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Horrid to think! how horrible to feel ! 465
To whom thus Michael: Death thou hast seen In his first shape on Man; but many shapes Of Death, and many are the ways that lead To his grim cave, all dismal : yet to sense More terrible at th' entrance than within.
470 Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die, By fire, flood, famine, by intemp’rance more In meats and drinks, which on the earth shall bring Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew Before thee shall appear; that thou may’st know What misery th’inabstinence of Eve Shall bring on men. Immediately a place Before his eyes appear'd, sad, noisome, dark, A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies Of ghastly spasm or racking torture, qualms Of heart-sick agony, all fev'rous kinds, Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhs, Intestine stone and ulcer, colic pangs, Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy, 485 And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy, Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence, Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums. Dire was the tossing, deep the groans ; Despair Tended the sick, busiest, from couch to couch ; And over them triumphant Death his dart 491 Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd With vows, as their chief good and final hope. Sight so deform, what heart of rock could long
Dry-ey'd behold! Adam could not, but wept,
O miserable mankind! to what fall
Their Maker's image, answer'd Michael, then
God's image did not rev’rence in themselves.
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit. But is there yet no other way,
besides These painful passages, how we may come To death, and mix with our connat'ral dust?
There is, said Michael, if thou well observe The rule of not too much, by Temp’rance taught, In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from
thence Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, Till many years over thy head return : So may’st thou live till, like ripe fruit, thou drop Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease 536 Gather’d, not harshly pluck’d, for death mature. This is old age; but then thou must outlive Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will
change To wither’d, weak, and gray. Thy senses then Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego, 541 To what thou hast; and for the air of youth, Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign A melancholy damp of cold and dry, To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume The balm of life. To whom our ancestor : 546
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong Life much, bent rather how I may Fairest and easiest, of this cumb'rous charge, Which I must keep till my appointed day 550 Of rend'ring up, and patiently attend My dissolution. Michael reply'd:
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
He look’d, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Long had not walk’d, when from thetents, behold,
and wanton dress. To th’harp they sung Soft am'rous ditties, and in dance came on. tho' grave, ey'd them, and let their
eyes Rove without rein, till, in the am'rous net 586 Fast caught, they lik’d, and each his liking chose: And now of love they treat, till th' ev'ning star, Love's harbinger, appear’d; then all in heat They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd. With feast and music all the tents resound. Such happy interview and fair event Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flow'rs, And charming symphonies attach'd the heart Of Adam, soon inclin'd t'admit delight,
596 The bent of nature; which he thus express'd:
True op'ner of mine eyes, prime Angel blest, Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past : Those were of hate and death,or pain much worse; Here Nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael: Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet, Created, as thou art, to nobler end, 605 Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother. Studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventors rare, 610