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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. 791
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,
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 power. Will he draw out,
For anger's sake, finite to infinite
In punish'd man, to satisfy his rigor
Satisfy'd never ? that were to extend
His sentence beyond dust and Nature's law,
By which all causes else according still
To the reception of their matter act,

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Not to th' extent of their own sphere. But say That death be not one stroke, as I suppos’d, Bereaving sense, but endless misery

810 From this day onward, which I feel begun Both in me, and without me, and so last 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 in my part single, in me all Posterity stands cursd : fair patrimony That I must leave ye, Sons; O were I able To waste it all myself, and leave ye none ! 829 So disinherited how would

you

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 831 On me, me only, as the source and spring Of all corruption, all the blame lights due ; So might the wrath. Fond wish! couldst thou supThat burden heavier than the earth to bear, (port 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 future,

840
To Satan only like both crime and doom.
O Conscierce! into what abyss of fears
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, nct 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, hillocks, dales, and bowers, With other echo late I taught your shades

861 To answer, and resound far other song. Whom thus afflicted whep sad Eve beheld, Desolate where she sat, approaching nigh, Soft words to his fier passion she assay'd: But her with stern regard he thus repellid:

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 color serpentine may show 870
Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heav'nly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, 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 devil himself, him overweening
To over-reach, but with the serpent meeting
Fool'd and beguild, by him thou, I by thee, 880
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. why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heav'n
With spirits masculine, create at last 890
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of Nature, and not fill the world at once
With men as ángels without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind ? this mischief had not then befall'n,
And more that shall befal, 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; 900
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd.
By a far worse, or if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary’, his hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To buman life, and household peace confound.

He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve Not so repuls’d, with tears that ceas'd not flowing, And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

911 Fell humble, and embracing them besought His

peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint:

Forsake me not thus, Adam; witness Heav'n What love sincere, and reverence in

my

heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv’d; thy suppliant
I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,

920
My only strength and stay, forlorn of thee,
Whither shall I betake me, where subsist?
While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
Between us two let there be peace, both joining,
As join'd in injuries, one enmity
Against a foe by doom express'd assign'd us,
That cruel serpent: on me exercise sot

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