« PreviousContinue »
Happier, had it sufficed him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not all.
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite,
My motions in him. Longer than they move,
His heart I know, how variable and vain
Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,
And live for ever (dream at least to live
For ever) to remove him I decree,
And send him from the garden forth to till
The ground whence he was taken: fitter soil.
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge:
Take to thee from among the Cherubim
Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend,
Or in behalf of Man, or to invade
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise.
Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God,
Without remorse, drive out the sinful pair
(From hallow'd ground th' unholy), and denounce
To them and to their progeny, from thence
Perpetual banishment. Yet, lest they faint
At the sad sentence rigorously urged,
For I behold them soften'd, and with tears
Bewailing their excess, all terror hide.
If patiently thy bidding they obey,
Dismiss them not disconsolate. Reveal
To Adam what shall come in future days,
As I shall thee enlighten. Intermix
My cov'nant in the Woman's seed renew'd;
So send them forth, tho' sorrowing, yet in peace:
And on the east side of the garden place,
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs,
Cherubic watch, and of a sword the flame
Wide-waving, all approach far off to fright,
And guard all passage to the tree of life,
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
To spirits foul, and all my trees their prey,
With whose stol'n fruit Man once more to delude.
He ceased; and th' Archangelic Pow'r prepared
For swift descent, with him the cohort bright
Of watchful Cherubim. Four faces each
Had, like a double Janus: all their shape
Spangled with eyes, more numerous than those 130
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse,
Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Mean while
To re-salute the world with sacred light,
Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews imbalm'd 135
The Earth; when Adam and (first matron) Eve
Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring
Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd:
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd: 140
Eve, easily may faith admit, that all
The good which we enjoy, from Heav'n descends;
But that from us aught should ascend to Heav'n
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer,
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Ev'n to the seat of God! For since I sought
By prayer th' offended Deity to' appease,
Kneel'd, and before him humbled all my heart, 150
Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear! Persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favour! Peace return'd
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; 155
Which then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is past, and we shall live! Whence hail to thee,
Eve (rightly call'd) mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living; since by thee
Man is to live, and all things live for Man!
To whom thus Eve, with sad demeanour meek:
Ill worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressor, who, for thee ordain'd
A help, became thy snare! To me reproach
131. Argus, it is said, was lulled to sleep, and then killed by Mercury.
135. Leucothea; the morning, so called from two Greek words signifying light and goddess This is the last morning in the poem, and is supposed to be the commencement of the eleventh day in the action on earth.
Eve is from an Hebrew word signifying
life, or to live.
Rather belongs, distrust, and all dispraise!
But infinite in pardon was my Julge,
That I, who first brought death on all, am graced
The source of life; next favourable thou,
Who highly thus to' entitle me vouchsaf'st,
Far other name deserving. But the field
To labour calls us, now with sweat imposed,
Though after sleepless night; for, see, the morn,
All unconcern'd 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 enjoin'd
Laborious, till day droop. While here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us live, though in fall'n state, content. 180
So spake, so wish'd inuch-humbled Eve, but Fate
Subscribed not. Nature first gave signs, impress'd
On bird, beast, air, air suddenly eclipsed
After short blush of morn. Nigh in her sight
The bird of Jove, stoop'd 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 th' eastern gate was bent their flight. 190 Adam observed, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmoved, to Eve thus spake :
O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heav'n by these mute signs in nature shews, 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 flight pursued in th' 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,
182. Subscribed not, consented not.
204. See Marino, Can. 2. st. 6'.
And slow descends, with something heav nly fraught?
He err'd not; for by this the heav'nly 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 dimm'd Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilion'd with his guardians bright; 215
Nor that which on the flaming mount appear'd
In Dothan, cover'd with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise
One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
War unproclaim'd. The princely Hierarch
In their bright stand there left his Pow'rs to seize Possession of the garden: he alone,
To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way,
Not unperceived of Adam, who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake: 225
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 heav'nly 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 th' Arch-Angel soon drew nigh, Not in his shape celestial, but as man Clad to meet man. Over his lucid arms A military vest of purple flow'd, 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, shew'd him prime 245 213. Gen. xxxii. 1, 2. 2 Kings vi. 13.
242. The famous scarlet dye celebrated among the ancients was made from a fish called ostrum, found near Meliban, a city of Thessaly.-Sar was the name of the fish of which the Phoenicians made the famous Tyrian purple.
In manhood where youth ended. By his side,
As in a glist'ring zodiac, hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bow'd low: He, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared:
Adam, Heav'n's high behest no preface needs: Sufficient that thy pray'rs are heard, and Death, Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, Defeated of his seizure, many days
Giv'n thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent, 255
And one bad act, with many deeds well done,
May'st 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 unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lament,
Discover'd soon the place of her retire.
O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise! thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades, 270
Fit haunt of Gods! where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both! O flow'rs,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At e'en, 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 th' ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower by me adorn'd
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
261. The repetition of the message in the same words ir which it was given is common in classical writers, and, it may be added, in those of Scripture also.
268. It has been excellently remarked by Addison, that there is great beauty in Eve's thus expressing her sorrow at leaving the garden of Paradise. Fitness and at the beauties of propriety are Indeed to be found in every line of this part of the poem.