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With Gods to sit the highest, am now “Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond strain'd
Compare above all living creatures dear! Into a beast; and, mix'd with bestial slime, Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts emThis essence to incarnate and imbrute,
ploy'd, That to the height of deity aspird !
How we might best fulfil the work which here But what will not ambition and revenge
God hath assign'd us; nor of me shalt pass Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low Unprais'd: for nothing lovelier can be found As high he soar'd; obnoxious, first or last, In woman, than to study household good, To basest things. Revenge, at first though And good works in her husband to promote. sweet,
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils:
Labour, as to debar us when we need Let it ; I reck not, so it light well aim'd, Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, Since higher I fall short, on him who next? Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse Provokes my enzy, this new favourite
Of looks and smiles ; for smiles from reason flow, Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite, To brute denied, and are of love the food; Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd Love, not the lowest end of human life. Prom dast : spite then with spite is best repaid.” Por not to irksome toil, but to delight,
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, He made us, and delight to reason join'd. Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint His midnight-search, where soonest he might
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found As we need walk, till younger hands ere long In labyrinth of many a round self-rolld,
Assist us: but, if much converse perhaps His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles : Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield : Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
For solitude sometimes is best society, Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb, And short retirement urges sweet return. Pearless unfeard he slept : in at his mouth But other doubt possesses me, lest harm The Devil enter'd; and his brutal sense, Befall thee sever'd from me ; for thou know'st In heart or head, possessing, soon inspir'd What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe With act intelligential; but his sleep
Envying our happiness, and of his own Disturb'd not, waiting close the approach of morn. Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame Now, when as sacred light began to dawn By sly assault ; and somewbere nigh at hand In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find Their morning incense, when all things, that His wish and best advantage, us asunder ; breathe,
Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise To other speedy aid might lend at need : To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
Whether his first design be to withdraw With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, | Our feälty from God, or to disturb And join'd their vocal worship to the quire Conjugal love., than which perhaps no bliss Of creatures wanting voice ; that done, partake Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more ; The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs : Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side Then commune, how that day they best may ply That gave thee being, still shades thee, and Their growing work : for much their work out
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, The hands' despatch of two gardening so wide, Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, And Eve first to her husband thus began.
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." “Adam, well may we labour still to dress To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and Aower, As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, Our pleasant task enjoin'd; but till more bands with sweet austere composure thus replied. Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
“Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Luxurious by restraint ; what we by day
Earth's Lord ! Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, That such an enemy we have, who seeks One night or two with wanton growth derides Our ruin, both by thee inform'd I learn, Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, And from the parting angel over-heard, Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present: As in a shady nook I stood behind, Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers. Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore wind
doubt The woodbine round this arbour, or direct To God or thee, because we have a foe The clasping ivy where to climb; while I, May tempt it, I expected not to hear. In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
His violence thou fear'st not, being such With myrtle, find what to redress till noon : As we, not capable of death or pain, For, while so near each other thus all day Can either not receive, or can repel. Our task we choose, what wonder if so near His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers Looks intervene and smiles, or object new Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love Casual discourse draw on; which intermits Can by his fraud be shakeu or seduc'd; Our day's work, brought to little, though begun Thoughts, which how found they harbour in Early, and the hour of supper comes unearn'd ?”
thy breast, To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd. Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear ?"
To whom with healing words Adam replied. Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpris'dy “ Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve! She dictate false ; and mis-inform the will Por such thou art; from sin and blame entire : To do what God expressly bath forbid. Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me.
Some specious object by the foe suborn'd,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was war'd.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve From thee alone, which on us both at once First thy obedience; the other who can know, The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare; Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? Or daring, first on me the assault shall light. But, if thou think, trial unsought may find Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn; Us both securer than thus war'd thou seem'st, Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Angels; nor think superfluous others aid. Go in thy native innocence, rely I, from the influence of thy looks, receive On what thou hast of virtue; summon all ! Access in every virtue ; in thy sight
For God towards thee hath done his part, de More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
thine.” Of outward strength ; while shame, thou look- So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Ere ing on,
Persisted ; yet submiss, though last, replied. Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,
“ With thy perinission then, and thus foro Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
warn'd Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words feel
Touch'd only ; that our trial, when least sought, When I am present, and thy trial choose May find us both perhaps far less prepard, With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?" The willinger I go, nor much expect So spake domestic Adam in his care
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus saying, from her husband's hand her Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd.
(light, “ If this be our condition, thus to dwell Soft she withdrew; and, like a wood-nymph In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe,
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Subtle or violent, we not endued
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self Single with like defence, wherever met;
In gait surpass'd, and goddess-like deport, How are we happy, still in fear of harm? Though not as she with bow and quiver arm’d, But harm precedes not sin : only our foe, But with such gardening tools as art yet rude, Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem Guiltless of fire, had form'd, or angels brought Of ourintegrity: his foul esteem
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or Vertumuus, or to Ceres in her prime, fear'd
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. By us? who rather double honour gain Her long with ardent look his eye pursued From his surmise prov'd false; find peace Delighted, but desiring more her stay. within,
[event. Oft he to her his charge of quick retum Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the Repeated; she to him as oft engag'd And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd To be return'd by noon amid the bower, Alone, without exterior help sustain's ?
And all things in best order to invite Let us not then suspect our happy state
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
O much deceiv'd, much failing, hapless Eve, As not secure to single or combin'd.
