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On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold
he open'd, and beheld a field,
First fruits; the green ear and the yellow sheaf,
445 That beat out life. He fell, and, deadly pale, Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effus’d. Much at that sight was Adam in his heart Dismay'd ; and thus in haste to th' Angel cry'd :
O Teacher, some great mischief hath befall'n To that meek man, who well had sacrific'd ! Is piety thus and pure devotion paid ?
T' whom Michael thus (he also mov’d) reply'd: These two are brethren, Adam, and to come Out of thy loins. Th’unjust the just hath slain, For envy
that his brother's offoring found 456 From Heav'n acceptance: but the bloody fact Will be aveng'd, and th' other's faith approv'd, Lose no reward, though here thou see him die, Rolling in dust and gore. To which our sire :
Alas! both for the deed and for the cause ! But have I now seen Death? Is this the way I must return to native dust ? O sight Of terror, foul and ugly to behold!
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 480 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 491Shook, 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,
up to tears
500 Degraded ! to what wretched state reserv'd ! 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 suff'rings 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
God's image did not rev’rence in themselves.
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
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 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 be quit, 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: