Imágenes de páginas

Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank, with myrtle crow

owned, Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.

These are but short selections. There are in both poems many other cases of similar expression and thought on this theme, and similar references to fabled scenes and personages by way of contrast. Milton's description of Adam and Eve is familiar to all:

For contemplation he, and valor formed, -
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace
His fair, large front, and eye sublime, declared
Absolute rule,-and hyacinthin locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad;
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Disheveled, but in wanton ringlets waved,
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but required with gentle sway.
So hand in hand, they passed, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met,
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.

Peyton addresses Adam:

As the two lights within the firmament,
So hath thy God His glory to thee lent,
Composed thy body, exquisite and rare
That all his works cannot to thee compare,-
Like His own image drawn thy shape divine,
With curious pencil shadowed forth thy line,-
Within thy nostrils blown His holy breath,
Impaled thy head with that inspiring wreath
Which binds thy front, and elevates thine eyes
To mount His throne above the lofty skies,-
Summons His angels, in their winged order,
About thy brows to be a sacred border,–
Gives them in charge to honor this His frame,
All to admire and wonder at the same.
Now art thou complete, Adam, all beside

[ocr errors]

May not compare to this thy lovely bride,
Whose radiant tress, in silver rays to wave,
Before thy face so sweet a choice to have,
Of so divine and admirable a mould
More daintier far than is the purest gold.
But now thy God hath perfect made thy state,
Linked thee in marriage with so choice a mate,
Himself the Priest which brought her to thy hand,
And knit the knot that evermore must stand,
Ringed her with virtue, glorious beauty chaste.

Then as the tragedy advances he continues:-
But Lucifer, that soared above the sky,
And thought himself equal to God on high,
Envies thy fortune, and thy glorious birth,
In being framed but of the basest earth,-
Himself compacted of pestiferous fire,
Assumes a snake to execute his ire,
Winds him within that winding crawling beast,
And enters first where as thy strength was last.
And watching time when Adam stept aside
Even but a little from his lovely bride,
To pluck, perhaps, a nut upon the trees,
Or get a comb among the honey-bees,
Or some such thing to give his lovely spouse,-
Even just to Eve thou didst thy body rouse,
And question with her of much idle prattle.
O, cursed, damned, execrable Devil !
Delighting best in that thing which is evil:
What made thee now thy baneful speech to blow
Out of that cankered, venomed mouth below,
That Eve must reach, and in her hand to grapple,
So fair a fatal curst bewitching apple,-
And not content herself thereof to eat,
But reached another as a dainty meat;
And in her sweet, delightful, lovely hands
Runs to her lord, where all alone he stands,
'Plaining and grieving that he her had missed?

[ocr errors]

The above is a specimen of this part of the poem. The corresponding story in Milton is too song for quotation, but, like the rest of the work, is more happily constructed and finely polished than this. In the judgment and sentence, both

poems only amplify the Scriptural account. We will quote solely from the older poem, as the more recent is at hand for all who wish to make the comparison :

Adam, what made thee fearfully to hide
(Entangled in the allurements of thy bride)
Thyself from God, who, by his sacred voice,
Amongst the trees within the garden choice,
Repaired now, as oftentimes before,
To recreate, and view the various store,
Even in the cool and dawning of the day,
The winds before Him veering off His way,-
Thinking to find, as heretofore He found,
Thine innocency upright, perfect, sound ? .
Adam (quoth God), why dost thou hide thy face?
What is the cause thou art so poor and base?....
0, Heavenly God! then Adam answered straight,
I was entrapped with such a pleasing bait
That made my reason, sense, and all to yield,
My strength but weak within so strong a field,
For why? the woman which thou gavest me,
A help most meet and comfort sweet to be,
She of that tree did pluck but one in all,
And brought it to me as a sacred ball,-
The sight whereof, by her persuasion moved,
Whom more than gold and all the world I loved,
Straight in my arms began for to embrace,
And she entreating with her smiling face,
Gave me that apple in her lovely hand,
Which makes me thus before Thy sight to stand,
All naked, poor, lamenting of my fall,
As loth to speak when Thou at first did call.
She, she it was which gave me of that meat,
By her enticement only did I eat:
If I have broke thy holy, heavenly laws,
Blame her, not me, for being first the cause!
Then God again unto the woman said, -
Why hast thou thus most treacherously betrayed
Thy loving husband, and thy darling dear,
Whom to displease thou oughtst in conscience

fear? He is thy head, thy Sovereign, Lord, and King,Why dost thou thus his feet in danger bring,

