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Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf'st,
170 Far other name deserving. But the field To labour calls us, now with sweat impos’d, 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 much-humbled Eve; but Fate
Subscrib'd not. Nature first gave signs, imprest
On bird, beast, air; air suddenly eclips'd
After short blush of morn; nigh in her sight
The bird of Jove, stoopt from his aëry tour,
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove ;
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods,
First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace,
Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind;
Direct to th' eastern gate was bent their flight.
190 Adam observ’d, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmov'd 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
195 Us haply too secure of our discharge · From penalty, because from death releast 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, pursu'd 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
205 O’er the blue firmament a radiant white, 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;
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 powers, to seize
Possession of the garden; he alone,
To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way;
Not unperceiv'd of Adam, who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake.
‘Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observ’d; 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 him 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' archangel 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 Melibean, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof;
His starry helm unbuckl’d shew'd him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side
As in a glistering zodiac hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bow'd low; he kingly from his state
Inclin'd not; but his coming thus declar'd.
Adam, Heav'ns high behest no preface needs :
Sufficient that thy prayers 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,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayst cover : well may then thy Lord appeas'd,
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 tak’n, 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,
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 ev'n, which I bred up with tender hand,
From the first op'ning 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
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild ? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustom'd to immortal fruits ?'
Whom thus the angel interrupted mild.
* Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,
Thus overfond, on that which is not thine ;
Thy going is not lonely, with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil.'
Adam by this from the cold sudden damp
Recovering, and his scatter'd spirits return'd,
To Michael thus his humble words adress'd.
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam’d
Of them the highest, for of such shape may seem
Prince above princes, gently hast thou told
Thy message, which might else in telling wound,
And in performing end us; what besides
Of sorrow and dejection and despair
Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring;
Departure from this happy place, our sweet
Recess, and only consolation left
Familiar to our eyes; all places else
Inhospitable appear and desolate,
Nor knowing us nor known: and if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will
Of him who all things can, I would not cease
To weary him with my assiduous cries:
But prayer against his absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth :
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that departing hence,
As from his face I shall be hid, depriv'd
His blessed count'nance; here I could frequent
With worship, place by place, where he voutsaft
Presence divine, and to my sons relate;
“On this mount he appear'd, under this tree
Stood visible, among these pines his voice
I heard, here with him at this fountain talk'd :"
So many grateful altars I would rear
Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory,
Or monument to ages, and thereon
Offer sweet smelling gums and fruits and flow'rs:
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace ?
For though I fled him angry, yet recall'd
To life prolong'd and promis'd race, I now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory, and far off his steps adore.'
To whom thus Michael with regard benign.
‘Adam, thou know'st Heav'n his, and all the Earth;
Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power and warm’d:
All th' Earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift ; surmise not then
His presence to these narrow bounds confin'd
Of Paradise or Eden : this had been
Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations, and had hither come
From all the ends of th’ Earth, to celebrate
And reverence thee their great progenitor.
But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down
To dwell on even ground now with thy sons :
Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain
God is as here, and will be found alike
Present, and of his presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, his face
Express, and of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou mayst believe, and be confirm’d
Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent
To show thee what shall come in future days,
To thee and to thy offspring; good with bad
Expect to hear, supernal grace contending