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BOOK XI.

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 shows 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 remov'd
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breath'd
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory : yet their port
Not of mean suitors, nor important less
Seem'd their petition, than when th' ancient pair
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha to restore
The race of mankind drown'd, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To Heav'n their prayers
Flew up, nor miss'd the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they pass'd
Dimensionless through Heav'nly doors; then clad

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With incense, where the golden altar fum’d,
By their great Intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son
Presenting, thus to intercede began.

See, Father, what first fruits on Earth are sprung
From thy implanted grace in Man, these sighs
And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixt
With incense, I thy Priest before thee bring;
Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
Which his own hand manuring all the trees
Of Paradise could have produc't, ere fall'n
From innocence. Now therefore bend thine ear
To supplication, hear his sighs though mute;
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me
Interpret for him, me his Advocate
And propitiation; all his works on me
Good or not good ingraft; my merit those
Shall perfet, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me, and in me from these receive
The smell of peace toward Mankind, let him live
Before thee reconcil'd, at least his days
Number'd, though sad, till death, his doom (which I
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse)
To better life shall yield him, where with me
All my redeem'd may dwell in joy and bliss,
Made one with me as I with thee am one.'

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene.
* All thy request for Man, accepted Son,
Obtain ; all thy request was my decree :
But longer in that Paradise to dwell,
The law I gave to Nature him forbids;
Those pure immortal elements that know
No gross, no inharmonious mixture foul,
Eject him tainted now, and purge him off
As a distemper, gross to air as gross,
And mortal food, as may dispose him best
For dissolution wrought by Sin, that first

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Distemper'd all things, and of incorrupt
Corrupted. I at first with two fair gifts
Created him endow'd, with happiness
And immortality: that fondly lost,
This other serv'd but to eternize woe,
Till I provided death; so death becomes
His final remedy, and after life
Tri'd in sharp tribulation, and refin'd
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Wak't in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with heav'n and Earth renew'd.
But let us call to synod all the blest
Through Heav'ns wide bounds; from them I will not hide
My judgments, how with Mankind I proceed,
As how with peccant angels late they saw,

70 And in their state, though firm, stood more confirm’d.'

He ended; and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watch'd: he blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. Th' angelic blast
Fill’d all the regions: from their blissful bowrs
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sate
In fellowships of joy, the Sons of Light
Hasted, resorting to the summons high,
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme,
Th’ Almighty thus pronounc'd his sovran will.

O Sons, like one of us Man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got ;
Happier, had it suffic'd him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not at 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

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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 urg'd,
For I behold them softn'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, though 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 ceas'd: and th' archangelic Power prepar'd
For swift descent, with him the cohort bright
Of watchful cherubim ; four faces each
Had, like a double Janus; all their shape
Spangl'd with eyes more numerous than those
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse,

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Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the pastoral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile,
To re-salute the world with sacred light
Leucothea wak’d; and with fresh dews embalm'd
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 linkt;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd.

* 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 humbld all my heart,
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;
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
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise :
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I who first brought Death on all, am grac't
The source of life: next favourable thou,

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