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Satisfied never? That were to extend

His sentence beyond dust and nature's law,
By which all causes else, according still
To the reception of their matter, act;

Not to the extent of their own sphere. But say
That death be not one stroke, as I supposed,
Bereaving sense, but endless misery

From this day onward: which I feel begun
Both in me, and without me; and so last
To perpetuity: ay me! that fear

Comes thundering back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head; both death and I
Are found eternal, and incorporate both :
Nor I on my part single; in me all
Posterity stands cursed: fair patrimony
That I must leave ye, sons! O, were I able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none !
So disinherited, how would ye bless

Me, now your curse? Ah, why should all mankind,
For one man's fault, thus guiltless be condemn'd,
If guiltless? But from me what can proceed,
But all corrupt; both mind and will depraved
Not to do only, but to will the same
With me? How can they then acquitted stand
In sight of God? Him, after all disputes,
Forced I absolve: all my evasions vain,
And reasonings, though through mazes, lead me still
But to my own conviction: first and last

On me, me only, as the source and spring
Of all corruption, all the blame lights due;

So might the wrath! Fond wish! couldst thou sup


That burden, heavier than the earth to bear;
Than all the world much heavier, though divided
With that bad woman? Thus, what thou desirest,
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and future;
To Satan only like both crime and doom.

O conscience! into what abyss of fears

And horrors hast thou driven me; out of which I find no way, from deep to deeper plunged !'

Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,

Through the still night; not now, as ere man fell,
Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black air
Accompanied; with damps and dreadful gloom;
Which to his evil conscience represented

All things with double terror: on the ground
Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground; and oft
Cursed his creation; death as oft accused
Of tardy execution, since denounced

The day of his offence. Why comes not death,'
Said he, with one thrice-acceptable stroke
To end me? Shall truth fail to keep her word,
Justice divine not hasten to be just?

But death comes not at call; justice divine
Mends not her slowest pace for prayers or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocks, dales, and bowers!
With other echo late I taught your shades
To answer, and resound far other song.'
Whom thus afflicted when sad Eve beheld,
Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh,
Soft words to his fierce passion she assay'd;
But her with stern regard he thus repell'd:

'Out of my sight, thou serpent! That name best
Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false
And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
Thy inward fraud; to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heavenly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, snare them! But for thee
I had persisted happy: had not thy pride
And wandering vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted; longing to be seen,
Though by the devil himself; him overweening
To over-reach; but, with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguiled; by him thou, I by thee,

To trust thee from my side; imagined wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults;
And understood not all was but a show,
Rather than solid virtue; all but a rib
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary

To my just number found. O! why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With men, as angels, without feminine;
Or find some other way to generate

Mankind? This mischief had not then befallen,
And more that shall befall; innumerable
Disturbances on earth through female snares,
And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain,
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary, his hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause

Ta human life, and household peace confound."
He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve,
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing,
And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:

'Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness heaven
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart.
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceived! Thy suppliant

I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,

Thy counsel, in this uttermost distress,

My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee,
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?

While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps, Between us two let there be peace; both joining

As join'd in injuries, one enmity

Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel serpent: on me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befallen;
On me already lost, me than thyself

More miserable! both have sinn'd; but thou
Against God only, I against God and thee;
And to the place of judgement will return,
There with my cries impórtune Heaven; that all
The sentence, from thy head removed, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe;
Me, me only, just object of his ire!' .

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
Immoveable, till peace obtain'd from fault
Acknowledged and deplored, in Adam wrought
Commiseration: soon his heart relented
Towards her, his life so late, and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress;
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel, whom she had displeased, his aid:
As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,

And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon:
Unwary, and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou know'st not, who desirest
The punishment all on thyself; alas!

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain

His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers

Could alter high decrees, I to that place
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited;
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
To me committed, and by me exposed.
But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame

Each other, blamed enough elsewhere; but strive

In offices of love, how we may lighten

Each other's burden, in our share of woe;
Since this day's death denounced, if aught I see,
Will prove no sudden, but a slow-paced evil;
A long day's dying to augment bur pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) derived.'

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, replied:
Adam, by sad experiment I know

How little weight my words with thee can find,
Found so erroneous; thence by just event
Found so unfortunate: nevertheless,
Restored by thee, vile as I am, to place
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
Tending to some relief of our extremes,
Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
As in our evils, and of easier choice.

If care of our descent perplex us most,
Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
By death at last; and miserable it is,

To be to others cause of misery,

Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring
Into this cursed world a woeful race,
That after wretched life must be at last
Food for so foul a monster; in thy power
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
The race unblest, to being yet unbegot.
Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two
Be forced to satisfy his ravenous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet;
And with desire to languish without hope,
Before the present object languishing
With like desire; which would be misery

And torment less than none of what we dread;
Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free

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