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Some days: how long, and what till then our life,
Who knows, or more than this, that we are dust,
And thither must return, and be no more?
Why else this double object in our sight,
Of flight pursued in the air and o'er the ground
One way the self-same hour? Why in the east
Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning-light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,

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And slow descends, with something Heavenly fraught?”
He erred not; for, by this, the Heavenly bands
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt-
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimmed Adam's eye.
Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw

The field pavilioned with his guardians bright;
Nor that which on the flaming mount appeared
In Dothan, covered with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who, to surprise
One man, assassin-like, had levied war,
War unproclaimed. The princely Hierarch

In their bright stand there left his Powers to seize
Possession of the Garden; he alone,

To find where Adam sheltered, took his way,

Not unperceived of Adam; who to Eve,

While the great visitant approached, thus spake :

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Eve, now expect great tidings, which, perhaps, Of us will soon determine, or impose

New laws to be observed; for I descry,

From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill,
One of the Heavenly host, and, by his gait,

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None of the meanest—some great Potentate
Or of the Thrones above, such majesty
Invests him coming; yet not terrible,

That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime; whom, not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire."

He ended; and the Archangel soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man. Over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed,
Livelier than Meliboan, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce; Iris had dipt the woof.
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
As in a glistering zodiac, hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread, and in his hand the spear.
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared :—

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"Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs.
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure many days,

Given thee of grace, wherein thou may'st repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
May'st cover. Well may then thy Lord, appeased,
Redeem thee quite from Death's rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell

Permits not. To remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the Garden forth, to till
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.”
He added not; for Adam, at the news
Heart-strook, with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lament
Discovered soon the place of her retire :—

"O unexpected stroke, worse than of Death! Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave

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Thee, native soil? these happy walks and shades, 270
Fit haunt of Gods, where I had hope to spend,
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both? O flowers
That never will in other climate grow,

My early visitation, and my last

At even, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names,
Who now shall rear ye to the Sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee, lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet, from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure

And wild? How shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits ?"
Whom thus the Angel interrupted mild :-
"Lament not, Eve, but patiently resign
What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,
Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine.
Thy going is not lonely; with thee goes
Thy husband; him to follow thou art bound;
Where he abides, think there thy native soil."
Adam, by this from the cold sudden damp
Recovering, and his scattered spirits returned,
To Michael thus his humble words addressed :—

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“Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or named Of them the highest-for such of shape may seem Prince above princes-gently hast thou told Thy message, which might else in telling wound, And in performing end us. What besides Of sorrow, and dejection, and despair, Our frailty can sustain, thy tidings bringDeparture from this happy place, our sweet Recess, and only consolation left Familiar to our eyes; all places else

Inhospitable appear, and desolate,

Nor knowing us, nor known. And, if by prayer
Incessant I could hope to change the will

Of him who all things can, I would not cease

To weary him with my assiduous cries;
But prayer against his absolute decree

No more avails than breath against the wind,
Blown stifling back on him that breathes it forth :
Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
This most afflicts me-that, departing hence,
As from his face I shall be hid, deprived

His blessed countenance. Here I could frequent,
With worship, place by place where he voutsafed
Presence Divine, and to my sons relate,

‘On this mount He appeared; under this tree
Stood visible; among these pines his voice

I heard; here with him at this fountain talked.'

So many grateful altars I would rear

Of grassy turf, and pile up every stone
Of lustre from the brook, in memory

Or monument to ages, and thereon

Offer sweet-smelling gums, and fruits, and flowers.
In yonder nether world where shall I seek
His bright appearances, or footstep trace?
For, though I fled him angry, yet, recalled
To life prolonged and promised race, I now
Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
Of glory, and far off his steps adore."

To whom thus Michael, with regard benign :"Adam, thou know'st Heaven his, and all the Earth,

Not this rock only; his omnipresence fills
Land, sea, and air, and every kind that lives,
Fomented by his virtual power and warmed.
All the Earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
No despicable gift; surmise not, then,

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His presence to these narrow bounds confined

Of Paradise or Eden. This had been

Perhaps thy capital seat, from whence had spread
All generations, and had hither come,

From all the ends of the Earth, to celebrate

And reverence thee their great progenitor.

But this pre-eminence thou hast lost, brought down To dwell on even ground now with thy sons:

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Yet doubt not but in valley and in plain
God is, as here, and will be found alike
Present, and of his presence many a sign
Still following thee, still compassing thee round
With goodness and paternal love, his face
Express, and of his steps the track divine.
Which that thou may'st believe, and be confirmed
Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent
To show thee what shall come in future days
To thee and to thy offspring. Good with bad
Expect to hear, supernal grace contending
With sinfulness of men-thereby to learn
True patience, and to temper joy with fear
And pious sorrow, equally inured
By moderation either state to bear,
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure
Thy mortal passage when it comes.
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes)
Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st,
As once thou slept'st while she to life was formed."
To whom thus Adam gratefully replied :—
"Ascend; I follow thee, safe guide, the path
Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heaven submit,

However chastening to the evil turn

Ascend

My obvious breast, arming to overcome

By suffering, and earn rest from labour won,
If so I may attain." So both ascend

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