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Sufficient penalty, why hast thou added
The sense of endless woes ? Inexplicable
Thy justice seems; yet to say truth, too late 755
I thus contest; then should have been refus'd
Those terms whatever, when they were propos'd :
Thou didst accept them; wilt thou enjoy the good,
Then cavil the conditions ? and though God
Made thee without thy leave, what if thy son 760
Prove disobedient, and reprov'd, retort,
Wherefore didst thou beget me? I sought it not :
Wouldst thou admit for his contempt of thee
That proud excuse ? yet him not thy election,
But natural necessity begot.

God made thee' of choice his own, and of his own
To serve him; thy reward was of his grace,
Thy punishment then justly' is at his will.
Be' it so, for I submit; his doom is fair,
That dust I am, and shall to dust return :

770 O welcome hour whenever! Why delays His hand to execute what his decree Fix'd on this day? Why do I overlive, Why am I mock'd with death, and lengthen'd out To deathless pain ? How gladly woald I' meet

775 Mortality my sentence, and be earth Insensible, how glad would lay me down As in my mother's lap? There I should rest And sleep secure; his dreadful voice no more Would thunder in my ears, no fear of worse

780 To me and to my offspring would torment me With cruel expectation. Yet one doubt


Pursues me still, lest all I cannot die,
Lest that pure breath of life, the spi'rit of Man
Which God inspir'd, cannot together perish
With this corporeal clod; then in the grave,
Or in some other dismal place, who knows
But I shall die a living death? O thought
Horrid, if true! yet why? it was but breath
Of life that sinn'd; what dies but what had life

And sin? the body properly hath neither.
All of me then shall die : let this appease
The doubt, since human reach no further knows.
For though the Lord of all be infinite,
Is his wrath also ? Be it, Man is not so,

795 But mortal doom'd. How can he exercise Wrath without end on Man whom death must end? Can he make deathless death? That were to make Strange contradiction, which to God himself Impossible is held, as argument

800 Of weakness not of pow'r. Will he draw out, For anger's sake, finite to infinite In punish'd Man, to satisfy his rigour Satisfy'd never? That were to extend His sentence beyond dust and nature's law,

805 By which all causes else according still To the reception of their matter act, Not to th' extent of their own sphere. But say That death be not one stroke, as I supposid, Bereaving sense, but endless misery

810 From this day onward, which I feel begun Both in me, and without me, and so last


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To perpetuity; Ay me, that fear
Comes thund'ring back with dreadful revolution
On my defenceless head; both Death and I
Am found eternal, and incorporate both,
Nor I on my part single, in me all
Posterity stands curs'd: Fair patrimony,
That I must leave ye, Sons; O were 1 able
To waste it all myself, and leave ye none ! 820
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 deprav’d,
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
Forc'd 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! could'st thou support
That burden heavier than the earth to bear,
Than all the world much heavier, though divided
With that bad Woman? Thus what thou desir'st
And what thou fear'st, alike destroys all hope
Of refuge, and concludes thee miserable
Beyond all past example and futúre,

To Satan only like both crime and doom.
O conscience, into what abyss of fears

835 845


And horrors hast thou driv'n me; out of which
I find no way, from deep to deeper plung'd!

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 850
Outstretch'd he lay, on the cold ground, and oft
Curs'd his creation, death as oft accus'd
Of tardy execution, since denounc'd
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 pray’rs or cries.
O woods, O fountains, hillocs, dales and bowers,

860 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 :

865 But her with stern regard he thus repell’d.

Out of my sight, thou Serpent; that name best
Befits thee with him leagu'd, 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 heav'nly form, pretended

870 875


To hellish falschood, snare them. But for thee
I had persisted happy', had not thy pride
And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen
Though by the Dev'il himself, him overweening
To over-reach, but with the Serpent meeting
Fool'd and beguild, by him thou, I by thee, 886
To trust thee from my side, imagin’d 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 befall'n,

895 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


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