Billeder på siden


And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoil'd
Guiana, whose great city Geryon's fons
Call El Dorado : But to nobler sights
Michael from Adam's eyes the film remov'd,
Which that falle fruit that promis'd clearer sight
Had bred; then purg'd with euphrasy and rue.
The visual nerve, for he had much to see ; 415
And from the well of life three drops instilld.
So deep the power of these ingredients pierc'd,
Even to the inmoft seat of mental sight,
That Adam, now inforc'd to close his eyes,
Sunk down, and all his fpi'rits become intranc'd; 420
But him the gentle angel by the hand
Soon rais'd, and his attention thus recall’d.

Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold
Th'effects which thy original crime hath wrought
In fome to spring from thee, who never touch'd 425
Th’excepted tree, nor with the snake confpir'd,
Nor sinn'd thy fin, yet from that sin derive
Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds.

His eyes he open'd, and beheld a field, Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves

530 New reap'd, the other part sheep-walks and folds; l'th' midit an altar as a land-mark stood, Rustic, of graffy ford ; thither anon A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought First fruits, the green ear and the yellow sheaf, 435 Unculld, as came to hand; a shepherd next, More meek, came with the firalings of his flock Choicest and best ; then facrificing, laid The inwards and their fat, with incense strow'd, On the cleft wood, and all due rites perform'd. 440 His offering soon propitious fire from heaven Consum'd with nimble glance and grateful fean;

[ocr errors]

The other's not, for his was not lincere:
Whereat he inly rag'd, and as they talk'd,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone

That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effus'd.
Much at that fight was Adam in his heart
Dismay'd, and thus in haste to th' angel cry'd.

O teacher, some great mischief hath befall’n 450 To that meek man, who well had facrific'd ; Is piety thus and pure devotion paid ?

T' whom Michael thus, he also mov'd, reply'd. These two are brethren, Adam, and to come Oat of thy loins; th' unjust the just hath flain, 455 For envy that his brother's offering found From heav'n acceptance; but the bloody fact Will be aveng'd; and th' other's faith approv'd Lose no reward, thn' here thou see him die, Rolling in dust and gore. To which our fire.

460 Alas, both for the deed and for the cause ! But have I now seen death? Is this the way I must return to native dust ? O fight Of terror, foul and ugly to behold, Horrid to think, how horrible to feel ! .

465 To whom thus Michaël." Death thou haft feen In his first shape on man; but many shapes Of Death, and many are the ways that lead To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense More terrible at th' entrance than within. Some, as thou fawift, by violent ftreke shall die, By fire, flood, famine ; by intemp'rancé more In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monitrous crew Before thee shall appear; that thou mayft koow 475 What misery th’inabstinence of Eve Shall bring on men. Immediately a place




[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Before his eyes appear'd, fad, noifome, dark,
A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-lick agony, all fev'rous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepfies, fierce catarrhs,
Inteltine stone and ulcer, colic pangs,
Demoniac phrenzy, moaping melancholy, 485
And moon. Itruck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
Đropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the toffing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the fick, busiest from couch to couch; 490;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, tho' oft invok'u
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-ey'd behold ? Adam could not, but wept, 495
Though not of woman born; compaflion quell'd
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts reltrain'd excess;
And scarce recovering words his plaint renew’d.
O miserable mankind, to what fall

Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd !
Better end here. unborn. Why is life given
To be thus wrested from us? rather why,
Obtruded on us thus? who; if we knew
What we receive, would either not accept

Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,
Glad to be so dismiss'd in peace. Can thus
Th'image of God in man, created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unfightly fufferings be debas'd

510 Under inhuman pains ? Why should not man, Retaining till divine fimilitude

[ocr errors]


In part, from such deformities be free,
And for his Maker's image-fake exempt ?

Their Maker's image, anfwer'd Michael, then 515
Forsook them, when themselves they vilify'd
To serve ungovern'd appetite, and took
His image whom they fery'd, a brutish vice,
Inductive niainly to the fin of Eve.
Therefore fo abject is their punishment,

Disfiguring not God's likenefs, but their own,
Or if his likeness, by themselves defac'd,
While they pervert pure nature's healthful rules
To loathsome fickness; worthily, fince they
God's image did not reverence in themselves, 524

1 yield it just, faid Adam, and fubmit.
But is there yet no other way, besides
These painful passages, how we may come
To death, and mix with our connatural duft ?

There is, said Michael, if thod well observe 530
The rule of not too much, by temp'rance taught,
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till many years over thy head return;
So may'lt thou live, till like ripe fruit thou drop 535
Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease
Gather'd, not harshly pluck’d, for Death mature:
This is old age; but then thou must outlive
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, whịch will change
To wither’d, weak, and gray; thy fenses then 540
Obtufe, all taste of pleasure must forego;
To what thou haft; and for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume

$45 The balm of life. To whom our ancestor. Henceforth I fly not Deatb, nor would prolong

Life much; bent rather how I may be quit
Fairest and eafiest of this cumbrous charge ;
Which I must keep till my appointed day.

550 Of rend'ring up, and patiently attend My diffolution. Michaël reply'd.

Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st, Live well; how long or short, permit to heav'n: And now prepare thee for another fight.

555 He look d, and faw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue; by some were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the found Of instruments that made melodious chime Was heard, of harp and organ; and who mov'd 560 Their stops and chords was seen; his volant touch Instinct through all proportions, low and high, Fled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue. In other part stood one who at the forge Lab'ring, two masfy clods of iron and brass 565 Had melted, (whether found where casual fire Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot To fome cave's mouth, or whether wash'd by stream From under ground), the liquid ore he drainid 570 Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he form'd First his own tools; then what might else be wrought Fusil or graven in metal. After these, But on the hither side, a different fort From the high neighb’ring hills, which was their feat, Down to the plain descended : by their guise 576 Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent To worship God aright, and know his works Not hid. nor those things last which might preserve Freedom and peace to men: they on the plain

580 Long had not walk’d, when from the tents behold. A bevy of fair women, richly gay


« ForrigeFortsæt »