Page images

Will deem in outward rites and specious forms
Religion satisfy'd. Truth shall retire


Bestuck with sland'rous darts, and works of faith Rarely be found. So shall the world go on,

To good malignant, to bad men benign,

Under her own weight, groaning till the day
Appear of respiration to the just


And vengeance to the wicked at return
Of him so lately promised to thy aid,

The Woman's Seed, obscurely then foretold;

Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord:
Last in the clouds from Heav'n to be reveal'd
In glory of the Father, to dissolve


Satan with his perverted world, then raise

From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
New Heav'ns, new Earth, ages of endless date

Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love, 550
To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.
He ended; and thus Adam last reply'd:
How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
Measured this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd! Beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.

Greatly instructed, I shall hence depart,

Greatly in peace of thought, and have my fill
Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God, to walk
As in his presence, ever to observe

His providence, and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small




Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

By simply meek; that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,

And to the faithful, death the gate of life:
Taught this by his example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.
To whom thus also th' Angel last reply'd:

540. Of respiration; in Scripture, the times of
refreshing. Acts iii. 19.


549. 2 Pet. iii. 13. Šee former note on the same expression.

his having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum 575 if wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars Thou knew'st by name, and all th' ethereal pow'rs, All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,

Or works of God in Heav'n, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance, add love,
By name to come call'd Charity, the soul
Of all the rest, then wilt thou not be loath
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far.

Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation; for the hour precise



Exacts our parting hence: and see the guards, 590
By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect

Their motion, at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal to remove, waves fiercely round.
We may no longer stay. Go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calm'd,
Portending good, and all her spirits composed
To meek submission. Thou at season fit
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard,
Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliv'rance by her seed to come
(For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind:
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous though sad
With cause for evils past, yet much more cheer'd
With meditation on the happy end.




He ended, and they both descend the hill; Descended, Adam to the bower where Eve Lay sleeping ran before, but found her waked; And thus with words not sad she him received: Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know: For God is also' in sleep, and dreams advise, Which he hath sent propitious, some great good

581. 2 Pet. i. 5.


588. Top of speculation; an eminence of contemplation, from which the eye of the mind saw the mysteries of Providence all cleared up.

608. An inconsistency is pointed out between this line and the argument to the book, in which it will be found that Adam is ald to waken Eve, while he is here represented as finding her

Presaging, since with sorrow' and heart's distress
Weary'd I fell asleep: but now lead on;
In me is no delay. With thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
Art all things under Heav'n, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure

I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
(Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed)
By me the promised Seed shall all restore.

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard

Well pleased, but answer'd not; for now too nigh
Th' Arch-Angel stood, and from the other hill
To their fix'd station, all in bright array
The Cherubim descended; on the ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist






Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel
Homeward returning. High in front advanced,
The brandish'd sword of God before them blazed
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
And vapour as the Libyan air adust,
Began to parch that temp'rate clime: whereat
In either hand the hast'ning Angel caught
Our ling'ring parents, and to th' eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappear'd.
They looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise (so late their happy seat)
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon:
The world was all before them, where to choose 645
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way.


630. Marish; from the French Marais, a marsh. 648. The conclusion of this wonderful poem is not inferior la beauty to its progress. Ceasing from the calm and unadorned narrative which occupies the former part of the last book, the author rises again into his accustomed sublimity, and then wite the most admirable skill closes the poem with an appeal, deep and powerful, to all the feelings of awe and tenderness which i ubject can awaken. Never, I think, nas worse taste been shew" than by the critics who would have had the last two lines omitted


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »