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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

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Dry-ey'd behold! Adam could not, but wept,
Tho'not of woman born. Compassion quell'd
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrain'd excess;
And, scarce recov’ring words, his plaint renewid.

O miserable mankind! to what fall
Degraded ! to what wretched state reservod!
Better end here unborn. Why is life given
To be thus wrested from us? Rather, why
Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew
What we receive, would either not accept 505
Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,
Glad to be so dismiss’d in peace. Can thus
The image of God, in man created once
So goodly and erect, though faulty since,
To such unsightly sufforings be debas'd 510
Under inhuman pains ? Why should not man,
Retaining still divine similitude
In part, from such deformities be free,
And for his Maker's image sake exempt? 514

Their Maker's image, answer'd Michael, then
Forsook them when themselves they vilify'd
To serve ungovern'd appetite, and took
His image whom they serv'd (a brutish vice)
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore, so abject is their punishment, 520
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own,
Or, if his likeness, by themselves defac'd,
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful rules
To loathsome sickness, worthily, since they

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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:

be quit,

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Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
Live well; how long or short permit to Heav'n.
And now prepare thee for another sight, 555

He look’d, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Were tents of various hue: by some were herds
Of cattle grazing ; others, whence the sound
Of instruments that made melodious chime
Was heard, of harp and organ, and who mov’d
Their stops and chords,was seen. His volant touch
Instinct, through all proportions low and high,
Fled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one who, at the forge
Lab'ring, two massy clods of iron and brass 565
Had melted (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot
Tosome cave's mouth, or whether wash'd by stream
From under-ground); the liquid ore he drain d
Into fit molds prepar'd; from which he formd
First his own tools; then, what might else be

wrought
Fusile, or grav'n in metal. After these,
But on the hither side, a diffrent sort
From the high neighb'ring hills, which was their

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Down to the plain descended. Br their guise,
Just men they sem d, and all their study bent
To wenhip God aright, and know his works
Xochid, nor those things last which might presente
Fritten and peace to men. Ther on the pia

The men,

Long had not walk’d, when from thetents, behold,
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In
gems

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

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