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MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act, Of Satan done in Paradise, and how He in the serpent had perverted Eve, Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit, Was known in Heav'n; for what can ’scape the eye Of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart Omniscient? who in all things wise and just, Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind Of Man, with strength entire, and free-will arm’d, Complete to have discover'd and repuls'd Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'd, The high injunction not to taste that fruit, Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, Incurr'd (what could they less ?) the penalty, And, manifold in sin, deserv'd to fall... Up into Heav'n from Paradise in haste The angelic guards ascended, mute and sad For Man, for of his state by this they knew, Much wond'ring how the subtle Fiend had stoln, Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news From earth arriv'd at Heaven gate, displeas’d All were who heard ; dim sadness did not spare That time celestial visages, yet mix'd With pity, violated not their bliss. About the new-arriy'd, in multitudes The ethereal people ran, to hear and know How all befell: they towards the throne supreme
Accountable made haste to make appear
With righteous plea their utmost vigilance,
And easily approy'd; when the most high
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
Amidst in thunder utter'd thus his voice.
“ Assembled Angels, and ye Pow'rs return'd
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd,
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
Which your sincerest care could not prevent,
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from Hell.
I told ye then he should prevail and speed
On his bad errand, Man should be seduc'd
And flatter'd out of all, believing lies
Against his Maker; no decree of mine
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
His free-will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fall’n he is; and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression, death denounc'd that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void,
Because not yet inflicted, as he fear'd,
Ry some immediate stroke; but soon shall find
Forbearance no acquittance ere day end.
Justice shall not return as bounty scorn'd.
But whom send I to judge them? Whom but thee,
Vicegerent Son ? to thee I have transferr'd
All judgment, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
Man's friend, his mediator, his design'a
Both ransom and redeemer voluutary,
And destin'd Man himself to judge Man fall’n.”'
So spake the Father, and unfolding bright
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
d the right hand his wiony b e son sin. Blaz'd forth unclouded deity; lie full .
Resplendent all his father manifest
Express’d, and thus divinely answer'd mild. .
“Father eternal, thine is to decree,
Mine both in Heav'n and Earth to do thy will
Supreme, that thou in me thy Son belov'd
May'st ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge
On earth these thy transgressors, but thou know'st,
Whoever judg'd, the worst on me must light,
When time shall be, for so I undertook
Before thee'; and not repenting, this obtain
Of right, that I may mitigate their doom
On me deriv'd; yet I shall temper so .
Justice with mercy', as may illustrate most
Them fully satisfy'd, and thee appease.
Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none
Are to behold the judgment, but the judg'd,
Those two; the third best absent is condemn'd,
Convict by flight, and rebel to all law:
Conviction to the serpent none belongs."
Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
Of high collateral glory': him Thrones and Powers,
Princedoms and Dominations, ministrant,
Accompanied to Heaven gate, from whence
Eden and all the coast in prospect lay.
Down he descended straight; the speed of Gods
Time counts not, tho' with swiftest minutes wing'd.
Now was the sun in western cadence low
From noon, and gentle airs due at their hour
To fan the earth now wak'd, and usher in
The evening cool, when he from wrath more cool
Came the mild judge and intercessor both
To sentence Man: the voice of God they heard
Now walking in the garden, by soft winds
Brought to their ears, while day declin'd; they heard,
And from his presence hid themselves among '
The thickest trees, both man and wife, till God .
Approaching, thus to Adam call'd alouc,
“ Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet .
My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,
Not pleas'd, thus entertain'd with solitude,
Where obvious duty' ere while appear'd unsought:
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
Absents thee, or what chance detains ? Come forth."
He came, and with him Eve, more loth, tho' first
To' offend, discount'nanc'd both, and discompos'd;
Love was not in their looks, either to God
Or to each other, but apparent guilt,
And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger, and obstinacy', and hate, and guile.
Whence Adam, falt'ring long, thus answer'd brief.
“ I heard thee in the gard’n, and of thy voice
Afraid, being naked, hid myself.”. To whom
The gracious judge without revile reply'd.
"My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear’d,
But still rejoic'd; how is it now become
So dreadful to thee? that thou' art naked, who
Hath told thee? hast thou eaten of the tree, -
Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat ?
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, reply'd,
“O Heav'n! in evil straight this day I stand
Before my judge, either to undergo
Myself the total crime, or to accuse -
My other self, the partner of my life;
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
I should conceal, and not expose to blame
By my complaint; but strict necessity
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,
Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
However insupportable, be all
Devolv'd; though should I hold my peace, yet thou
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
And gav'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,
So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
That from her hand I could suspect no ill,., 240
And what she did, whatever in itself,
Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat.”
To whom the sov'reign Presence thus reply'd.
“ Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
Before his voice, or was she made thy guide,
Superior, or but equal, that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place
Wherein God set thee' above her made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Her's in all real dignity? Adorn’d , i
She was indeed, and lovely to attract ,
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem'd,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part
And person, hadst thou knowu thyself aright."
So having said, he thus to Eve in few..
" Say Woman, what is this which thou hast done?” ..
To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm’d,
Confessing soon, yet not before her judge
Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd reply'd. . . .
“ The Serpent me heguild, and I did eat.” .
Which when the Lord God heard, without delayi
To judgment he proceeded on th' accus'd
Serpent though brute, unable to transfer
The guilt on him who made him instrument
Of mischief, and polluted from the end
Of his creation; justly then accurs'd,',
As vitiated in Nature; more to know
Concern'd not Man (since he no farther knew) 170
Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last
To Satan, first in sin, his doom apply'd,
Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best:
And on the serpent thus his curse let fall.
“ Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd
175 Above all cattle, each beast of the field;