페이지 이미지

That cruel Serpent. On me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befallen-
On me already lost, me than thyself
More miserable. Both have sinned; but thou
Against God only; I against God and thee,
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with iny cries impor'tune Heaven, that all
The sentence, from thy head removed, 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,
Immovable till peace obtained from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wraught
Commiseration. Soon his heart relented
Towards 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 displeased, his aid.
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised 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 wrauth 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 exposed. But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame Each other, blamned 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 denounced, if aught I see, Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil, A long day's dying, to auginent our pain, And to our seed (O hapless seed !) derived."

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, Restored 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, devoured 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 unblest, to being yet unbegot. Childless thou art; childless remain. So Death Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw. But, if thou judge it hard and difficult, Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain From love's due rites, nuptial imbraces sweet, And with desire to languish without hope Before the present object languishing With like desire—which would be misery And torment less than none of what we dreadThen, both our selves and seed at once to free From what we fear for both, let us make short; Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply With our own hands his office on ourselves. Why stand we longer shivering under fears That shew no end but death, and have the power, Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,

Destruction with destruction to destroy?”

She ended here, or vehement despair Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts Had entertained as dyed her cheeks with pale. But Adam, with such counsel nothing swayed, To better hopes his more attentive mind Labouring had raised, and thus to Eve replied:

“Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems To argue in thee something more sublime And excellent than what thy mind contemns : But self-destruction therefore sought refutes That excellence thought in thee, and implies Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret For loss of life and pleasure overloved. Or, if thou covet death, as utmost end Of misery, so thinking to evade The penalty pronounced, doubt not but God Hath wiselier armed his vengeful ire than so To be forestalled. Much more I fear lest death So snatched will not exempt us from the pain We are by doom to pay; rather such acts Of contumacy will provoke the Highest To make death in us live. Then let us seek Some safer resolution—which methinks I have in view, calling to mind with heed Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise The Serpent's head. Piteous amends! unless Be meant whom I conjecture, our grand foe, Satan, who in the Serpent hath contrived Against us this deceit. To crush his head Would be revenge indeed—which will be lost By death brought on ourselves, or childless days Resolved as thou proposest; so our foe Shall scape his punishment ordained, and we Instead shall double ours upon our heads. No more be mentioned, then, of violence Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness That cuts us off from hope, and savours only Rancour and pride, impatience and despite, Reluctance against God and his just yoke

Laid on our necks. Remen.ber with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard and judged,
Without wrauth or reviling. We expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought
Was meant by death that day; when, lo! to thee
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy,
Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope
Glanced on the ground. With labour I must earn
My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse;
My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold
Or heat should injure us, his timely care
Hath, unbesought, provided, and his hands
Clothed us unworthy, pitying while he judged.
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
And teach us further by what means to shun
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow!
Which now the sky, with various face, begins
To shew us in this mountain, while the winds
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumbed-ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams
Reflected may with matter sere foment,
Or by collision of two bodies grind
The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds,
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame, driven

Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
And sends a comfortable heat from far,
Which might supply the Sun. Such fire to use,
And what may else be remedy or cure
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustained
By him with many comforts, till we end

In dust, our final rest and native home.
What better can we do than, to the place
Repairing where he judged us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn
From his displeasure, in whose look serene,
When angry most he seemed and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shon?”

So spake our Father penitent; nor Eve
Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confessed
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek.


THE ARGUMENT.-The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now repenting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael with a band of Cherubim to dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming down. Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs: he discerns Michael's approach; goes out to meet him : the Angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits : the Angel leads him up to a high hill; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the Flood.

Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood
Praying; for from the Mercy-seat above
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer

« 이전계속 »