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Bear thine own first, ill able to sustain
His full wrath, whose thou feel’st as yet least parts
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 aught I see,
Will 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, replied.
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 begotten, 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 being yet unbegot. Childless thou art, childless remain : so Death Shall be deceived his glut, and with us two Be forc'd to satisfy his ravenous maw. But if you 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, 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,

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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 påle. But Adam, with such counsel nothing sway'd, To better hopes his more attentive mind Labouring had rais’d; and thus to Eve replied.

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' his vengeful ire, 'than so To be forestall d; 'much more I fear test 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 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
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
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,

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And teach us further by what means to shun
The inclement seasons, rain, ice, hail and snow?
Which now the sky, with various face begins
To show us in this mountain ; while the winds
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
Our limbs benumm’d, ere this diurnal star
Leave cold the night, how we his gather'd beams
Reflected may with matter sere foment;
Or, by collision of two bodies, grind
The air attrite to fire; as late the clouds
Justling, or push'd with winds, rude in their shock,
Tine the slant lightning: whose thwart flame,

driven down,
Kindles the gummy bark of fir or pine;
And sends a comfortable heat from far,
Which might supply the sun : Such fire to use,
And what may else be remedy or cure
To evils which our own misdeeds have wrought,
He will instruct us praying, and of grace
Beseeching him; so as we need not fear
To pass commodiously this life, sustain'd
By him with many comforts, till we end
In dust; our final rest and native home,
What better can we do, than, to the place
Repairing where he judg’d us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent; and there confess

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