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Without wrath or reviling. We expected
Immediate dissolution, which we thought
Was meant by death that day; when, lo! to thee 1050
Pains only in child-bearing were foretold,
And bringing forth, soon recompensed with joy,
Fruit of thy womb. On me the curse aslope
Glanced on the ground. With labour I must earn
My bread; what harm ? Idleness had been worse;
My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold
Or heat should injure us, His timely care
Hath, unbesought, provided, and His hands
Clothed us unworthy, pitying while He judged.
How much more, if we pray Him, will His ear

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Be open, and His heart to pity incline,
And teach us further by what means to shun
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow !
Which now the sky, with various face, begins
To show us in this mountain, while the winds
Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks
Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish
Our limbs benumbed-ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the night, how we his gathered beams 107
Reflected may with matter sere foment;
Or, by collision of two bodies, grind
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds,
Justling, or pushed with winds, rude in their shock,
Tine the slant lightning, whose thwart flame, driven down
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine,
And sends a comfortable heat from far,
Which might supply the sun. Such fire to use,
And what may else be remedy or cure
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,

1080 He will instruct us praying, and of grace Beseeching Him ; so as we need not fear To pass commodiously this life, sustained By Him with many comforts, till we end

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In dust, our final rest and native home.
What better can we do than, to the place
Repairing where He judged us, prostrate fall
Before Him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek?
Undoubtedly He will relent, and turn
From His displeasure, in whose look serene,
When angry most He seemed and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy shone?”.

So spake our father, penitent; nor Eve
Felt less remorse. They, forthwith to the place
Repairing where He judged them, prostrate fell
Before Him reverent, and both confessed
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeigned and humiliation meek.

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BOOK XI.

THE ARGUMENT

The Son of God presents to His Father the prayers of our first parents now repenting, and intercedes for them. God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise ; sends Michael with a band of cherubim to dispossess them, but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michael's coming down. Adam shows to Eve certain ominous signs : he discerns Michael's approach ; goes out to meet him : the angel denounces their departure. Eve's lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: the angel leads him up to a high hill ; sets before him in vision what shall happen till the flood.

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Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above
Prevenient grace descending had removed
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breathed
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight
Than loudest oratory. Yet their port
Not of mean suitors; nor important less
Seemed their petition than when the ancient pair
In fables old, less ancient yet than these,
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine
Of Themis stood devout. To Heaven their prayers
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds
Blown vagabond or frustrate : in they passed
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then, clad
With incense, where the golden altar fumed,
By their great Intercessor, came in sight
Before the Father's throne. Them the glad Son
Presenting, thus to intercede began :-

“See, Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung

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From Thy implanted grace in man—these sighs
And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixed
With incense, I, Thy Priest, before Thee bring;
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from Thy seed
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen
From innocence. Now, therefore, bend Thine ear
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute;
Unskilful with what words to pray, let Me
Interpret for him, Me his Advocate
And Propitiation ; all his works on Me,
Good or not good, ingraft; My merit those
Shall perfect, and for these My death shall pay.
Accept Me, and in Me from these receive
The smell of peace toward mankind ; let him live,
Before Thee reconciled, at least his days
Numbered, though sad, till death, his doom (which I
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse),
To better life shall yield him, where with Me
All My redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss,
Made one with Me, as I with Thee am one.”

To whom the Father, without cloud, serene :

All Thy request for man, accepted Son,
Obtain ; all Thy request was My decree.
But longer in that Paradise to dwell
The law I gave to nature him forbids ;
Those pure immortal elements, that know
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul,
Eject him, tainted now, and purge him off,
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross,
And mortal food, as may dispose him best
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt
Corrupted. I, at first, with two fair gifts
Created him endowed with happiness
And immortality ; that fondly lost,

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This other served but to eternise woe,
Till I provided death : so death becomes
His final remedy, and, after life
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined
By faith and faithful works, to second life,
Waked in the renovation of the just,
Resigns him up with heaven and earth renewed.
But let Us call to synod all the blessed
Through Heaven's wide bounds; from them I will not hide
My judgments—how with mankind I proceed,
As how with peccant angels late they saw,

70 And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed.”

He ended, and the Son gave signal high
To the bright minister that watched. He blew
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
When God descended, and perhaps once more
To sound at general doom. The angelic blast
Filled all the regions : from their blissful bowers
Of amarantine shade, fountain or spring,
By the waters of life, where'er they sat
In fellowships of joy, the sons of light

80 Hasted, resorting to the summons high, And took their seats, till from His throne supreme The Almighty thus pronounced His sovereign will :0

sons, like one of us man is become,
To know both good and evil, since his taste
Of that defended fruit; but let him boast
· His knowledge of good lost and evil got;
Happier had it sufficed him to have known
Good by itself and evil not at all.
He sorrows now, repents, and prays

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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
For ever), to remove him I decree,

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