Insnaring him, thyself, and issue all,
In woful danger of your souls to fall ?
Sweet God, quoth she, a foul misshapen beast,
The ugly serpent, crawling on its breast,
When but a little that I stept aside
From my dear husband's best beloved side,
A goodly fruit presented to my view,
That in the midst of all the garden grew,-
Persuaded much the only taste of it
Would far increase my simple woman's wit;
The touch thereof would sight and knowledge

Never to die, but still as Gods to live,
By which enticements snared in his trap,
He shaked the tree, and up I held my lap.
That plum alone which fell into the same
I kept it safe and to my husband came.
But yet before his presence well I saw,
Not thinking once of thine eternal law,
By fresh allurement of that snaky wight,
I viewed the same, and so of it did bite,
The which, when as that I the deed had done
Away he crawls, and leaves me all alone,-
Mine eyes i' th' instant wofully did see
The murrain elf had first beguiled me !

After a space comes the sentence:

Accursed Devil, thrice damned is all thy race,-
Thy wicked plots and secret actions base :
What made thee wind within this winding snake,
The shape of serpent in thy mind to take?.
What hast thou got for all thy villany?
A beast thou liv'st, worse than a beast thou'lt die !
And yet not die, for ever-during pain,
For this thy treason shalt be sure to gain.
The fire of my just wrath shall make thee gurne.
As burning brass thy bowels scorched shall burn, -
The worm of conscience shall torment thee ever,
And like a vulture feed upon thy liver,-
That still in death a horrid fearful smart
Shall dying live to overload thy heart.
Thy tongue shall be a sure and certain token
How false to woman thy curst mouth has spoken;
For in the same a forked sting shall be,
That after times may still thy envy see,-
And all her race shall thee torment and vex,
And thou again shalt scare her fearful sex,-
Lurking in dens and secret holes obscure,
To trap the just with baneful breath impure.
In every path, and out of every hedge,
Thy poison fell in human flesh shall wedge,
That when thou time and place to purpose feel
Thy venomed tongue shall bite them by the heel.
The woman's seed in just revenge again,
Thy head shall break, and cursed action's bane,
When that sweet babe shall to the world be born
That heaven and earth with glory shall adorn.
O silly woman to be thus beguiled !
In sorrow now thou shalt bring forth thy child :
Thy husband now shall overrule thee still,
Thy fond desires be subject to his will.
Heaven's glorious judge to Adam also said,-
Because thy wife thou hast an idol made,
To trace her steps which lead to deadly sin,
Thou dost but now to feel thy woe begin.
Curst is the earth, and curst is for thy sake,-
The fruit thereof accursed will I make :
In great vexation, extreme labor, pain,
Toil, sweat, and dust, thou shalt much sorrow gain.
The earth henceforth shall now no more endure
Unless thou till, and much her sides manure;
And when thou think'st thy barns, top full to fill,
Thy vintage stored with plenty at thy will,
In monstrous mows to pile a wondrous heap,
Then thistles, thorns instead thereof thou'lt reap.
Much like the beast, which on his belly feeds,
So shalt thou live, by herbs and garden seeds,
Till thou return unto the earth again
And that therein thy limbs all cold be lain.
This is the mother that thy body nurst;
Out of the same thou wast taken first;
Sorrow and sickness shall thy body burn,
For dust thou art, to dust thou shalt return.
O Heavenly God here is a judgment past,
Throughout the world eternally to last.
No writ of error can the same revoke,
When as the words by thine own mouth are spoke,

« AnteriorContinuar »