صور الصفحة
PDF

The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warn'd .
Their sinful state, and to appease betimes
The incensed Deity, while offer'd grace
Invites; for I will clear their senses dark,
What may suffice, and soften stony hearts
To pray, repent, and bring obedience due.
To prayer, repentance, and obedience due,
Though but endeavor'd with sincere intent,
Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut;
And I will place within them as a guide

194
My umpire conscience, whom if they will hear,
Light after light well used they shall attain,
And to the end persisting, safe arrive.
This my long sufferance and my day of grace
They who neglect and scorn shall never taste;
But hard be harden'd, blind be blinded more,
That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;
And none but such from mercy I exclude. ,
But yet all is not done; man disobeying,
Disloyal breaks his feälty, and sins
Against the high supremacy of Heaven,

205
Affecting Godhead, and so losing all,
To expiate his treason hath naught left,
But to destruction, sacred and devote,
He with his whole posterity must die.
Die he or justice must; unless for him
Some other able, and as willing, pay
The rigid satisfaction, death for death.
Say, heavenly powers! where shall we find such love
Which of ye will be mortal to redeem
Man's mortal crime, the just the unjust to save?
Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear ?"

He ask'd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,
And silence was in Heaven: on man's behalf
Patron or intercessor none appear'd;
Much less that durst upon his own head draw
The deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.
And now without redemption all mankind
Must have been lost, adjudged to Death and Hell
By doom severe, had not the Son of God,
In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,
His dearest mediation thus renew'd :

“ Father, thy word is past; man shall find grace; 227

216 2-18

And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,
The speediest of thy wingéd messengers,
To visit all thy creatures, and to all
Comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought?
Happy for man, so coming; he her aid
Can never seek, once dead in sins and lost;
Atonement for himself or offering meet,
Indebted and undone, hath none to bring.
Behold me then; me for him life for life
I offer; on me let thine anger fall;

237
Account me man; I for his sake will leave
Thy bosom, and this glory next to thee
Freely put off, and for him lastly die
Well pleased : on me let Death wreak all his rage;
Under his gloomy power I shall not long
Lie vanquish'd; thou hast given me to possess
Life in myself forever; by thee I live,
Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,
All that of me can die; yet that debt paid,
Thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome grave
His prey, nor suffer my unspotted soul
Forever with corruption there to dwell;
But I shall rise victorious, and subdue
My vanquisher, spoil'd of his vaunted spoil;
Death his death's wound shall then receive, and stoop
Inglorioris, of his mortal sting disarm’d.
I through the ample air in triumph high
Shall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show
The powers of darkness bound. Thou at the sight
Pleased, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
While by thee raised I ruin all my foes,
Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave: 259
Then with the multitude of my redeem'd
Shall enter Heaven, long absent, and return,
Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
Of anger shall remain, but peace assured
And reconcilement; wrath shall be no more
Thenceforth, but in thy presence joy entire.”

His words here ended, but his meek aspect
Silent yet spake, and breathed immortal love
To mortal men, above which only shone
Filial obedience: as a sacrifice,
Glad to be offer'd, he attends the will

270

Of his great Father. Admiration seized
All Heaven what this might mean, and whither tend,
Wondering; but soon the Almighty thus replied :

“O thou, in Heaven and earth the only peace
Found out for mankind under wrath! O thou,
My sole complacence! well thou know'st how dear
To me are all my works, nor man the least,
Though last created; that for him I spare
Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save,
By losing thee a while, the whole race lost.

8C
Thou, therefore, whom thou only canst redeem,
Their nature also to thy nature join,
And be thyself man among men on earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
By wondrous birth : be thou, in Adam's room,
The head of all mankind, though Adam's son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored, without thee none.
His crime makes guilty all his sons: thy merit
Imputed shall absolve them who renounce

