Imatges de pÓgina




There with my cries importune heaven, 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
Towards her, his life so late and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress,
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel, 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 thy self; 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 forgiv’n,
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 aught I see,



960 905


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,
As in our evils, and of easier choice.
If care of our descent perplex us most,
Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
By Death at last, (and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery,
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




981 it is) Todd remarks, that a parenthesis commences at the words • and miserable it is,' and comes down to so foul a monster,' ver. 986.

987 conception] *Why not conception already, since he has mentioned copulation twice?' Bentl. MS.




The race unblest, to being 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 rav’nous maw.
But if thou 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, 1000
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 show no end but death, and have the power,
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
Destruction with destruction to destroy ?


989 In Milton's own editions, and in others, this and the following line are thus printed

Childless thou art, childless remain,

So death shall be deceived his glut, and with us two, &c. This error went through both Milton's editions; and it was one that, when the poem was read to him, his ear alone could not detect; but the continuance of it does not speak much in favour of the knowledge or attention of those who read to him. 1001 supply] So in the Adamus Exsul of Grotius, p. 61.

Quid mihi exsequias nego?
Quid pereo vivus ? quid meos manes moror ?

Tu manus! potius veni
Ministra pænæ, quæ fuisti criminum.'




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
Labouring 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 God
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




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1009 pale] Virg. Æn. iv. 499.

Hæc effata silet; pallor simul occupat ora.' Jortin. Compare Æn. iv. 644. Lucan, vii. 130. Hume.




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 our selves, 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 our selves, 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,
Fruit of thy womb: on me the curse aslope
Glanc'd 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
Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg’d.
How much more, if we pray him, will his ear
Be open, and his heart to pity incline,
And teach us further by what means to shun
Th’inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow,




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