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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 befalln;
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
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 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,

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Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiv'n,
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 light'n
Each other's burden in our share of woe;
Since this day's death denounc't, if aught I see,
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac't 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, repli’d.
‘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 ris'n,
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 to others cause of misery,
Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
Into this cursed world a woful 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 deceiv'd his glut, and with us two
Be forc'd to satisfy his rav'nous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

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From love's due rites, nuptial embraces 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 dread;
Then both ourselves 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 show 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 entertain'd, as dy'd her cheeks with pale.
But Adam with such counsel nothing sway'd,
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Labouring had rais’d; and thus to Eve repli’d.

'Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contenins;
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 overlov’d.
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
Of misery, so thinking to evade
The penalty pronounc't, doubt not but God
Hath wiselier arm’d his vengeful ire than so
To be forestall’d; much more I fear lest death
So snatcht, will not exempt us from the pain
We were 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

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The Serpent's head; piteous amends, unless
Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe
Satan, who in the Serpent hath contriv'd
Against us this deceit: to crush his head
Would be revenge indeed; which will be lost,
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
Resolv’d, as thou proposest; so our foe
Shall scape his punishment ordain'd, and we
Instead shall double ours upon our heads.
No more be mention'd 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. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard and judg’d
Without wrath 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 recompens't with joy,
Fruit of thy womb : on me the curse aslope
Glanc'd 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
Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg’d.
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
And teach us farther by what means to shun
Th’ inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow?
Which now the sky with various face begins
To show 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 benumb’d, ere this diurnal star

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Leave cold the night; how we his gather'd beams 1070
Reflected, may with matter sere foment,
Or by collision of two bodies grind
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds
Justling, or pusht with winds rude in their shock 1074
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame driv'n down
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, 1080
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust, our final rest and native home.

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What better can we do, than to the place
Repairing where he judg’d 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 1090
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.
Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
From his displeasure ; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seem'd and most severe,

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So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg’d them, prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd
Humbly their faults, and pardon begg’d, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.

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