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No. 357 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Adam and Eve, in the Book we are now considering, are likewise drawn with such Sentiments as do not only interest the Reader in their Afflictions, but raise in him the most melting Passions of Humanity and Commiseration. When Adam sees the several Changes in Nature produced about him, he appears in a Disorder of Mind suitable to one who had forfeited both his Innocence and his Happiness; he is filled with Horrour, Remorse, Despair; in the Anguish of his Heart he expostulates with his Creator for having given him an unasked Existence.

Did I request thee, Maker, from my Clay
To mould me Man? did I sollicite thee
From Darkness to promote me? or here place
In this delicious Garden? As my Will
Concurr’d not to my Being, twere but right
And equal to reduce me to my Dust,
Desirous to resign, and render back
All I received–

He immediately after recovers from his Presumption, owns his Doom to be just, and begs that the Death which is threatned him may be inflicted on him.

–Why delays
His Hand to execute, what his Decree
Fix’d on this day? Why do I overlive?
Why am I mock’d with Death, and lengthened out
To deathless Pain? how gladly would I meet
Mortality my Sentence, and be Earth
Insensible! how glad would lay me down,
As in my Mothers Lap? there should I rest
And sleep secure; his dreadful Voice no more
Would thunder in my Ears: no fear of worse
To me and to my Offspring, would torment me
With cruel Expectation–

This whole Speech is full of the like Emotion, and varied with all those Sentiments which we may suppose natural to a Mind so broken and disturb’d. I must not omit that generous Concern which our first Father shews in it for his Posterity, and which is so proper to affect the Reader.
–Hide me from the Face
Of God, whom to behold was then my heighth
Of Happiness! yet well, if here would end
The Misery, I deserved it, and would bear
My own Deservings: but this will not serve;
All that I eat, or drink, or shall beget
Is propagated Curse. O Voice once heard
Delightfully, Increase and Multiply;
Now Death to hear!–

–In me all
Posterity stands curst! Fair Patrimony,
That I must leave ye, Sons! O were I able
To waste it all my self, and leave you none!
So disinherited, how would you bless
Me, now your Curse! Ah, why should all Mankind,
For one Man’s Fault, thus guiltless be condemn’d,
If guiltless? But from me what can proceed
But all corrupt–

Who can afterwards behold the Father of Mankind extended upon the Earth, uttering his midnight Complaints, bewailing his Existence, and wishing for Death, without sympathizing with him in his Distress?
Thus Adam to himself lamented loud,
Thro the still Night; not now, (as ere Man fell)
Wholesome, and cool, and mild, but with black Air
Accompanied, with Damps and dreadful Gloom;
Which to his evil Conscience represented
All things with double Terror. On the Ground
Outstretched he lay; on the cold Ground! and oft
Curs’d his Creation; Death as oft accusd
Of tardy Execution–

The Part of Eve in this Book is no less passionate, and apt to sway the Reader in her Favour. She is represented with great Tenderness as approaching Adam, but is spurn d from him with a Spirit of Upbraiding and Indignation, conformable to the Nature of Man, whose Passions had now gained the Dominion over him. The following Passage, wherein she is described as renewing her Addresses to him, with the whole Speech that follows it, have something in them exquisitely moving and pathetick.