« EelmineJätka »
Remain'd still happy; not, as now, despoil'd
Of all our good; sham'd, naked, miserable!
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail."
To whom, soon mov'd with touch of blame, thus
- What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam severe !
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will
Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows
But might as ill have happen'd thou being by,
Or to thyself perhaps? Hadst thou been there,
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have discern'd
Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake;
No ground of enmity between us known,
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
Was I to have never parted from thy side?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head,
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou saidst?
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay;
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me."
To whom, then first incens'd, Adam replied.
"Is this the love, is this the recompense
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve! Express'd
Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I;
Who might have liv'd, and joy'd immortal bliss,
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?
And am I now upbraided as the cause
Of thy transgressing? Not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint: what could I more?
I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy
That lay in wait; beyond this had been force;
And force upon free-will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on; secure
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
I also err'd, in over-much admiring
What seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue
That error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Him, who, to worth in women overtrusting,
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook;
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse."
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
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 re-
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, deserv'd to fall. Up into Heaven from Paradise in haste The angelic guards ascend, 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 arrived 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 Man's transgression known; the guardian-angels The ethereal people ran, to hear and know forsake Paradise, and return up to Heaven to How all befell; they towards the throne supreme, approve their vigilance, and are approved; God Accountable, made haste, to make appear declaring that the entrance of Satan could With righteous plea their utmost vigilance, not be by them prevented. He sends his Son And easily approv'd; when the Most High to judge the transgressors, who descends and Eternal Father, from his secret cloud gives sentence accordingly; then in pity clothes Amidst, in thunder utter'd thus his voice. them both, and reascends. Sin and Death. "Assembled angels, and ye powers return'd sitting till then at the gates of Hell, by won- From unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd, drous sympathy feeling the success of Satan Nor troubled at these tidings from the Earth, in this new world. and the Sin by Man there | Which your sincerest care could not prevent,
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,
And of their vain contést appear'd no end.
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 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 foretells 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.
Foretold so lately what would come to pass,
Or come I less conspicuous, or what change
When first this tempter cross'd the gulf from Hell. Absents thee, or what chance detains ?-Come
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'd with lightest moment of impulse
His free-will, to her own inclining left
He came; and with him Eve, more loth, though
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.
In even scale. But fall'n he is; and now
What rests, but that the mortal sentence pass
On his transgression,-death denoune'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." O Heaven! in evil strait this day I stand
Easy it may be seen that I intend
"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.
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 gav'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."
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 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, 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."
To whom the Sovran Presence thus replied.
"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
Wherein God set thee above her made of thee,
And for thee, whose perfection far excell'd
Hers 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' replied.
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
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, To judgment he proceeded on the accus'd
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.
The serpent me beguil'd, and I did eat."
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay
Serpent, though brute; unable to transfer
"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 erewhile appear'd unsought:
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 applied,
Though in mysterious terms, judg'd as then best.
And on the serpent thus his curse let fall.
"Because thou hast done this, thou art accurs'd
Above all cattle, each beast of the field;
Upon thy belly grovelling thou shalt go,
And dust shalt eat all the days of thy life.
Between thee and the woman I will put
Enmity, and between thine and her seed;
Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel." Inseparable, must with me along :
So spake this oracle, then verified
When Jesus, son of Mary, second Eve,
Saw Satan fall, like lightning, down from Heaven,
Prince of the air; then, rising from his grave,
Spoil'd principalities and powers, triumph'd
In open show; and, with ascension bright,
Captivity led captive through the air,
The realm itself of Satan, long usurp'd;
Whom he shall tread at last under our feet;
Ev'n he, who now foretold his fatal bruise:
And to the woman thus his sentence turn'd.
"Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply By thy conception; children thou shalt bring In sorrow forth; and to thy husband's will Thine shall submit; he over thee shall rule."
On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd. *Because thou hast hearken'd to the voice of thy wife, ■ And eaten of the tree, concerning which
I charg'd thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat thereof:'
Curs'd is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow
Shalt eat thereof, all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles it shall bring thee forth
Unbid; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread,
Till thou return unto the ground; for thou
Out of the ground wast taken, know thy birth,
For dust thou art, and shalt to dust return."
So judg'd he Man, both judge and savior sent; And the instant stroke of death, denounc'd that day, Remov'd far off; then, pitying how they stood Before him naked to the air, that now
Must suffer change, disdain'd not to begin
Thenceforth the form of servant to assume;
As when he wash'd his servants' feet; so now,
As father of his family, he clad
Their nakedness with skins of beasts, or slain,
Or as the snake with youthful coat repaid;
And thought not much to clothe his enemies:
Nor he their outward only with the skins
Of beasts, but inward nakedness, much more
Opprobrious, with his robe righteousness
Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.
To him with swift ascent he up return'd,
Into his blissful bosom reassum'd
In glory, as of old; to him appeas'd,
All, though all-knowing, what had pass'd with Man
Recounted, mixing intercession sweet.
Meanwhile, ere thus was sinn'd and judg'd on Earth,
Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death,
In counterview within the gates, that now
Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame
Far into Chaos, since the fiend pass'd through,
Sin opening; who thus now to Death began.
"O son, why sit we here each other viewing
Idly, while Satan, our great author, thrives
In other worlds, and happier seat provides
For us, his offspring dear? It cannot be
But that success attends him; if mishap,
Ere this he had return'd, with fury driven
By his avengers; since no place like this
Can fit his punishment, or their revenge.
Methinks I feel new strength within me rise,
Wings growing, and dominion given me large,
Beyond this deep: whatever draws me on,
Or sympathy, or some connatural force,
Powerful at greatest distance to unite,
With secret amity, things of like kind,
By secretest conveyance. Thou, my shade
For Death from Sin no power can separate.
But, lest the difficulty of passing back
Stay his return perhaps over this gulf
Impassable, impervious; let us try
Adventurous work, yet to thy power and mine
Not unagreeable, to found a path
Over this main from Hell to that new world,
Where Satan now prevails; a monument
Of merit high to all the infernal host,
Easing their passage hence, for intercourse,
Or transmigration, as their lot shall lead.
Nor can I miss the way, so strongly drawn
By this new-felt attraction and instinct."
Whom thus the meagre shadow answer'd soon "Go whither Fate, and inclination strong, Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The way, thou leading; such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste The savor of death from all things there that live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid."
So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell Of mortal change on Earth. As when a flock Of ravenous fowl, though many a league remote, Against the day of battle, to a field, Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd With scent of living carcasses design'd
For death, the following day, in bloody fight:
So scented the grim feature, and upturn'd
His nostril wide into the murky air;
Sagacious his quarry from so far.
Then both from out Hell-gates, into the waste
Wide anarchy of Chaos, damp and dark,
Flew diverse; and with power (their power was great)
Hovering upon the waters, what they met
Solid or slimy, as in raging sea
Tost up and down, together crowded drove,
From each side shoaling towards the mouth of Hell:
As when two polar winds, blowing adverse
Upon the Cronian sea, together drive
Mountains of ice, that stop the imagin'd way
Beyond Petsora eastward, to the rich
Cathaian coast. The aggregated soil
Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
As with a trident smote, and fix'd as firm
As Delos, floating once; the rest his look
Bound with Gorgonian rigor not to move;
And with Asphaltic slime, broad as the gate,
Deep to the roots of Hell the gather'd beach
They fasten'd, and the mole immense wrought on
Over the foaming deep high-arch'd, a bridge
Of length prodigious, joining to the wall
Immovable of this now fenceless world,
Forfeit to Death; from hence a passage broad,
Smooth, easy, inoffensive, down to Hell.
So, if great things to small may be compar'd,
Xerxes, the liberty of Greece to yoke,
From Susa, his Memnonian palace high,
Came to the sea; and, over Hellespont
Bridging his way, Europe with Asia join'd,
And scourg'd with many a stroke the indignant waves.
Now had they brought the work by wondrous art
| Pontifical, a ridge of pendent rock,
Over the vex'd abyss, following the track
Of Satan to the self-same place where he
First lighted from his wing, and landed safe
From out of Chaos, to the outside bare
Of this round world: with pins of adamant
And chains they made all fast, too fast they made
And durable! And now in little space
The confines met of empyréan Heaven,
And of this world; and, on the left hand, Hell
With long reach interpos'd; three several ways
In sight, to each of these three places led.
And now their way to Earth they had descried,
To Paradise first tending; when, behold!
Satan, in likeness of an angel bright,
Betwixt the Centaur and the Scorpion steering
His zenith, while the Sun in Aries rose :
Disguis'd he came; but those his children dear
Their parent soon discern'd, though in disguise.
He, after Eve seduc'd, unminded slunk
Into the wood fast by; and, changing shape,
To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act
By Eve, though all unweeting, seconded
Upon her husband; saw their shame that sought
Vain covertures; but when he saw descend
The Son of God to judge them, terrified
He fled; not hoping to escape, but shun
The present; fearing, guilty, what his wrath
Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd
By night, and listening where the hapless pair
Sat in their sad discourse, and various plaint,
Thence gather'd his own doom; which understood
Not instant, but of future time, with joy
And tidings fraught, to Hell he now return'd;
And at the brink of Chaos, near the foot
Of this new wondrous pontifice, unhop'd
Met, who to meet him came, his offspring dear.
Great joy was at their meeting, and at sight
Of that stupendous bridge his joy increas'd.
Long he admiring stood, till Sin, his fair
Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke.
