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BOOK THE TENTH.

THE ARGUMENT.

Man's transgression known, the guardian-angels forsake paradise,

and relurn up to heaven to approve their vigilance, 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 seeling the success 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 highway or bridge over chaos, according to the track that Satan first made; then, preparing for earth, they meet him, proud of his success, returning to bell : 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 shew 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 his 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 better hope, puts her in mind of the late promise made them, that her seed should be revenged on the serpent; and exhorts her with him to seek peace of the offended Deity, by repentance 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 heaven; for what can scape

the

eye 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 Whatever wiles of foe or seeming friend. For still they knew, and ought to have still remember'd The high injunction, not to taste that fruit, Whoever tempted; which they not obeying, Incurr'd (what could they less?) the penalty ; And, manifold in sin, desery'd to fall. Up into heaven from paradise in haste The angelic guards ascended, mute, and sad, For man; for of his state by this they knew, Much wondering how the subtle fiend had stol'n Entrance unseen. Soon as the unwelcome news From earth arriv'd at heaven-gate, displeas'd All were who heard; dim sadness did not spare That time celestial visages, yet, mix'd With pity, violated not their bliss. About the new-arriv'd, in multitudes The 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, 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 powers return'd

From unsuccessful charge; be not dismay’d,
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
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
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,
Because not yet inflicted, as he fear’d,
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,
Vicegerent Son? to thee I have transferr'd
All judgment, whether in heaven, or earth, or hell.
Easy it may be seen that I intend
Mercy colleague with justice, sending thee
Man's friend, his mediator, his design'd
Both ransom and redeemer voluntary,
And destin'd man himself to judge man fall’n. »

So spake the Father; and, unfolding bright
Towards the right hand his glory, on the Son
Blaz'd forth unclouded Deity ; he full
Resplendent all his Father manifest

Express’d, and thus divinely answer'd mild :

« Father Eternal, thine is to decree; Mine, both in heaven and earth, to do thy will Supreme; that thou in me, thy Son belov’d, May'st ever rest well pleas'd. I go to judge On earth these thy transgressors; but thou know'st, Whoever judg'd, the worst on me must light, When time shall be; for so I undertook Before thee; and, not repenting, this obtain Of right, that I may mitigate their doom On me deriv'd ; yet I shall temper so Justice with mercy, as may illustrate most Them fully satisfied, ad thee appease. Attendance none shall need, nor train, where none Are to behold the judgment but the judg'd, Those two; the third best absent in condemn’d, Convict by flight, and rebel to all law : Conviction to the serpent none belongs. »

Thus saying, from his radiant seat he rose
Of high collateral glory : him thrones, and powers, ,
Princedoms, and dominations ministrant,
Accompanied to heaven-gate ; from whence
Eden, and all the coast, in prospect lay.
Down he descended straight : (the speed of gods
Time counts not, though with swiftest minutes wing'd).

Now was the sun in western cadence low
From noon, and gentle airs, due at their hour,
To fan the earth now, wak'd, and usher in
The evening cool; when He, from wrath more cool,
Came the mild judge, and intercessor both,
To sentence man. The voice of God they heard
No walking in the garden, by soft winds

Brought to their ears, while day declin’d; they heard,
And from his presence hid themselves among
The thickest trees, both man and wife : till God,
Approaching, thus to Adam call'd aloud :

« Where art thou, Adam, wont with joy to meet
My coming seen far off? I miss thee here,
Not pleas'd, thus entertain'd with solitude,
Where obvious dutyere while appear'd unsought :
Or come I less conspicuous ? or what change
Absents thee, or what chance detains ? . Come forth !
He came; and with him Eve, more loath, though first
To offend; discountenanc'd both, and discompos’d;
Love was not in their looks either to God
Or to each other; but apparent guilt
And shame, and perturbation, and despair,
Anger and obstinacy, and hate and guile.

« Whence Adam, faltering long, thus answer'd brief: « I heard thee in the garden, and of thy voice Afraid, being naked, hid myself. To whom The gracious judge, without revile, replied: « My voice thou oft hast heard, and hast not fear'd, But still rejoic'd; how is it now become So dreadful to thee? That thou art naked, who Hath told thee? Hast thou eaten of the tree, Whereof I gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat? »

To whom thus Adam, sore beset, replied :
. Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
Before my judge: either to undergo
Myself the total crime, or to accuse
My other self, the partner of my life;
Whose failing, while her faith to me remains,
I should conceal, and not expose to blame

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