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Lest on my head both sin and punishment,
To whom the Sov’reign Presence thus reply'd:
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 sadEve, with shamenigh overwhelm'd, Confessing soon, yet not before her Judge 160 Bold or loquacious, thus abashid, reply'd : The Serpent me beguild, and I did eat.
Which when the Lord God heard, without delay To judgment he proceeded on th'accus'd Serpent, though brute, unable to transfer 165 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 171 To Satan, first in sin, his doom apply'd, Tho' 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 grov'ling 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: 180 Her Seed shall bruise thyhead; thou bruise his heel.
So spake this Oracle, then verify'd When Jesus, Son of Mary, second Eve, Saw Satan fall like lightning down from Heav'n, Prince of the air ; then, rising from his grave, Spoil'd principalities and pow’rs, triumph'd 186 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; 190 E'en he who now foretold his fatal bruise, And to the Woman thus bis sentence turn'd:
Thy sorrow I will greatly multiply
On Adam last thus judgment he pronounc'd:
So judg'd he Man, both Judge and Saviour sent, And th'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, 215 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 of righteousness,
Arraying, cover'd from his Father's sight.
Earth, Within the gates of Hell sat Sin and Death, 230 In counterview within the gates, that now Stood open wide, belching outrageous flame Far into Chaos, since the Fiend pass'd through, Sin op’ning, who thus now to Death began :
O Son, why sit we here each other viewing Idly, while Satan our great author thrives 236 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 driv'n 240 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 giv'n me large Beyond this deep; whatever draws me on, 245 Or sympathy, or some connat’ral force, Pow'rful at greatest distance, to unite With secret amity things of like kind By secretest conveyance. Thou
shade Inseparable, must with me along;.
250 For Death from Sin no pow'r can separate.
But lest the difficulty of passing back
Whom thus the meagre Shadowanswer'd soon : Go whither Fate and inclination strong 265 Leads thee; I shall not lag behind, nor err The
way, thou leading, such a scent I draw Of carnage, prey innum'rable, and taste The savour of Death from all things there that
live: Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest 270 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 rav'nous fowl, though many a league remote, Against the day of battle, to a field,
275 Where armies lie encamp'd, come flying, lur'd With scent of living carcases 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, 280