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    Chapter 12

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    Chapter 12
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    As one who in his journey bates at noon,
    Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused
    Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored,
    If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
    Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.
    Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end;
    And Man, as from a second stock, proceed.
    Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive
    Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
    Must needs impair and weary human sense:
    Henceforth what is to come I will relate;
    Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
    This second source of Men, while yet but few,
    And while the dread of judgement past remains
    Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
    With some regard to what is just and right
    Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace;
    Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
    Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock,
    Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
    With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast,
    Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
    Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
    Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
    Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
    With fair equality, fraternal state,
    Will arrogate dominion undeserved
    Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
    Concord and law of nature from the earth;
    Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
    With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
    Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
    A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
    Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
    Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty;
    And from rebellion shall derive his name,
    Though of rebellion others he accuse.
    He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
    With him or under him to tyrannize,
    Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
    The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
    Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell:
    Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build
    A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
    And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed
    In foreign lands, their memory be lost;
    Regardless whether good or evil fame.
    But God, who oft descends to visit men
    Unseen, and through their habitations walks
    To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
    Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
    Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets
    Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
    Quite out their native language; and, instead,
    To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
    Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud,
    Among the builders; each to other calls
    Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage,
    As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven,
    And looking down, to see the hubbub strange,
    And hear the din: Thus was the building left
    Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.
    Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased.
    O execrable son! so to aspire
    Above his brethren; to himself assuming
    Authority usurped, from God not given:
    He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
    Dominion absolute; that right we hold
    By his donation; but man over men
    He made not lord; such title to himself
    Reserving, human left from human free.
    But this usurper his encroachment proud
    Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends
    Siege and defiance: Wretched man!what food
    Will he convey up thither, to sustain
    Himself and his rash army; where thin air
    Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
    And famish him of breath, if not of bread?
    To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorrest
    That son, who on the quiet state of men
    Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
    Rational liberty; yet know withal,
    Since thy original lapse, true liberty
    Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
    Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
    Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
    Immediately inordinate desires,
    And upstart passions, catch the government
    From reason; and to servitude reduce
    Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
    Within himself unworthy powers to reign
    Over free reason, God, in judgement just,
    Subjects him from without to violent lords;
    Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
    His outward freedom: Tyranny must be;
    Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
    Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
    From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
    But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,
    Deprives them of their outward liberty;
    Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son
    Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame
    Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
    Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
    Thus will this latter, as the former world,
    Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last,
    Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
    His presence from among them, and avert
    His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
    To leave them to their own polluted ways;
    And one peculiar nation to select
    From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
    A nation from one faithful man to spring:
    Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
    Bred up in idol-worship: O, that men
    (Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
    While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood,
    As to forsake the living God, and fall
    To worship their own work in wood and stone
    For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
    To call by vision, from his father's house,
    His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
    Which he will show him; and from him will raise
    A mighty nation; and upon him shower
    His benediction so, that in his seed
    All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys;
    Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes:
    I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
    He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
    Ur of Chaldaea, passing now the ford
    To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
    Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
    Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
    With God, who called him, in a land unknown.
    Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
    Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
    Of Moreh; there by promise he receives
    Gift to his progeny of all that land,
    From Hameth northward to the Desart south;
    (Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;)
    From Hermon east to the great western Sea;
    Mount Hermon, yonder sea; each place behold
    In prospect, as I point them; on the shore
    Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream,
    Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons
    Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.
    This ponder, that all nations of the earth
    Shall in his seed be blessed: By that seed
    Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
    The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon
    Plainlier shall be revealed. This patriarch blest,
    Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
    A son, and of his son a grand-child, leaves;
    Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown:
    The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs
    From Canaan to a land hereafter called
    Egypt, divided by the river Nile
    See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
    Into the sea. To sojourn in that land
    He comes, invited by a younger son
    In time of dearth, a son whose worthy deeds
    Raise him to be the second in that realm
    Of Pharaoh. There he dies, and leaves his race
    Growing into a nation, and now grown
    Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
    To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
    Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves
    Inhospitably, and kills their infant males:
    Till by two brethren (these two brethren call
    Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim
    His people from enthralment, they return,
    With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.
