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In fellowships of joy, the sons of light

So
Hasted, resorting to the summons high,
And took their seats; till from his throne supreme
Th’Almighty thus pronounc'd his sov'reign will.

O Sons, like one of us Man is become
To know both good and evil, since his taste

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Of that defended fruit; bat let him boast
His knowledge of good lost, and evil got,
Happier had it suffic'd him to have known
Good by itself, and evil not at all.
He sorrows now, repents, and prays contrite,
My motions in him : longer than they move,
His heart I know, how variable and vain
Self-left. Lest therefore his now bolder hand
Reach also of the tree of life, and eat,
And live for ever, dream at least to live

95 For ever, to remove him I decree, And send him from the garden forth to till The ground whence he was taken, fitter soil.

MICHAEL, this my behest have thou in charge, Take to thee from among the Cherubim

100 Thy choice of flaming warriors, lest the Fiend, Or in behalf of Man, or to invade Vacant possession, some new trouble raise : Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God Without remorse drive out the sinful pair,

105 From hallow'd ground th' unholy,' and denounce To them and to their progeny from thence Perpetual banishment. Yet lest they faint At the sad sentence rigorously urg'd, For I behold them soften'd and with tears

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Bewailing their excess, all terror hide.
If patiently thy bidding they obey,
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveal
To Adam what shall come in future days,
As I shall thee enlighten; intermix

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My covenant in the Woman's seed renew'd;
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace :
And on the east side of the garden place,
Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs,
Cherubic watch, and of a sword the flame
Wide-waving, all approach far off to fright,
And guard all passage to the tree of life:
Lest Paradise a receptacle prove
To Spirits foul, and all my trees their prey,
With whose stol'n fruit Man once more to delude. 125

He ceas’d; and the angelic Pow'r prepar'd For swift descent, with him the cohort bright Of watchful Cherubim; four faces each Had, like a double Janus, all their shape Spangled with eyes, more numerous than those 130 Of Argus, and more wakeful than to drowse, Charm’d with Arcadian pipe, the past'ral reed Of Hermes, or his opiaté rod. Meanwhile To re-salute the world with sacred light Leucothea wak’d, and with fresh dews imbalm'd 135 The earth, when Adam and first matron Eve Had ended now their orisons, and found Strength added from above, new hopes to spring Out of despair, joy, but with fear yet link'd; Which thus to Eve his welcome words renew'd. 140

Eve, easily may faith admit, that all

The good which we enjoy, from Heav'n descends;
But that from us ought should ascend to Heaven
So prevalent as to concern the mind
Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,

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Hard to belief may seem; yet this will prayer
Or one short sigh of human breath, upborne
Ev'n to the seat of God. For since I sought
By pray'r th' offended Deity to' appease,
Kneeld and before him humbled all my heart,

150 Methought I saw him placable and mild, Bending his ear ; persuasion in me grew That I was heard with favour; peace return'd Home to my breast, and to my memory His promise, that thy seed shall bruise our foe; 153 Which then not minded in dismay, yet now Assures me that the bitterness of death Is past, and we shall live. Whence hail to thee, Eve rightly call’d, mother of all mankind, Mother of all things living, since by thee

160 Man is to live, and all things live for Man.

To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek, Ill worthy I such title should belong To me transgressor, who for thee ordain'd A help, became thy snare; to me reproach 165 Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise : But infinite in pardon was my Judge, That I who first brought death on all, am grac'd The source of life; next favourable thou, Who highly thus to' intitle me vouchsaf 'st, 170 Far other name deserving. But the field To labour calls us now with sweat impos'd,

Though after sleepless night; for see the morn,
All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling; let us forth,

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I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
Where'er our day's work lies, though now enjoin'd
Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
Here let us live, though in fall’n state, content. 180

So spake, so wish'd much-humbled Eve, but fate Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impressid 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 airy tour, 185 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. 190 Adam observ’d, and with his eye the chase Pursuing, not unmov'd to Eve thus spake.

O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heav'n by these mute signs in nature shews, Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn

195 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

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Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws

205 O'er the blue firmament a radiant white, And slow descends, with something heav'nly 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, cover?d 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 Pow'rs to seize
Possession of the garden ; he alone
To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way,
Not unperceiv'd of Adam, who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake.

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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 heav'nly host, and by his gait

230 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,

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