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As Raphael, that I should much confide,
235 But solemn and sublime, whom not to' offend, With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
He ended; and the Arch-Angel soon drew nigh, Not in his shape celestial, but as man Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms
240 A military vest of purple flow'd, Livelier than Melibean, or the grain Of Sarrah, worn by kings and heroes old In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof; His starry helm unbuckled shew'd him prime
245 In manhood where youth ended; by his side As in a glist'ring zodiac hung the sword, Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear. Adam bow'd low; he kingly from his state Inclin'd not, but his coming thus declar'd.
Adam, Heav'n's high behest no preface needs : Sufficient that thy pray'rs are heard, and Death, Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress, Defeated of his seizure many days Giv'n thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent, 255 And one bad act with many deeds well donc May'st cover : well may then thy Lord appeas'd Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim ; But longer in this Paradise to dwell Permits not; to remove thee I am come,
260 And send thee from the garden forth to till The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.
He added not, for Adam at the news
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
O UNEXPECTED stroke, worse than of Death!
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild.
ADAM by this from the cold sudden damp
To Michael thus his humble words address'd. 295
CELESTIAL, whether among the Thrones, or nam'd Of them the high'est, for such of shape may seem Prince above princes, gently hast thou told Thy message, which might else in telling wound, And in performing end us; what besides
300 Of sorrow and dejection and despair Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bring, Departure from this happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left Familiar to our eyes, all places else Inhospitable' appear and desolate, Nor knowing us nor known; and if by prayer Incessant I could hope to change the will Of him who all things can, I would not cease To weary him with my assiduous cries : . 310 But pray'r against his absolute decree No more avails than breath against the wind, Blown stilling back on him that breathes it forth : Therefore to his great bidding I submit. This most afflicts me, that departing hence, 1 315 As from his face I shall be hid, depriv'd His blessed count'nance; here I could frequent With worship place by place where he vouchsaf'd Presence divine, and to my sons relate, On this mount he appear'd, under this tree 320 Stood visible, among these pines his voice I heard, here with him at this fountain talk'd: So many grateful altars I would rear Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory,
325 Or monument to ages, and thereon Offer sweet-smelling gums and fruits and flowers : In yonder nether world where shall I seek His bright appearances, or foot-step trace ? For though ! fed him angry, yet recall'd
330 To life prolong'd and promis'd race, I now Gladly hehold though but his utmost skirts Of glory, and far off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael with regard benign. Adam, thou know'st Heav'n his, and all the Earth, Not this rock only'; his omnipresence fills 336 Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives, Fomented by his virtual pow'r and warm'd: All th' earth he gave thee to possess and rule, No despicable gift ; surmise not then His presence to these narrow bounds confin'd Of Paradise or Eden : this had been Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread All generations, and had hither come From all the ends of th' earth to celebrate 345 And reverence thee their great progenitor. But this pre-eminence thou' hast lost, brought down To dwell on even ground now with thy sons : Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain God is as here, and will be found alike Present, and of his presence many a sign Still following thee, still compassing thee round With goodness and paternal love, his face Express, and of his steps the track divine,
Which that thou may'st believe, and be confirm'd 355
To whom thus Adam gratefully reply'd. 370 Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path Thou lead'st me', and to the hand of Heav'n submit, However chast’ning, to the evil turn My obvious breast, arming to overcome
By suffering, and earn rest from labour won, 375 'If so I may attain. So both ascend In the visions of God: it was a hill Of Paradise the highest, from whose top The hemisphere of earth in clearest ken Stretch'd out to th' amplest reach of prospect lay. 380 Not high'er that hill, or wider looking round, Whereon for diff'rent cause the Tempter set Our second Adam in the wilderness, To shew him all earth's kingdoms and their glory.