Page images





Man's transgression known, the guardian angels for.

sake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to approve their rigilance, and are approved; God declaring that the entrance of Satan could not be by them prevented. He sends his Son to judge the transgressors who descends and gives sentence accordingly; then in pity clothes them both, and reascends. Sin and Death, sitting till then at the gates of Hell, by wondrous sympathy feeling the suecess of Satan in this new world, and the sin by man there committed, resolve to sit no longer confined in Hell, but to follow Satan their sire up to the place of man: to make the way easier from Hell to this world to and fro, they pave a broad high-way or bridge over Chaos, according to the track that Satan first made; then, pre. paring for Earth, they meet him, proud of his success, returning to Hell; their mutual gratulation. Satan arrives at Pandemonium ; in full assembly relates with boasting his success against man; instead of applause is entertained with a general hiss by all his audience, transformed with himself also suddenly into serpents, according to his doom given in Paradise; then, deluded with a show of the forbidden tree springing up before them, they, greedily reaching to take of the fruit, chew dust and bitter ashes. The proceedings of Sin and Death; God foretels the final victory of his Son over them, and the renewing of all things; but, for the present, commands bis angels to make several alterations in the Heavens and elements. Adam, more and more perceiving his fallen condition, heavily bewails, rejects the condolement of Eve; she persists, and at length appeases him: then, to evade the curse likely to fall on their offspring, proposes to Adam violent ways, which he approves not; but, conceiving bet. ter bope, puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the serpent, and exhorts her with bim to seek peace of the offended Deity,

nce and supplication.



MEANWHILE the heinous and despiteful act
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
He in the serpent had perverted Eve,
Her husband she, to taste the fatal fruit,
Was known in Heav'n; for what can 'scape the eye 5
of God all-seeing, or deceive his heart
Omniscient? who, in all things wise and just,
Hinder'd not Satan to attempt the mind
Of man, with strength entire and free will arm’d,
Complete to have discover'd and repuls'd

10 Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. For still they knew, and ought to have still remem

berd, The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, Incurr'd (what could they less ?) the penalty, 15 And, manifold in sin, deserv'd to fall, Up into Heav'n from Paradise in haste The angelic guards ascended, mute and sad For man, for of his state by this they knew, Much wond'ring how the subtle fiend had stol'n 20 Entrance unseen. Soon as th' unwelcome news From Earth arriv'd at Heaven gate, displeasd All were who heard ; dim sadness did not spare That time celestial visages, yet, mix'd With pity, violated not their bliss.

25 About the newarriv'd, in multitudes Th'ethereal people ran, to hear and know How all befel: they towards the throne supreme Accountable, made haste to make appear, With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance, 80 And easily approv'd; when the most high


Eternal Father, from his secret cloud,
Amidst in thunder utter'd thus his voice.

" Assembled angels, and ye pow’rs return'd
From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd, 35
Nor troubled at these tidings from the earth,
Which your sincerest care could not prevent,
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from Hell.
I told ye then he should prevail, and speed 40
On his bad errand; man should be seduc'd
And flatter'd out of all, believing lies
Against his Maker; no decree of mine
Concurring to necessitate his fall,
Or touch with lightest moment of impulse 45
His free will, to her own inclining left
In even scale. But fall’n he is; and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression,-death denounc'd that day?
Which he presumes already vain and void,

50 Because not yet inflicted, as he feard, By some immediate stroke; but soon shall find Forbearance no acquittance, ere day end. Justice shall not return as bounty scorn'd. But whom send I to judge them? whom but thee, 55 Vicegerent Son? to thee I have transferr'd All judgment, whether in Heav'n, or Earth, or Hell. Easy it may be seen that I intend Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee Man's friend, his mediator, his designd

60 Both ransom and redeemer voluntary, And destin'd man himself to judge man fall’n.”

So spake the Father, and unfolding bright Toward the right hand his glory, on the Son Blaz'd forth unclouded deity; he full

65 Resplendent all his Father manisest Express'd, and thus divinely answer'd mild.

* Father eternal, thine is to decree; Mine, both in Heav'n and Earth, to do thy will Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son belov'd, 70 May'st ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge

« PreviousContinue »