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With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow; equally inur'd
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepar'd endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend
This hill; let Eve (for I have drencht her eyes)
Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak’st;
As once thou slept'st, while she to life was form’d.'
To whom thus Adam gratefully repli’d.
* Ascend, I follow thee, safe guide, the path
Thou leadst me, and to the hand of Heav'n submit,
However chast’ning, to the evil turn
My obvious breast, arming to overcome
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won,
If so I may attain.' So both ascend
In the visions of God: it was a hill
Of Paradise the highest, from whose top
The hemisphere of Earth in clearest ken
Stretcht out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.
Not higher that hill nor wider looking round,
Whereon for different cause the Tempter set
Our second Adam in the wilderness,
To show him all earth's kingdoms and their glory.
His eye might there command wherever stood
City of old or modern fame, the seat
Of mightiest empire, from the destin'd walls
Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can,
And Samarcand by Oxus, Temir's throne,
To Paquin of Sinæan kings; and thence
To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul,
Down to the golden Chersonese; or where
The Persian in Ecbatan sat, or since
In Hispahan; or where the Russian Ksar
In Mosco; or the Sultan in Bizance,
Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken
The empire of Negus to his utmost port
Ercoco, and the less maritime kings
Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
And Sofala thought Ophir, to the realm
Of Congo, and Angela farthest south;
Or thence from Niger flood to Atlas mount
The kingdoms of Almansor, Fez, and Sus,
Morocco and Algiers, and Tremisen;
Or Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
The world: in spirit perhaps he also saw
Rich Mexico the seat of Montezume,
And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa ; and yet unspoil'd
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's sons
Call El Dorado: but to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film remov'd
Which that false fruit that promis'd clearer sight
Had bred; then purg'd with euphrasy and rue
The visual nerve, for he had much to see;
And from the well of Life three drops instill’d.
So deep the power of these ingredients pierc’d,
E'en to the inmost seat of mental sight,
That Adam now enforc't to close his eyes
Sunk down, and all his spirits became entranc't:
But him the gentle angel by the hand
Soon rais'd, and his attention thus recall’d.
‘Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold
Th' effects which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee, who never touch'd
Th' excepted tree, nor with the snake conspir'd,
Nor sinn'd thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds.'
His eyes he open'd, and beheld a field,
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
New reapt; the other part sheepwalks and folds ;
Ith' midst an altar as the landmark stood
Rustic, of grassy sord; thither anon
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf
Uncull’d, as came to hand; a shepherd next
More meek came with the firstlings of his flock
Choicest and best ; then sacrificing, laid
The inwards and their fat, with incense strow'd,
On the cleft wood, and all due rites perform’d.
His off'ring soon propitious fire from Heav'n
Consum'd with nimble glance, and grateful steam;
The other's not, for his was not sincere;
Whereat he inly rag'd, and as they talk’d,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone
That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effus'd.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismay'd, and thus in haste to th' angel cri’d.
O teacher, some great mischief hath befall’n
To that meek man, who well had sacrific’d;
Is piety thus and pure devotion paid?'
T' whom Michael thus, he also mov’d, repli’d.
These two are brethren, Adam, and to come
Out of thy loins; th' unjust the just hath slain,
For envy that his brother's offering found
From Heav'n acceptance; but the bloody fact
Will be aveng'd, and th’ other's faith approv'd
Lose no reward, though here thou see him die,
Rolling in dust and gore.' To which our sire.
* Alas, both for the deed and for the cause !
But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
I must return to native dust ? O sight
Of terror, foul and ugly to behold,
Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!'
To whom thus Michael. 'Death thou hast seen
In his first shape on man: but inany shapes
Of Death, and many are the ways that lead
To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense
More terrible at th' entrance than within.
Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die,
By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more
In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall bring
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear; that thou mayst know
What misery th' inabstinence of Eve
Shall bring on men. Immediately a place
Before his eyes appear’d, sad, noisome, dark,
A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseas'd; all maladies
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs,
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs,
Demoniac frenzy, moping melancholy
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok't
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-ey'd behold? Adam could not, but wept,
Though not of woman born; compassion quell'd
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrain'd excess,
And scarce recovering words his plaint renew’d.
O miserable mankind, to what fall
Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd!
Better end here unborn. Why is life giv'n,
To be thus wrested from us? rather why
Obtruded on us thus ? who if we knew
What we receive, would either not accept
Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,
Glad to be so dismist in peace, Can thus
Th’ image of God in Man created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unsightly sufferings be debas't
Under inhuman pains ? why should not Man,
Retaining still divine similitude
In part, from such deformities be free,
And for his Maker's image sake exempt ?'
“Their Maker's image,' answer'd Michael, 'then 515
Forsook them, when themselves they vilifi’d
To serve ungovern'd Appetite, and took
His image whom they serv'd, a brutish vice,
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore so abject is their punishment,
520 Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own; Or if his likeness, by themselves defac't While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules To loathsome sickness, worthily, since they God's image did not reverence in themselves.'
525 'I yield it just,' said Adam, “and submit. But is there yet no other way, besides These painful passages, how we may come To death, and mix with our connatural dust ?'
'There is,' said Michael, "if thou well observe 530 The rule of not too much, by temperance taught, In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, Till many years over thy head return : So may'st thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop 535 Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease Gather’d, not harshly pluckt, for death mature : This is old age; but then thou must outlive Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change To wither'd, weak, and gray; thy senses then
540 Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego To what thou hast; and for the air of youth Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign A melancholy damp of cold and dry To weigh thy spirits down; and last consume
545 The balm of life.' To whom our ancestor.
‘Henceforth I fly not Death, nor would prolong Life much, bent rather how I may be quit Fairest and easiest of this cumbrous charge ;