"O parent, these are thy magnific deeds,
Thy trophies! which thou view'st as not thine own;
Thou art their author, and prime architect:
For I no sooner in my heart divin'd,
My heart, which by a secret harmony
Still moves with thine, join'd in connexion sweet,
That thou on Earth hadst prosper'd, whic thy looks
Now also evidence, but straight I felt,
Though distant from thee worlds between, yet felt
That I must after thee, with this thy son;
Such fatal consequence unites us three;
Hell could no longer hold us in our bounds,
Nor this unvoyageable gulf obscure
Detain from following thy illustrious track:
Thou hast achiev'd our liberty, confin'd
Within Hell-gates till now; thou us empower'd
To fortify thus far, and overlay,
With this portentous bridge, the dark abyss.
Thine now is all this world; thy virtue hath won
What thy hands builded not; thy wisdom gain'd
With odds what war hath lost, and fully aveng'd
Our foil in Heaven; here thou shalt monarch reign,
There didst not; there let him still victor sway,
As battle hath adjudg'd; from this new world
Retiring, by his own doom alienated;
And henceforth monarchy with thee divide
Of all things, parted by the empyreal bounds,
His quadrature, from thy orbicular world;
Or try thee now more dangerous to his throne."
Whom thus the prince of darkness answer'd glad.
Fair daughter, and thou son and grand-child both,
High proof ye now have given to be the race
Of Satan, (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King,)
Amply have merited of me, of all
The infernal empire, that so near Heaven's door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
Mine, with this glorious work; and made one realm,
Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
Of easy thoroughfare. Therefore, while 1
Descend through darkness, on your road with ease,
To my associate powers, them to acquaint
With these successes, and with them rejoice;
You two this way, among these numerous orbs,
All yours, right down to Paradise descend;
There dwell, and reign in bliss; thence on the Earth
Dominion exercise and in the air,
Chiefly on Man, sole lord of all declar'd;
Him first make sure your thrall, and lastly kill.
My substitutes I send ye, and create
Plenipotent on Earth, of matchless might
Issuing from me: on your joint vigor now
My hold of this new kingdom all depends,
Through Sin to Death expos'd by my exploit.
If your joint power prevail, the affairs of Hell
No detriment need fear; go, and be strong!"
So saying, he dismiss'd them; they with speed Their course through thickest constellations held, Spreading their bane; the blasted stars look'd wan And planets, planet-struck, real eclipse Then suffer'd. The other way Satan went down The causey to Hell-gate: on either side Disparted Chaos over-built exclaim'd, And with rebounding surge the bars assail'd, That scorn'd his indignation: through the gate, Wide open and unguarded, Satan pass'd, And all about found desolate; for those, Appointed to sit there, had left their charge, Flown to the upper world; the rest were all Far to the inland retir'd, about the walls Of Pandemonium; city and proud seat Of Lucifer, so by allusion call'd
Of that bright star to Satan paragon'd;
There kept their watch the legions, while the grand
In council sat, solicitous what chance
Might intercept their emperor sent; so he
Departing gave command, and they observ'd.
As when the Tartar from his Russian foe,
By Astracan, over the snowy plains,
Retires; or Bactrian Sophi, from the horns
Of Turkish crescent, leaves all waste beyond
The realm of Aladule, in his retreat
To Tauris or Casbeen: so these, the late
Heaven-banish'd host, left desert utmost Hell
Many a dark league, reduc'd in careful waten
Round their metropolis; and now expecting
Each hour their great adventurer, from the search
Of foreign worlds; he through the midst unmark'd,
In show plebeian angel militant
Of lowest order, pass'd; and from the door
Of that Plutonian hall, invisible
Ascended his high throne; which, under state
Of richest texture spread, at the upper end
Was plac'd in regal lustre. Down awhile
He sat, and round about him saw, unseen:
At last, as from a cloud, his fulgent head
And shape star-bright appear'd, or brighter; clad
With what permissive glory since his fall
Was left him, or false glitter: all amaz'd
At that so sudden blaze, the Stygian throng
Bent their aspect, and whom they wish'd beheld,
Their mighty chief return'd: loud was the acclaim:
Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
Rais'd from their dark divan, and with like joy
. Congratulant approach'd him; who with hand
Silence, and with these words, attention won.
