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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 human 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, 910
And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet

Fell humble, and embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.
FORSAKE me not thus, Adam, witness Heaven
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,
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,

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More miserable; both have sinn'd, but thou
Against God only', I against God and thee,

And to the place of judgment will return,


There with my cries importune Heav'n, that all
The sentence from thy head remov'd may light

On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,

Me, me only, just object of his ire.

SHE ended weeping, and her lowly plight, Immoveable till peace obtain'd from fault Acknowledg'd and deplor'd, in Adam wrought Commiseration; soon his heart relented Tow'ards her, his life so late and sole delight, Now at his feet submissive in distress,



Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,

His council whom she had displeas'd, his aid:

As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,


And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon.
UNWARY', and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou know'st not, who desir❜st
The punishment all on thyself; alas,

Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain


His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers

Could alter high decrees, I to that place

Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,

That on my head all might be visited,


Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,

To me committed and by me expos'd.

But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame

Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere, but strive
In offices of love, how we may lighten


Each other's burden, in our share of woe;

Since this day's death denounc'd, if ought I see,

Will prove no sudden, but a slow-pac’d evil,
A long day's dying to augment our pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) deriv’d.

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, reply'd.
Adam, by sad experiment I know

How little weight my words with thee can find,

Found so erroneous, thence by just event

Found so unfortunate; nevertheless,
Restor'd by thee, vile as I am, to place
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
Tending to some relief of our extremes,
Or end, though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,




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Our own begotten, and of our loins to bring

Into this cursed world a woful race,

That after wretched life must be at last


Food for so foul a monster; in thy power

It lies, yet ere conception to prevent

The race unblest, to be'ing yet unbegot.

Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
Shall be deceiv'd his glut, and with us two


Be forc'd to satisfy his ravenous maw.
But if thon judge it hard and difficult,

Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain

From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,
And with desire to languish without hope,
Before the present object languishing


With like desire, which would be misery

And torment less than none of what we dread;

Then both ourselves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both, let us make short,
Let us seek Death, or he not found, supply
With our own hands his office on ourselves:
Why stand we longer shivering under fears,


That shew no end but death, and have the power,
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
Destruction with destruction to destroy?

SHE ended here, or vehement despair

Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
Had entertain'd, as dy'd her cheeks with pale.
But Adam with such counsel nothing sway'd
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Lab'ring had rais'd, and thus to Eve reply'd.
Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contemns;
But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes
That excellence thought in thee, and implies
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
For loss of life and pleasure overlov'd.
Or if thou covet death, as utmost end

Of misery, so thinking to evade

The penalty pronounc'd, doubt not but Cod

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Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire than so
To be forestall'd; much more I fear lest death
So snatch'd will not exempt us from the pain
We are by doom to pay; rather such acts
Of contumacy will provoke the Highest
To make death in us live: Then let us seek
Some safer resolution, which methinks


I have in view, calling to mind with heed


Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise

The Serpent's head; piteous amends, unless

Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe
Satan, who in the serpent hath contriv'd
Against us this deceit: to crush his head
Would be revenge indeed; which will be lost
By death brought on ourselves, or childless days
Resolv'd as thou proposest; so our foe


Shall 'scape his punishment ordain'd, and we
Instead shall double ours upon our heads.


No more be mention'd then of violence
Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness,
That cuts us off from hope, and savours only
Rancour and pride, impatience and despite,
Reluctance against God and his just yoke

Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild
And gracious temper he both heard and judg'd
Without wrath or reviling; we expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought


Was meant by death that day, when lo, to thee
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth, soon recompens'd with joy,


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