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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 aery 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 the chase
Pursuing, not unmov'd, to Eve thus spake.
"O Eve! some further change awaits us nigh, Which heaven 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 heavenly fraught?"
He err'd not, for by this the heavenly 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, covered with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
One man, assassin like, had levied war,
War unproclaim'd. The princely hierarch
In their bright stand there left his powers to seize
Possession of the garden; he alone,
To find where Adam sheltered, 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 hill,
One of the heavenly 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 to' offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire."
He ended; and the' 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 dipp'd the woof;
His starry helin, unbuckled, show'd him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
As in a glistering 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! heaven's high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure, many days
Given thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
May'st cover: well may then thy Lord, appeas'd,
Redeem the quite from death's rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not; to remove thec I am come,
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
Heart-struck with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen,
Yet all had heard, with audible lamen
Discover'd soon the place of her retire.
"O unexpected stroke, worse than of death! Must I thus leave thee, paradise? thus leave Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades, Fit haunt of gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the Sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the' ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorn'd
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world: to this obscure
And wild? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustom'd to immortal fruits?"
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild:-
"Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine :
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil."
Adam by this from the cold sudden damp Recovering, and his scatter'd spirits return'd, To Michael thus his humble words address'd.
"Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam'd Of them the highest, 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 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:
But pray'r against his absolute decree
No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth :
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me, that departing hence,
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
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,
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 I fled him angry, yet recall'd
To life prolong'd and promis'd race, I now
Gladly behold 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's his, and all the earth
Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills
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
And reverence thee, their great progenitor.
But this preeminence 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."
DEPARTURE OF ADAM AND EVE FROM PARADISE.
He ended, and they both descend the hill:
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before: but found her wak'd;.
And thus with words not sad she him receiv'd :-
"Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, I know: For God is also' in sleep; and dreams advise, Which he hath sent propitious, some great good Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;
In me is no delay; with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling: thou to me
Art all things under Heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such favour I unworthy am vouchsat'd,
By me the promised seed shall all restore."
So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
Well pleas'd, but answer'd not: for now too nigh
The archangel stood; and from the other hill
To their fix'd station, all in bright array,
The Cherubim descended; on the ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist
Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel
Homeward returning. High in front advanc'd,
The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd,
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
And vapour as the Libyan air adust,
Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat,
In either hand the hastening angel caught
Our lingering parents, and to the' eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappeared.
They, looking back, all the' eastern side beheld Of Paradise, so late their happy seat, Wav'd over by that flaming brand; the gate With dreadful faces throng'd, and fiery arms. Some natural tears they dropt, but wip'd them soon: The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide! They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow, Through Eden took their solitary way.
SCENE FROM COMUS.
A wild wood. The Lady enters.
Lady. This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, My best guide now. Methought it was the sound Of riot and ill manag'd merriment,
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,
Stirs up among the loose, unletter'd hinds;
When from their teeming flocks, and granges full,