    But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies
    To know their God, or message to regard,
    Must be compelled by signs and judgements dire;
    To blood unshed the rivers must be turned;
    Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
    With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land;
    His cattle must of rot and murren die;
    Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,
    And all his people; thunder mixed with hail,
    Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptians sky,
    And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls;
    What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
    A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
    Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
    Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
    Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;
    Last, with one midnight stroke, all the first-born
    Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
    The river-dragon tamed at length submits
    To let his sojourners depart, and oft
    Humbles his stubborn heart; but still, as ice
    More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage
    Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea
    Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass,
    As on dry land, between two crystal walls;
    Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand
    Divided, till his rescued gain their shore:
    Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend,
    Though present in his Angel; who shall go
    Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire;
    By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire;
    To guide them in their journey, and remove
    Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues:
    All night he will pursue; but his approach
    Darkness defends between till morning watch;
    Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud,
    God looking forth will trouble all his host,
    And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
    Moses once more his potent rod extends
    Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;
    On their embattled ranks the waves return,
    And overwhelm their war: The race elect
    Safe toward Canaan from the shore advance
    Through the wild Desart, not the readiest way;
    Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed,
    War terrify them inexpert, and fear
    Return them back to Egypt, choosing rather
    Inglorious life with servitude; for life
    To noble and ignoble is more sweet
    Untrained in arms, where rashness leads not on.
    This also shall they gain by their delay
    In the wide wilderness; there they shall found
    Their government, and their great senate choose
    Through the twelve tribes, to rule by laws ordained:
    God from the mount of Sinai, whose gray top
    Shall tremble, he descending, will himself
    In thunder, lightning, and loud trumpets' sound,
    Ordain them laws; part, such as appertain
    To civil justice; part, religious rites
    Of sacrifice; informing them, by types
    And shadows, of that destined Seed to bruise
    The Serpent, by what means he shall achieve
    Mankind's deliverance. But the voice of God
    To mortal ear is dreadful: They beseech
    That Moses might report to them his will,
    And terrour cease; he grants what they besought,
    Instructed that to God is no access
    Without Mediator, whose high office now
    Moses in figure bears; to introduce
    One greater, of whose day he shall foretel,
    And all the Prophets in their age the times
    Of great Messiah shall sing. Thus, laws and rites
    Established, such delight hath God in Men
    Obedient to his will, that he vouchsafes
    Among them to set up his tabernacle;
    The Holy One with mortal Men to dwell:
    By his prescript a sanctuary is framed
    Of cedar, overlaid with gold; therein
    An ark, and in the ark his testimony,
    The records of his covenant; over these
    A mercy-seat of gold, between the wings
    Of two bright Cherubim; before him burn
    Seven lamps as in a zodiack representing
    The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud
    Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night;
    Save when they journey, and at length they come,
    Conducted by his Angel, to the land
    Promised to Abraham and his seed:--The rest
    Were long to tell; how many battles fought
    How many kings destroyed; and kingdoms won;
    Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still
    A day entire, and night's due course adjourn,
    Man's voice commanding, 'Sun, in Gibeon stand,
    'And thou moon in the vale of Aialon,
    'Till Israel overcome! so call the third
    From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him
    His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.
    Here Adam interposed. O sent from Heaven,
    Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things
    Thou hast revealed; those chiefly, which concern
    Just Abraham and his seed: now first I find
    Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased;
    Erewhile perplexed with thoughts, what would become
    Of me and all mankind: But now I see
    His day, in whom all nations shall be blest;
    Favour unmerited by me, who sought
    Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means.
    This yet I apprehend not, why to those
    Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth
    So many and so various laws are given;
    So many laws argue so many sins
    Among them; how can God with such reside?