Thrones, dominations, princedoms,
For in possession such, not only of right,
I call ye, and declare ye now; return'd
Successful beyond hope, to lead ye forth
Triumphant out of this infernal pit
Abominable, accurs'd, the house of woe,
And dungeon of our tyrant: now possess,
As lords, a spacious world, to our native Heaven
Little inferior, by my adventure hard
With peril great achiev'd. Long were to tell
What I have done; what suffer'd; with what
Voyag'd th' unreal, vast, unbounded deep
Of horrible confusion; over which
With complicated monsters head and tail,
Scorpion, and asp, and amphisbæna dire,
Cerastes horn'd, hydrus, and elops drear,
And dipsas; (not so thick swarm'd once the soil
Bedropt with blood of Gorgon, or the isle
Ophiusa,) but still greatest he the midst,
virtues,Now dragon grown, larger than whom the Sun
Engender'd in the Pythian vale or slime,
|Huge Python, and his power no less he seem'd
Above the rest still to retain; they all
Him follow'd, issuing forth to the open field,
Where all yet left of that revolted rout,
Heaven-fall'n, in station stood or just array;
Sublime with expectation when to see
In triumph issuing forth their glorious chief;
They saw, but other sight instead! a crowd
Of ugly serpents; horror on them fell,
And horrid sympathy; for, what they saw,
They felt themselves, now changing; down their arms,
Down fell both spear and shield; down they as fast;
And the dire hiss renew'd, and the dire form
Catch'd, by contagion; like in punishment.
As in their crime. Thus was the applause they meant,
Turn'd to exploding hiss, triumph to shame
Cast on themselves from their own mouths. There
By Sin and Death a broad way now is pav'd
To expedite your glorious march; but I
Tail'd out my uncouth passage, forc'd to ride
The untractable abyss, plung'd in the womb
Of unoriginal Night and Chaos wild;
That, jealous of their secrets, fiercely oppos'd
My journey strange, with clamorous uproar
Protesting Fate supreme; thence how I found
The new created world, which fame in Heaven
Long had foretold, a fabric wonderful
To Sin and Death a prey, and so to us,
Without our hazard, labor, or alarm;
Of absolute perfection! therein Man
Plac'd in a Paradise, by our exile
Made happy him by fraud I have seduc'd
From his Creator; and, the more to increase
Your wonder, with an apple; he, thereat
Offended, worth your laughter! hath given up
Both his beloved Man and all his world,
To range in, and to dwell, and over Man
To rule, as over all he should have rul'd.
True is, me also he hath judg'd, or rather
Me not, but the brute serpent in whose shape
Man I deceiv'd: that which to me belongs
Is enmity, which he will put between
Me and mankind; I am to bruise his heel;
His seed, when is not set, shall bruise my head:
A world who would not purchase with a bruise,
Or much more grievous pain?-Ye have the account
Of my performance: what remains, ye gods,
But up, and enter now into full bliss?"
So having said, awhile he stood, expecting
Their universal shout and high applause,
To fill his ear; when, contrary, he hears
On all sides, from innumerable tongues,
A dismal universal hiss, the sound
Of public scorn; he wonder'd, but not long
Had leisure, wondering at himself now more;
His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare;
His arms clung to his ribs; his legs entwining
Each other, till supplanted down he fell
A monstrous serpent on his belly prone,
Reluctant, but in vain; a greater power
Now ruled him, punish'd in the shape he sinn'd,
According to his doom: he would have spoke,
But hiss for hiss return'd with forked tongue
To forked tongue; for now were all transform'd
Alike, to serpents all, as accessories
To his bold riot: dreadful was the din
Of hissing through the hall, thick swarming now
A grove hard by, sprung up with this their change,
His will who reigns above, to aggravate
Their penance, laden with fair fruit, like that
Which grew in Paradise, the bait of Eve
Us'd by the tempter: on that prospect strange
Their earnest eyes they fix'd, imagining
For one forbidden tree a multitude
Now ris'n, to work them further woe or shame;
Yet, parch'd with scalding thirst and hunger fierce,
Though to delude them sent, could not abstain;
But on they roll'd in heaps, and up the trees
Climbing, sat thicker than the snaky locks
That curl'd Megara: greedily they pluck'd
The fruitage fair to sight, like that which grew
Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flam'd:
This more delusive, not the touch, but taste
Deceiv'd: they, fondly thinking to allay
Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit
Chew'd bitter ashes, which the offended taste
With spattering noise rejected: oft they assay'd,
Hunger and thirst constraining; drugg'd as oft,
With hatefullest disrelish writh'd their jaws,
With soot and cinders fill'd; so oft they fell
Into the same illusion, not as Man
Whom they triumph'd once laps'd. Thus were they
And worn with famine, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resum'd;
Yearly enjoin'd, some say, to undergo
This annual humbling certain number'd days,
To dash their pride, and joy, for Man seduc'd.
However, some tradition they dispers'd
Among the Heathen, of their purchase got,
And fabled how the serpent, whom they call'd
Ophion, with Eurynome, the wide-
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus; thence by Saturn driven
And Ops, ere yet Dictæan Jove was born.
Meanwhile in Paradise the hellish pair
Too soon arriv'd; Sin, there in power before,
Once actual; now in body, and to dwell
Habitual habitant; behind her Death,
Close following pace for pace, not mounted yet
On his pale horse: to whom Sin thus began.
Second of Satan sprung, all-conquering Death