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rpHUS 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 Spi'rit of prayer 6
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, 11
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 15
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they pass'd
Ditnensionless through heavenly doors; then clad
With incense, where the golden altar fum'd,
By their great intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son 20
Presenting, thus to intercede began.
ss See, Father, what first fruits on earth are sprung From thy implanted grace in Man, these sighs And pray'rs, which in this golden censer, mix'd
With incense, I, thy priest, before thee bring1, 25
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'd, ere fall'n
From innocence. Now therefore bend thine ear 30
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 35
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me, and in me from these receive
The smell of peace tow'rd 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) 41
To better life shall yield him, where with m*
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. 45
4t 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 50
No gross, no unharmonious 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 55
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; 60
Till I provided death; so death becomes
His final remedy, and after life
Try'd in sharp tribulation, and refin'4
By faith and faithful works, to second tifcV" r':!f"'
Wak'd in the renovation of the just, 6S
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renew'd.
But let us call to synod all the Blest
Through Heav'n's 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 75
To sound at general doom. Th' angelic blast
Fill'd all the regions: from their blissful bowers
Of amaranthine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light 80
Hasted, resorting to the summons high,
And took their seats ; till from his throne supreme
Th' Almighty thus pronouoc'd his sov'reign will.
"O Sons, like one of us Man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste 89
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, 00
My motions in him; longer than they move, ^
His heart I know, how variable and vain _,r imA Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand l "VI Reach also of the tree of life, and eat, M
And live for ever, dream at least to live -' 9$
For ever, to remove him I decree, -i- >
And send him from the garden forth to till -- i ,it\ The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.
"Michael, this my behest have thou in charge; Take to thee from among the Cherubim 100
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, 105
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 soften'd, and with tears 110
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 115
My covenant 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 120
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, 124
With whose stol'n fruit Man once more to delude."
He ceas'd; and th' archangelic Pow'r prepar'd For swift descent, with him the cohort bright Of watchful cherubim; four faces each Had, like a double Janus, all their shape Spangled with eyes, more numerous than those 130 Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse, Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the past'ral 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 135 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 link'd; Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd. 140
"Eve, easily may faith admit that all
The good which we enjoy from Heav'n descends;
But that from us ought should ascend to Heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will, 145
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 pray'r th' offended Deity to' appease,
Kneel'd, and before him humbled all my heart, 150
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 15o
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 160
Man is to live, and all things live for Man."
To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.
"111 worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressor, who, for thee ordain'd
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 165
Bather belongs, distrust and all dispraise:
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I, who first brought death on all, am gracsd
The source of life; next favourable thou.
Who highly thus to' entitle me vouchsaf'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, 175
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, tho' in fall'n state, content." 180