    To whom thus Michael. Doubt not but that sin
    Will reign among them, as of thee begot;
    And therefore was law given them, to evince
    Their natural pravity, by stirring up
    Sin against law to fight: that when they see
    Law can discover sin, but not remove,
    Save by those shadowy expiations weak,
    The blood of bulls and goats, they may conclude
    Some blood more precious must be paid for Man;
    Just for unjust; that, in such righteousness
    To them by faith imputed, they may find
    Justification towards God, and peace
    Of conscience; which the law by ceremonies
    Cannot appease; nor Man the mortal part
    Perform; and, not performing, cannot live.
    So law appears imperfect; and but given
    With purpose to resign them, in full time,
    Up to a better covenant; disciplined
    From shadowy types to truth; from flesh to spirit;
    From imposition of strict laws to free
    Acceptance of large grace; from servile fear
    To filial; works of law to works of faith.
    And therefore shall not Moses, though of God
    Highly beloved, being but the minister
    Of law, his people into Canaan lead;
    But Joshua, whom the Gentiles Jesus call,
    His name and office bearing, who shall quell
    The adversary-Serpent, and bring back
    Through the world's wilderness long-wandered Man
    Safe to eternal Paradise of rest.
    Mean while they, in their earthly Canaan placed,
    Long time shall dwell and prosper, but when sins
    National interrupt their publick peace,
    Provoking God to raise them enemies;
    From whom as oft he saves them penitent
    By Judges first, then under Kings; of whom
    The second, both for piety renowned
    And puissant deeds, a promise shall receive
    Irrevocable, that his regal throne
    For ever shall endure; the like shall sing
    All Prophecy, that of the royal stock
    Of David (so I name this king) shall rise
    A Son, the Woman's seed to thee foretold,
    Foretold to Abraham, as in whom shall trust
    All nations; and to kings foretold, of kings
    The last; for of his reign shall be no end.
    But first, a long succession must ensue;
    And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed,
    The clouded ark of God, till then in tents
    Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine.
    Such follow him, as shall be registered
    Part good, part bad; of bad the longer scroll;
    Whose foul idolatries, and other faults
    Heaped to the popular sum, will so incense
    God, as to leave them, and expose their land,
    Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
    With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
    To that proud city, whose high walls thou sawest
    Left in confusion; Babylon thence called.
    There in captivity he lets them dwell
    The space of seventy years; then brings them back,
    Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn
    To David, stablished as the days of Heaven.
    Returned from Babylon by leave of kings
    Their lords, whom God disposed, the house of God
    They first re-edify; and for a while
    In mean estate live moderate; till, grown
    In wealth and multitude, factious they grow;
    But first among the priests dissention springs,
    Men who attend the altar, and should most
    Endeavour peace: their strife pollution brings
    Upon the temple itself: at last they seise
    The scepter, and regard not David's sons;
    Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
    Anointed King Messiah might be born
    Barred of his right; yet at his birth a star,
    Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come;
    And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
    His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold:
    His place of birth a solemn Angel tells
    To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night;
    They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
    Of squadroned Angels hear his carol sung.
    A virgin is his mother, but his sire
    The power of the Most High: He shall ascend
    The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
    With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Heavens.
    He ceased, discerning Adam with such joy
    Surcharged, as had like grief been dewed in tears,
    Without the vent of words; which these he breathed.
    O prophet of glad tidings, finisher
    Of utmost hope! now clear I understand
    What oft my steadiest thoughts have searched in vain;
    Why our great Expectation should be called
    The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, hail,
    High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins
    Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son
    Of God Most High: so God with Man unites!
    Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise
    Expect with mortal pain: Say where and when
    Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel.
    To whom thus Michael. Dream not of their fight,
    As of a duel, or the local wounds
    Of head or heel: Not therefore joins the Son
    Manhood to Godhead, with more strength to foil
    Thy enemy; nor so is overcome
    Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise,
    Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound:
    Which he, who comes thy Saviour, shall recure,
    Not by destroying Satan, but his works
    In thee, and in thy seed: Nor can this be,
    But by fulfilling that which thou didst want,
    Obedience to the law of God, imposed
    On penalty of death, and suffering death;
    The penalty to thy transgression due,
    And due to theirs which out of thine will grow:
    So only can high Justice rest appaid.
