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Fruit of thy womb: on me the cursemaslope
Glanc'd on the ground; with labour I must earn
My bread; what harm ? Idleness had been worse;
My labour will sustain me; and lest cold 1056
Or heat should injure us, his timely care
Hath unbesought provided, and his hands
Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg'd;
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear 1060
Be open, and his heart to pity' incline,
And teach us further by what means to shun
Th’inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow?
Which now the sky with various face begins
To shew us in this mountain, while the winds 1065
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumb’d, ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the night, how we his gather'd beams
Reflected, may with matter sere foment,
Or by collision of two bodies grind
The air attrite to fire, as late the clouds
Justling or push'd with winds rude in their shock
Time the slant lightning, whose thwart Aame driv'n
down Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
1076 And sends a comfortable heat from far, Which might supply the sun : such fire to use, And what may else be remedy or cure To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought, 1080 He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him, so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust, our final rest and native home.
What better can we do, than to the place
Repairing where he judg'd us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air 1090
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow'unfeign'd, and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seem'd and most severe, 1095
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone ?
So spake our father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse : they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg'd them, prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess'd
Humbly their faults, and pardon begg'd, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow' unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.
THE END OF THE TENTH BOOK.
THE ARGUMENT. The Son of God presents to his Father the prayers of our first parents now
repenting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael with a band of Cherubim to dispossess them; but first to reveal to Adam future things : Michael's coming down. Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michael's approach, goes out to meet him: the Angel de nou aces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Admit pleads, but submits : The Angel leads him up to a high hill, sets before him in vision what shall happen till the flood.
THUS 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 S Unutterable, which the Spi'rit of prayer 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 10 In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 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 passid Dimensionless through heav'nly 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 30
Presenting, thus to intercede began.
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 bring,
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 fallin
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
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay.
Accept me, and in me from these receive
The smell of peace toward 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)
To better life shall yield him, where with me
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.
All thy requests 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
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
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;
Till I provided death; so death becomes
His final remedy, and after life
Try'd in sharp tribulation, and refin'd
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Wak'd in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with Heav'n 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 1 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 Greb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. Th' angelic blast.
Filld all the regions : from their blissful bowers
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sat