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And hateful; nothing wants, but that thy shape,
Like his, and colour serpentine, may show
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Thy inward fraud, to warn all creatures from thee
Henceforth; lest that too heav'nly form, pretended
To hellish falsehood, snare them. But for thee
I had persisted happy'; had not thy pride
And wand'ring vanity, when least was safe,
Rejected my forewarning, and disdain'd
Not to be trusted, longing to be seen,
Though by the dev'il himself, him overweening
To over-reach; but with the serpent meeting,
Fool'd and beguil'd; by him thou, I by thee,
To trust thee from my side, imagin'd wise,
Constant, mature, proof against all assaults,
And understood not all was but a show
Rather than solid virtue'; all but a rib
Crooked by nature, bent, as now appears,
More to the part sinister, from me drawn;
Well if thrown out, as supernumerary
To my just number found. O why did God,
Creator wise, that peopled highest Heav'n
With spirits masculine, create at last
This novelty on earth, this fair defect
Of nature, and not fill the world at once
With men, as angels, without feminine,
Or find some other way to generate
Mankind? this mischief had not then befall'n,
And more that shall befall; innumerable
Disturbances on earth through female snares,
And strait conjunction with this sex: for either
He never shall find out fit mate, but such
As some misfortune brings him, or mistake;
Or whom he wishes most shall seldom gain
Through her perverseness, but shall see her gain'd
By a far worse; or, if she love, withheld
By parents; or his happiest choice too late
Shall meet, already link'd and wedlock-bound
To a fell adversary', his hate or shame:
Which infinite calamity shall cause
To human life, and household peace confound."

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He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve,
Not so repuls'd, with tears that ceas'd not flowing,
And tresses all disorder'd, at his feet
Fell humble; and, embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.
"Forsake me not thus, Adam! witness Heav'n
What love sincere, and reverence in my heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceived! thy suppliant

I beg, and clasp thy knees; bereave me not,
Whereon I live, thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,
My only strength and stay: forlorn of thee,
Whither shail I betake me, where subsist?
While yet we live, scarce one short hour perhaps,
Between us two let there be peace, both joining,
As join'd in injuries, one enmity
Against a foe by doom express assign'd us,
That cruel serpent: on me exercise not
Thy hatred for this misery befall'n;
On me already lost, me than thyself
More miserable; both have sinn'd; but thou
Against God only', I against God and thee;
And to the place of judgment will return,
There with my cries importune Heav'n, that all
The sentence, from thy head remov'd, may light
On me, sole cause to thee of all this woe,
Me, me only, just object of his ire!"

She ended weeping; and her lowly plight,
Immoveable, till peace obtain❜d from fault
Acknowledg'd and deplor'd, in Adam wrought
Commiseration: soon his heart relented
Tow'ards her, his life so late and sole delight,
Now at his feet submissive in distress;
Creature so fair his reconcilement seeking,
His counsel, whom she had displeas'd, his aid:
As one disarm'd, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon.
"Unwary', and too desirous, as before,

So now of what thou know'st not, who desir'st

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The punishment all on thyself; alas!
Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain
His full wrath, whose thou feel'st as yet least part,
And my displeasure bear'st so ill. If prayers
Could alter high decrees, I to that place
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited,
Thy frailty and infirmer sex forgiven,
To me committed, and by me expos'd.
But rise; let us no more contend, nor blame
Each other, blam'd enough elsewhere; but strive
In offices of love, how we may lighten
Each other's burden, in our share of woe;
Since this day's death denounc'd, if ought I see,
Will I prove no sudden, but a slow-pac'd evil,
A long day's dying, to augment our pain,
And to our seed (O hapless seed!) deriv'd."

To whom thus Eve, recovering heart, reply'd.
"Adam, by sad experiment I know
How little weight my words with thee can find,
Found so erroneous; thence, by just event,
Found so unfortunate; nevertheless,
Restor'd by thee, vile as I am, to place
Of new acceptance, hopeful to regain
Thy love, the sole contentment of my heart
Living or dying, from thee I will not hide
What thoughts in my unquiet breast are risen,
Tending to some relief of our extremes,
Or end; though sharp and sad, yet tolerable,
As in our evils, and of easier choice.
If care of our descent perplex us most,
Which must be born to certain woe, devour'd
By Death at last; and miserable it is
To be to others cause of misery,
Our own begott'en, and of our loins to bring
Into this cursed world a woeful race,
That after wretched life must be at last
Food for so foul a monster; in thy power
It lies, yet ere conception to prevent
The race unblest, to be'ing yet unbegot.

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Childless thou art, childless remain: so Death
Shall be deceiv'd his glut, and with us two
Be fore'd to satisfy his ravenous maw.
But if thou judge it hard and difficult,
Conversing, looking, loving, to abstain
From love's due rites, nuptial embraces sweet,
And with desire to languish without hope,
Before the present object languishing
With like desire, which would be misery
And torment less than none of what we dread;
Then, both ourselves and seed at once to free
From what we fear for both, let us make short, 1000
Let us seek Death, or, he not found, supply
With our own hands his office on ourselves:
Why stand we longer shivering under fears,
That show no end but death, and have the power,
Of many ways to die the shortest choosing,
Destruction with destruction to destroy?"
She ended here, or vehement despair
Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
Had entertain'd, as dy'd her cheeks with pale.
But Adam, with such counsel nothing sway'd,
To better hopes his more attentive mind
Lab'ring had rais'd, and thus to Eve reply'd.

"Eve, thy contempt of life and pleasure seems
To argue in thee something more sublime
And excellent than what thy mind contemns;
But self-destruction therefore sought, refutes
That excellence thought in thee, and implies,
Not thy contempt, but anguish and regret
For loss of life and pleasure overlov'd.

Or if thou covet death, as utmost end
Of misery, so thinking to evade
The penalty pronounc'd; doubt not but God
Hath wiselier arm'd his vengeful ire, than so
To be forestall'd; much more I fear lest death,
So snatch'd, will not exempt us from the pain
We are by doom to pay; rather such acts
Of contumacy' will provoke the Highest
To make death in us live: then let us seek

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Some safer resolution, which methinks I have in view, calling to mind with heed Part of our sentence, that thy seed shall bruise The serpent's head; piteous amends! unless Be meant, whom I conjecture, our grand foe, Satan, who, in the serpent, hath contriv'd Against us this deceit: to crush his head Would be revenge indeed! which will be lost By death brought on ourselves, or childless days Resolv'd, as thou proposest; so our foe Shall 'scape his punishment ordain'd, and we Instead shall double ours upon our heads. No more be mention'd then of violence Against ourselves, and wilful barrenness, That cuts us off from hope, and savours only Rancour and pride, impatience and despite, Reluctance against God and his just yoke Laid on our necks. Remember with what mild And gracious temper he both heard and judg'd, Without wrath or reviling; we expected Immediate dissolution, which we thought Was meant by death that day; when lo, to thee 1050 Pains only in child-bearing were foretold, And bringing forth, soon recompens'd with joy, Fruit of thy womb: on me the curse aslope Glanc'd on the ground; with labour I must earn My bread; what harm? Idleness had been worse; My labour will sustain me; and, lest cold 1056 Or heat should injure us, his timely care Hath, unbesought, provided, and his hands Cloth'd us unworthy, pitying while he judg'd; How much more, if we pray him, will his ear Be open, and his heart to pity' incline, And teach us further by what means to shun Th' inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail, and snow! Which now the sky with various face begins To show us in this mountain, while the winds 1065 Blow moist and keen, shattering the graceful locks ⚫ of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek Some better shroud, some better warmth to cherish

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