    The law of God exact he shall fulfil
    Both by obedience and by love, though love
    Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment
    He shall endure, by coming in the flesh
    To a reproachful life, and cursed death;
    Proclaiming life to all who shall believe
    In his redemption; and that his obedience,
    Imputed, becomes theirs by faith; his merits
    To save them, not their own, though legal, works.
    For this he shall live hated, be blasphemed,
    Seised on by force, judged, and to death condemned
    A shameful and accursed, nailed to the cross
    By his own nation; slain for bringing life:
    But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
    The law that is against thee, and the sins
    Of all mankind, with him there crucified,
    Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
    In this his satisfaction; so he dies,
    But soon revives; Death over him no power
    Shall long usurp; ere the third dawning light
    Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
    Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
    Thy ransom paid, which Man from death redeems,
    His death for Man, as many as offered life
    Neglect not, and the benefit embrace
    By faith not void of works: This God-like act
    Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldest have died,
    In sin for ever lost from life; this act
    Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength,
    Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms;
    And fix far deeper in his head their stings
    Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel,
    Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep,
    A gentle wafting to immortal life.
    Nor after resurrection shall he stay
    Longer on earth, than certain times to appear
    To his disciples, men who in his life
    Still followed him; to them shall leave in charge
    To teach all nations what of him they learned
    And his salvation; them who shall believe
    Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
    Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
    Pure, and in mind prepared, if so befall,
    For death, like that which the Redeemer died.
    All nations they shall teach; for, from that day,
    Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
    Salvation shall be preached, but to the sons
    Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
    So in his seed all nations shall be blest.
    Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend
    With victory, triumphing through the air
    Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
    The Serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
    Through all his realm, and there confounded leave;
    Then enter into glory, and resume
    His seat at God's right hand, exalted high
    Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come,
    When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
    With glory and power to judge both quick and dead;
    To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward
    His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
    Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
    Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
    Than this of Eden, and far happier days.
    So spake the Arch-Angel Michael; then paused,
    As at the world's great period; and our sire,
    Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied.
    O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!
    That all this good of evil shall produce,
    And evil turn to good; more wonderful
    Than that which by creation first brought forth
    Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand,
    Whether I should repent me now of sin
    By me done, and occasioned; or rejoice
    Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring;
    To God more glory, more good-will to Men
    From God, and over wrath grace shall abound.
    But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven
    Must re-ascend, what will betide the few
    His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd,
    The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide
    His people, who defend? Will they not deal
    Worse with his followers than with him they dealt?
    Be sure they will, said the Angel; but from Heaven
    He to his own a Comforter will send,
    The promise of the Father, who shall dwell
    His Spirit within them; and the law of faith,
    Working through love, upon their hearts shall write,
    To guide them in all truth; and also arm
    With spiritual armour, able to resist
    Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts;
    What man can do against them, not afraid,
    Though to the death; against such cruelties
    With inward consolations recompensed,
    And oft supported so as shall amaze
    Their proudest persecutors: For the Spirit,
    Poured first on his Apostles, whom he sends
    To evangelize the nations, then on all
    Baptized, shall them with wonderous gifts endue
    To speak all tongues, and do all miracles,
    As did their Lord before them. Thus they win
    Great numbers of each nation to receive
    With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: At length
    Their ministry performed, and race well run,
    Their doctrine and their story written left,
    They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
    Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
    Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven
    To their own vile advantages shall turn
    Of lucre and ambition; and the truth
    With superstitions and traditions taint,
    Left only in those written records pure,
    Though not but by the Spirit understood.
    Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names,
    Places, and titles, and with these to join
    Secular power; though feigning still to act
    By spiritual, to themselves appropriating
    The Spirit of God, promised alike and given
    To all believers; and, from that pretence,
    Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
    On every conscience; laws which none shall find
    Left them inrolled, or what the Spirit within
    Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then
    But force the Spirit of Grace itself, and bind
    His consort Liberty? what, but unbuild
    His living temples, built by faith to stand,
    Their own faith, not another's? for, on earth,
    Who against faith and conscience can be heard
    Infallible? yet many will presume:
    Whence heavy persecution shall arise
    On all, who in the worship persevere
    Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part,
    Will deem in outward rites and specious forms
    Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire
    Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith
    Rarely be found: So shall the world go on,
    To good malignant, to bad men benign;
    Under her own weight groaning; till the day
    Appear of respiration to the just,
    And vengeance to the wicked, at return
    Of him so lately promised to thy aid,
    The Woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold,
    Now ampler known thy Saviour and thy Lord;
    Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be revealed
    In glory of the Father, to dissolve
    Satan with his perverted world; then raise
    From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined,
    New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date,
    Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
    To bring forth fruits, joy and eternal bliss.
    He ended; and thus Adam last replied.
    How soon hath thy prediction, Seer blest,
    Measured this transient world, the race of time,
    Till time stand fixed! Beyond is all abyss,
    Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
    Greatly-instructed I shall hence depart;
    Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill
    Of knowledge, what this vessel can contain;
    Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
    Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
    And love with fear the only God; to walk
    As in his presence; ever to observe
    His providence; and on him sole depend,
    Merciful over all his works, with good
    Still overcoming evil, and by small
    Accomplishing great things, by things deemed weak
    Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise
    By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake
    Is fortitude to highest victory,
    And, to the faithful, death the gate of life;
    Taught this by his example, whom I now
    Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest.
    To whom thus also the Angel last replied.
    This having learned, thou hast attained the sum
    Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
    Thou knewest by name, and all the ethereal powers,
    All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
    Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea,
    And all the riches of this world enjoyedst,
    And all the rule, one empire; only add
    Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
    Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
    By name to come called charity, the soul
    Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth
    To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
    A Paradise within thee, happier far.--
    Let us descend now therefore from this top
    Of speculation; for the hour precise
    Exacts our parting hence; and see!the guards,
    By me encamped on yonder hill, expect
    Their motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
    In signal of remove, waves fiercely round:
    We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
    Her also I with gentle dreams have calmed
    Portending good, and all her spirits composed
    To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
    Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
    Chiefly what may concern her faith to know,
    The great deliverance by her seed to come
    (For by the Woman's seed) on all mankind:
    That ye may live, which will be many days,
    Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
    With cause, for evils past; yet much more cheered
    With meditation on the happy end.
    He ended, and they both descend the hill;
    Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
    Lay sleeping, ran before; but found her waked;
    And thus with words not sad she him received.
    Whence thou returnest, and whither wentest, I know;
    For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,
    Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
    Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
    Wearied I fell asleep: But now lead on;
    In me is no delay; with thee to go,
    Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
    Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
    Art all things under $Heaven, all places thou,
    Who for my wilful crime art banished hence.
    This further consolation yet secure
    I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
    Such favour I unworthy am vouchsafed,
    By me the Promised Seed shall all restore.
    So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
    Well pleased, but answered not: For now, too nigh
    The Arch-Angel stood; and, from the other hill
    To their fixed station, all in bright array
    The Cherubim descended; on the ground
    Gliding meteorous, as evening-mist
    Risen from a river o'er the marish glides,
    And gathers ground fast at the labourer's heel
    Homeward returning. High in front advanced,
    The brandished sword of God before them blazed,
    Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
    And vapour as the Libyan air adust,
    Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat
    In either hand the hastening Angel caught
    Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate
    Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
    To the subjected plain; then disappeared.
    They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
    Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
    Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
    With dreadful faces thronged, and fiery arms:
    Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;
    The world was all before them, where to choose
    Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
    They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
    Through Eden took their solitary way.
    Chapter 12
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