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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 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 design'd
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
Resplendent all his Father manifest
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
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 satisfy’d, and 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 is 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, tho' 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
Now 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 duty' ere 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, tho' first
To' offend, discount'nanc'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, falt'ring long, thus answer'd brief.
“ I heard thee in the gard’n, and of thy voice
Afraid, being naked, hid myself.” To whom
The gracious judge without revile reply'd.
“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 121
Hath told thee? hast thou eaten of the tree,
gave thee charge thou shouldst not eat?”
To whom thus Adam, sore beset, reply'd.
“O Heav'n! in evil straight 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
By my complaint; but strict necessity
Subdues me, and calamitous constraint,
Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
However insupportable, be all
Devolv'd; though should I hold my peace, yet thou
Wouldst easily detect what I conceal.
This Woman, whom thou mad'st to be my help,
And gay'st me as thy perfect gift, so good,
So fit, so acceptable, so divine,
That from her hand I could suspect no ill,
And what she did, whatever in itself,
Her doing seem'd to justify the deed;
She gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
To whom the sov’reign Presence thus reply'd.
“ Was she thy God, that her thou didst obey
Before his voice, or was she made thy guide,
Superior, or but equal, that to her
Thou didst resign thy manhood, and the place 148
Wherein God set thee' above her made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Her's in all real dignity ? Adorn'd
She was indeed, and lovely to attract
Thy love, not thy subjection; and her gifts
Were such as under government well seem'd,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part
And person, hadst thou known thyself aright.”
So having said, he thus to Eve in few,
Say Woman, what is this which thou hast done?”
To whom sad Eve, with shame nigh overwhelm'd,
Confessing soon, yet not before her judge
Bold or loquacious, thus abash'd reply'd.
“ The Serpent me beguild, and I did eat.”
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th' accurs'd Serpent though brute, unable to transfer The guilt on him who made him instrument Of mischief, and polluted from the end Of his creation; justly then accurs’d, As vitiated in nature: more to know Concern'd not Man (since he no further knew) Nor alter'd his offence; yet God at last To Satan, first in sin, his doom apply'd, Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best: 173