291 Their own both righteous and unrighteous deeds, And live in thee transplanted, and from thee Receive new life. So man, as is most just, Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die, And dying rise, and, rising with him, raise His brethren, ransom'd with his own dear life. So heavenly love shall outdo hellish hate, Giving to death, and dying to redeem, So dearly to redeem what hellish hate So easily destroy'd, and still destroys, In those who, when they may, accept not grace. 302 Nor shalt thou, by descending to assume Man's nature, lessen or degrade thine own. Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss Equal to God, and equally enjoying Godlike fruition, quitted all to save A world from atter loss, and hast been found By merit more than birthright Son of God, Found worthiest to be so by being good,

Far more than great or high; because in thee • Love hath abounded more than glory abounds: Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt

313

With thee thy manhood also to this throne.
Here shalt thou sit incarnate, here shalt reign
Both God and Man, Son both of God and Man,
Anointed universal king; all power
I give thee; reign forever, and assume
Thy merits: under thee, as head supreme,
Tirones, princedoms, powers, dominions, I reduce;
All knees to thee shall bow, of them that bide
In Heaven, or earth, or under earth in Hell.
When thou, attended gloriously from Heaven, 323
Shalt in the sky appear, and from thee send
The summoning archangels to proclaim
Thy dread tribunal, forth with from all winds
The living, and forth with the cited dead
Of all past ages, to the general doom
Shall hasten, such a peal shall rouse their sleep:
Then, all thy saints assembled, thou shalt judge
Bad men and angels; they arraign'd shall sink
Beneath thy sentence; Hell, her numbers full,
Thenceforth shall be forever shut. Meanwhile
The world shall burn, and from her ashes spring 334
New Heaven and earth, wherein the just shall dwell,
And, after all their tribulations long,
See golden days, fruitful of golden deeds,
With joy and love triumphing, and fair truth.
Then thou thy regal sceptre shalt lay by,
For regal sceptre there no more shall need,
God shall be all in all. But all ye gods,
Adore him, who to compass all this dies;
Adore the Son, and honor him as me!"

No sooner had the Almighty ceased, but all
The multitude of angels, with a shout

345 Loud as from numbers without number, sweet As from blest voices, uttering joy, Heaven rung With jubilee, and loud Hosannas fill'd The eternal regions: lowly reverent Towards either throne they bow, and to the ground With solemn adoration down they cast Their crowns inwove with amarant and gold; Immortal amarant, a flower which once In Paradise, fast by the tree of life, Began to bloom; but soon for man's offence To Heaven removed where first it grew, there grows, 356

And flowers aloft, shading the fount of life,
And where the river of bliss through midst of Heaven
Rolls o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream:
With these that never fade the spirits elect
Bind their resplendent locks inwreathed with beans;
Now in loose garlands thick thrown off, the bright
Pavement, that like a sea of jasper shone,
Impurpled with celestial roses smiled.
Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took,
Harps ever tuned, that, glittering by their side, 366
Like quivers hung, and with preamble sweet
Of charming symphony they introduce
Their sacred song, and waken raptures high;
No voice exempt, no voice but well could join
Melodious part, such concord is in Heaven.

“Thee, Father," first they sung, “Omnipotent,
Immutable, Immortal, Infinite,
Eternal King; thee, Author of all being,
Fountain of light, thyself invisible
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sitt'st
Throned inaccessible, but when thou shadest
The full blaze of thy beams, and through a cloud,
Drawn round about thee like a radiant shrine,
Dark with excessive bright thy skirts appear,
Yet dazzle Heaven, that brightest seraphim
Approach not, but with both wings veil their eyes."
“ Thee,” next they sang, “of all creation first,
Begotten Son, Divine Similitude, .
In whose conspicuous countenance, without cloud
Made visible, the almighty Father shines,
Whom else no creature can behold ; on thee
Impress'd the effulgence of his glory abides, 388
Transfused on thee his ample Spirit rests.
He Heaven of Heavens, and all the powers therein,
By thee created, and by thee threw down
The aspiring dominations: thou that day
Thy Father's dreadful thunder didst not spare,
Nor stop thy flaming chariot-wheels, that shook
Heaven's everlasting frame, while o'er the necks
Thou drovest of warring angels disarray'd.
Back from pursuit thy powers with loud acclaiin
Thee only extoll’d, Son of thy Father's might,
To execute fierce vengeance on his foes.

377

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »