Paradise Lost Book XI
by John Milton

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Book XI

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn 
From his displeasure; in whose look serene, 
When angry most he seemed and most severe, 
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone? 
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve 
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place 
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell 
Before him reverent; and both confessed 
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears 
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air 
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign 
Of sorrow unfeigned, and humiliation meek. 
Thus they, in lowliest plight, repentant stood 
Praying; for from the mercy-seat above 
Prevenient grace descending had removed 
The stony from their hearts, and made new flesh 
Regenerate grow instead; that sighs now breathed 
Unutterable; which the Spirit of prayer 
Inspired, and winged for Heaven with speedier flight 
Than loudest oratory :  Yet their port 
Not of mean suitors; nor important less 
Seemed their petition, than when the ancient pair 
In fables old, less ancient yet than these, 
Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha, to restore 
The race of mankind drowned, before the shrine 
Of Themis stood devout.  To Heaven their prayers 
Flew up, nor missed the way, by envious winds 
Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passed 
Dimensionless through heavenly doors; then clad 
With incense, where the golden altar fumed, 
By their great intercessour, came in sight 
Before the Father's throne: them the glad Son 
Presenting, thus to intercede began. 
See$ Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung 
From thy implanted grace in Man; these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer mixed 
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring; 
Fruits of more pleasing savour, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which, his own hand manuring, all the trees 
Of Paradise could have produced, ere fallen 
From innocence.  Now therefore, bend thine ear 
To supplication; hear his sighs, though mute; 
Unskilful with what words to pray, let me 
Interpret for him; me, his advocate 
And propitiation; all his works on me, 
Good, or not good, ingraft; my merit those 
Shall perfect, and for these my death shall pay. 
Accept me; and, in me, from these receive 
The smell of peace toward mankind: let him live 
Before thee reconciled, at least his days 
Numbered, though sad; till death, his doom, (which I 
To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse,) 
To better life shall yield him: where with me 
All my redeemed may dwell in joy and bliss; 
Made one with me, as I with thee am one. 
To whom the Father, without cloud, serene. 
All thy request for Man, accepted Son, 
Obtain; all thy request was my decree: 
But, longer in that Paradise to dwell, 
The law I gave to Nature him forbids: 
Those pure immortal elements, that know, 
No gross, no unharmonious mixture foul, 
Eject him, tainted now; and purge him off, 
As a distemper, gross, to air as gross, 
And mortal food; as may dispose him best 
For dissolution wrought by sin, that first 
Distempered all things, and of incorrupt 
Corrupted.  I, at first, with two fair gifts 
Created him endowed; with happiness, 
And immortality: that fondly lost, 
This other served but to eternize woe; 
Till I provided death: so death becomes 
His final remedy; and, after life, 
Tried in sharp tribulation, and refined 
By faith and faithful works, to second life, 
Waked in the renovation of the just, 
Resigns him up with Heaven and Earth renewed. 
But let us call to synod all the Blest, 
Through Heaven's wide bounds: from them I will not hide 
My judgements; how with mankind I proceed, 
As how with peccant Angels late they saw, 
And in their state, though firm, stood more confirmed. 
He ended, and the Son gave signal high 
To the bright minister that watched; he blew 
His trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps 
When God descended, and perhaps once more 
To sound at general doom.  The angelick blast 
Filled all the regions: from their blisful bowers 
Of amarantine shade, fountain...

(The entire section is 7,075 words.)