Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 I proceed,
As how with peccant angels late they saw,
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 Oreb since, perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. Th' angelic blast
Fill'd all the regions : from their blissful bowers
Of amaranthine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light
Hasted, resorting to the summons high,
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
Th’ Almighty thus pronounc'd his sov'reign will:

O sons, like one of us man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got,
Happier, had it suffic'd him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not at all.
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite,
My motions in him; longer than they move,
His heart I know, how variable and vain
Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,
And live for ever, dream at least to live
For ever, to remove him I decree,
And send him from the garden forth to till
The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.

Michael, thís my behest have thou in charge,
Take to thee from among the cherubim
Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the fiend,
Or in alf of man, or to invade
Vacant possession, some new trouble raise :

Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God
Without remorse drive out the sinful pair
From hallow'd ground th' unholy, and denounce
To them and to their progeny from thence
Perpetual banishment. Yet lest they faint
At the sad sentence rigorously urg'd,
For I behold them soften'd, and with tears
Bewailing their excess, all terror hide.
If patiently thy bidding they obey,
Dismiss them not disconsolate ; reveal
To Adam what shall come in future days,
As I shall thee enlighten; intermix
My covenant in the woman's seed renew'd;
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace :
And on the east side of the garden place,
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs,
Cherubic watch, and of a sword the flame
Wide-waving, all approach far off to fright,
And guard all passage to the tree of life:
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
To spirits foul, and all my trees their prey,
With whose stol'n fruit man once more to delude.

He ceas'd ; and th' archangelic pow'r prepar'd
For swift descent, with him the cohort bright
Of watchful cherubim : four faces each
Had, like a double Janus, all their shape
Spangled with eyes, more numerous than those
Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse.
Charm'd with Arcadian pipe, the pastral reed
Of Hermes, or his opiate rod. Meanwhile
To re-salute the world with sacred light
Leucothea wak'd, and with fresh dews embalm'd
The earth, when Adam and first matron Eve
Had ended now their orisons, and found
Strength added from above, new hope to spring
Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd ;
Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd :

Eve, easily may faith admit, that all
The good which we enjoy, from heav'n descends ;

But that from us aught should ascend to heav'n
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God, high-blest, or to incline his will,
Hard to belief may seem ; yet this will prayer,
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Ev'n to the seat of God. For since I sought
By pray'r th' offended Deity, t appease,
Kneeld and before him humbled all my heart,
Methought I saw him placable and mild,
Bending his ear; persuasion in me grew
That I was heard with favour; peace return'd
Home to my breast, and to my memory
His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe :
Which then not minded in dismay, yet now
Assures me that the bitterness of death
Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee,
Eve rightly call’d mother of all mankind,
Mother of all things living, since by thee
Man is to live, and all things live for man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek:
Ill worthy I such title should belong
To me transgressor, who for thee ordain'd
A help, became thy snare; to me reproach
Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise:
But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
That I who first brought death on all, am grac'd
The source of life; next favourable thou,
Who highly thus to entitle me vouchsaf'st,
Far other name deserving. But the field
To labour calls us now with sweat impos’d,
Though after sleepless night; for see the morn,
All unconcerned with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling ; let us forth,
I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoin'i
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks ?
Here let us live, though in fall’n state, content.

[ocr errors]

So spake, so wish'd much humbled Eve, but fate Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impress'd On bird, beast, air, air suddenly eclips'd After short blush of morn ; nigh in her sight The bird of Jove, stoop'd from his airy tour, Two birds of gayest plume before him drove : Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods, First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace, Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind; Direct 'to th' eastern gate was bent their flight. Adam observ'd, and with his eye the chace Pursuing, not unmov'd to Eve thus spake :

O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which heav'n by these mute signs in nature shows, Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn Us haply too secure of our discharge From penalty, because from death releas'd Some days; how long, and what till then our life, Who knows, or more than this, that we are dust, And thither must return and be no more? Why else this double object in our sight Of flight pursu'd in th' air, and o'er the ground, One way

the self-same hour? why in the east
Darkness ere day's mid course, and morning light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,
And slow descends, with something heav'nly fraught?

He err'd not, for by this the heav'nly bands
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt,
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimm'd Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilion'd with his guardians bright;
Nor that which on the flaming mount appear'd
In Dothan, cover'd with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
One man, assassin like, had levied war,

War unproclaim'd. The princely hièrach
In their bright stand there left his pow’rs to seize
Possession of the garden; he alone,
To find where Adam shelter'd took his way,
Not unperceiv'd of Adam, who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake :

Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observ'd; for I descry
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hills,
One of the heav'nly host, and by his gait
None of the meanest, some great potentate,
Or of the thrones above, such majesty
Invests him coming; yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime, whom not t offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.

He ended ; and th' archangel, soon drew nigh, Not in his shape celestial, but as man Clad to meet man; over his lucid arms A military vest of purple flow'd, Livelier than Melibean, or the grain Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old, In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof; His starry helm unbuckled show'd him prime 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 mayst repent, And one bad act, with many

deeds well done, Mayst cover : well may then thy Lord appeasid, Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim ;

« AnteriorContinuar »