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Mean while 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 Heaven; for what '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 discovered and repuls’d
Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend.
For still they knew, and ought to have still remem-
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 Heaven from Paradise in haste
The angelick guards ascended, mute, and sad,
For Man; for of his state by this they knew,
Much wondering how the subtle Fiend had stolen
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-arriv'd, in multitudes
The ethereal people ran, to hear and know
How all befel : They towards the throne supreme,
Accountable, made haste, to make appear,
With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance,
And easily approv'd; when the Most High
Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
Amidst in thunder utter'd thus his voice,
Assembled Angels, and ye Powers return'd
From unsuccessful charge ; be not dismay'd,
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
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
Concurring to necessitate his fall,
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse
His free will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fallen 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,
By 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 judgement, whether in Heaven, or Earth, or
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
Man's friend, his Mediator, his design’d
Both ransom and Redeemer voluntary,
And destin’a Man himself to judge Man fallen.
So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blaz'd forth unclouded Deity; He full
Resplendent all his father manifest
Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild:
Father Exernal, thine is to decree;
Mine, both in Heaven 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 satisfied, and thee appease.
Attendance none shall need, nor train were 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, though 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 Intercessour 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 aloud.
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, though
first To offend; discountenanc'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, faltering long, thus answer'd brief.
I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom The gracious Judge without revile replied.
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,