam; witness heaven
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv'd. Thy suppliant

I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,
My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee,
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
Between us two let there be peace; both joining,
As join'd in injuries, one enmity

Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel serpent. On me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befallen,
On me already lost! me than thyself

More miserable! Both have sinn'd; but thou,
Against God only', I against God and thee,
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune heaven, that all
The sentence from thy head remov'd, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,
Me, me only, just object of his ire!"

She ended weeping, and her lowly plight,
Immoveable till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledg'd, and deplor'd, 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,
His counsel whom she had displeas'd, his aid.
As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,

And thus with peaceful words uprais'd 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

His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part, And my displeasure bear'st so ill.

If prayers

Could alter high decrees, I to that place

Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited,
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
To me committed and by me expos'd.

But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame
Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere; but strive,
In offices of love, how we may lighten

Each other's burden, in our share of woe;
Since this day's death denounc'd, if ought I see
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac'd evil,
A long day's dying to augment our pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) deriv'd."

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart replied; "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,
Restor❜d 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,
Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
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
Food for so foul a monster; in thy power
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
The race unbless'd, to being yet unbegot.
Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
Shall be deceiv'd his glut, and with us two

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