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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 fallen state, content.
So spake, so wish'd much-humbled Eve; but fate
Subscrib'd not; nature first gave signs, impress'd
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 bind;
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 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 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 powers 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. 225
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 th' 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 flowed,
Livelier than Melibaan, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipp'd the woof;
His starry helm unbuckled show'd him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side
As in a glistering zodiac hung the sword,
232 Or] Lord of the Thrones above. Bentl. MS. 242 Melibæan] Virg. Æn. V. 251.
Purpura meandro duplici Melibæa cucurrit.' and Georg. ii. 506. Sarrano indormiat ostro.' Hume.
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
Giv’n 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 thee quite from death's rapacious claim;
But longer in this paradise to dwell
Permits not: to remove thee 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 265
Yet all had heard, with audible lament
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 ev’n, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first op’ning bud, and gave ye names,
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from th' 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
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.
273 O flowers] See Ovidii Metam. V. 399, of Proserpine.
Collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis :
Tantaque simplicitas puerilibus adfuit annis,
Hæc quoque virgineum movit jactura dolorem.' 280 nuptial] Compare Euripidis Alcestis, v. 247.
Γαία τε, και μελάθρων στέγαι
Νυμφιδιαι τε κοιται