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The glad Son, presenting these prayers at his Father's throne, interceded with him for them, since their contrition now was worth more than their worship in a state of inno
His intercession was accepted, but since they had lost the two gifts of Happiness and Immortality, they must leave the garden lest they be tempted to taste next of the Tree of Life and make their woe eternal.
Michael was sent down to drive them from the garden, and if the pair seemed repentant and disconsolate he was ordered to comfort them with the promise of better days and to reveal to them somewhat of the future. In habit as a man Michael descended and declared to Adam and Eve that they could no longer abide in Paradise. When Adam, himself broken with grief, attempted to console the heartbroken Eve, the Angel comforted her also, and causing a sleep to fall upon her, led Adam to a hill-top, whence could be seen the hemisphere of the earth, soon to be covered by the seats of empires.
Touching Adam's eyes with three drops from the well of life, the Angel showed him a long panorama, beginning with the crime of Cain, and showing the building of the Ark and its landing on Ararat. When he perceived that Adam's eyes were weary, he recited to him the story of Abraham, of the deliverance from Egypt, the wandering in the Wilderness, of the royal stock of David from which would spring the seed so often promised Adam, who should ascend the hereditary throne, and whose glory should be universal.
Overjoyed, Adam inquired when would take place the final death stroke to Satan, the bruising with the Victor's heel. Michael responded that Satan was not to be destroyed, but his works in Adam and his seed, and that the sacrifice of the Son's life for man would forever crush the strength of Satan's progeny, Sin and Death. Then, to that Heaven to which he would reascend, the faithful would go when the time came for the world's dissolution, and there would be received into the bliss eternal.
Strengthened and sustained, Adam went down from the mount and met Eve, just awaking from comforting dreams.
The Cherubim descended, and, urged by the Angel, the two took their way into the wide world that lay before them, and looking back beheld the flaming swords of the Cherubim at the gates of their lost Paradise.
SELECTIONS FROM PARADISE LOST.
After having been thrown out of Heaven with his crew, Satan lay nine days in the burning lake into which he fell. Then, rousing himself, he rose from the liquid flames, few over the lake, and alighting upon the solid though burning land, thus addressed Beelzebub, who had accompanied him.
" Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,"
Said then the lost Archangel, “this the seat
That we must change for Heaven? — this mournful gloom
For that celestial light? Be it so, since He
Who now is sovran can dispose and bid
What shall be right: farthest from Him is best,
Whom reason hath equalled, force hath made supreme
Above his equals. Farewell, happy fields,
Where joy forever dwells! Hail, horrors ! hail,
Infernal World ! and thou, profoundest Hell,
Receive thy new possessor - one who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same,
And what I should be, all but less than he
Whom thunder hath made greater? Here at least
We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence :
Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,
The associates and co-partners of our loss,
Lie thus astonished on the oblivious pool,
And call them not to share with us their part
In this unhappy mansion, or once more
With rallied arms to try what may be yet
Regained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell ? "
So Satan spake; and him Beëlzebub
Thus answered :—“Leader of those armies bright
Which, but the Omnipotent, none could have foiled !
If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledge
Of hope in fears and dangers — heard so oft
In worst extremes, and on the perilous edge
Of battle, when it raged, in all assaults
Their surest signal – they will soon resume
New courage and revive, though now they lie
Grovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,
As we crewhile, astounded and amazed;
No wonder, fallen from such pernicious highth !”
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
To adore the Conqueror, who now beholds
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discern
The advantage, and descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf? –
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!”
This passage forms the beginning of Book III., in which the poet visits the realms of light after having described Hell and its inhabitants.
Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born!
Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity - dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate !
Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the Sun,
Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest
The rising World of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless Infinite!
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight,
Through utter and through middle Darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean lyre
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp ; but thou
Revisit’st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equalled with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return; but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.
So much the rather thou, Celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate ; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
Book III., 1-55