Of thy presum'd return ! event perverse ! Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
Thou never from that hour in Paradise And Eden were no Eden, thus expos'd.” Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose;
To whom thus Adam fervently replied. Such ambush, bid among sweet flowers and “ O Woman, best are all things as the will
shades, Of God ordaind them : his creating hand
Waited with bellish rancour imminent Nothing imperfect or deficient left
To intercept thy way, or send thee back Of all that he created, much less Man,
Despoild of innocence, of faith, of bliss ! Or aught that might his happy state secure, For now, and since first break of dawn, the Secure from outward force ; within himself
fiend, The danger lies, yet lies within his power: Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come; Against his will he can receive no barm.
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find But God left free the will; for what obrys The only two of mankind, but in them Reason, is free; and reason he made right, The whole included race, his purpos'd prey. But bid her well beware, and still erect; In bower and field he sought where any tuft
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould;
(find I not; so much hath Hell debas'd, and pain
And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate,
So spake the enemy of mankind, enclos'd Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though In serpent, inmate bad! and toward Eve gay
Address'd bis way: not with indented wave,
Ammonjan Jove, or Capitoline was seen ;
He with Olympias ; this with her who bore
As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought
So varied he, and of his tortuous train
Fawning ; and lick'd the ground whereon she
trod. Of gesture, or least action, overaw'd
His gentle dumb expression turn'd at length His malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd The eye of Eve, to mark his play ; he, glad His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought : Of her attention gain'd, with serpent-tongue That space the evil-one abstracted stood
Organic, or impulse of vocal air, From his own evil, and for the time remain'd His fraudulent temptation thus began. Stupidly good; of enmity disarm’d,
“ Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge.
Thou canst who art sole wonder! much less arm
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine
With ravishment beheld ! there best beheld, Compulsion thus transported, to forget
Where universally admird ; but here What hither brought us! hate, not love; nor hope In this enclosure wild, these beasts among, Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy, Half what in thee is fair, one man except, Save what is in destroying ; other joy
Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who should To me is lost. Then, iet me not let pass
By angels numberless, thy daily train."
Into the heart of Eve his words made way,
Not unamaz'd, she thus in answer spake.
To us; in such abundance lies our choice, " What may this mean? language of man As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, pronounc'd
Still hanging incorruptible, till men By tongue of brute, and human sense express'd ? Grow up to their provision, and more hands The first, at least, of these I thought denied Help to disburden Nature of her birth." To beasts; whom God, on their creation-day, To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad. Created mute to all articulate sound:
“ Empress, the way is ready, and not long ; The latter I demur; for in their looks
Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat, Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past Thee, serpent, subtlest beast of all the field Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept I knew, but not with human voice endued ; My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." Redouble then this miracle, and say,
“ Lead then," said Eve. He, leading, swiftly How cam’st thou speakable of mute, and how
rollid To me so friendly grown above the rest
In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight?
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy Say, for such wonder claims attention due.” Brightens bis crest; as when a wandering fire,
To whom the guileful tempter thus replied. Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night “Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! Condenses, and the cold environs round, Easy to me it is to tell thee all [be obey'd : Kindled through agitation to a flame, What thou command'st ; and right thou shouldst | Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends, I was at first as other beasts that graze
Hovering and blazing with delusive light, The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, Misleads the amaz'd night-wanderer from his As was my food ; nor aught but food discern'd
(pool; Or sex, and apprehended nothing high : To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or Till, on a day roving the field, I chanc'd There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far: A goodly tree far distant to behold
So glister's the dire snake, and into fraud Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mix'd, Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the tree Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze; Of prohibition, root of all our woe; When frum the boughs a savoury odour blown,
Which when she saw, thus to her guide she Grateful to appetite, more pleasd my sense
spake. T'han smell of sweetest fenel, or the teats
“Serpent, we might have spar'd our coming Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even,
hither, Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play. Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess To satisfy the sharp desire 1 bad
The credit of whose virtue rest with thee; Of tasting those fair apples, I resolvid
Wonderous ipdeed, if cause of such effects. Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,
But of this tree we may not taste nor touch; Powerful persuaders, quicken'd at the scent God so commanded, and left that command Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keen. Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live About the mossy trunk I wound me soon; Law to ourselves; our reason is our law." For, high from ground, the branches would re- To whom the tempter guilefully replied. quire
“ Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit Thy utmost reach or Adam's : round the tree Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, All other beasts that saw, with like desire Yet lords declar'd of all in Earth or air?" Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. “Of the fruit Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung
Of each tree in the garden we may eat; Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst I spar'd not; for, such pleasure till that hour, The garden, God hath said, “Ye shall not eat At feed or fountain, never had I found.
Thereof, por shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'» Sated at length, ere long I might perceive
She scarce had said, though brief, when now Strange alteration in me, to degree
more bold Of reason in my inward powers; and speech The tempter, but with show of zeal and love Wanted not long; though to this shape retain'd. To Man, and indignation at his wrong, Thenceforth to speculations high or deep New part puts on; and, as to passion mor'd, I turn d my thoughts, and with capacious mind Fluctuates disturb'd, yet comely and in act Consider'd all things visible in Heaven,
Rais'd, as of some great matter to begin. Or Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good: As when of old some orator renown'd, But all that fair and good in thy divine
In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray,
Flourish'd, since mute! to some great cause adUnited I beheld; no fair to thine
dressid, Equivalent or second! which compellid
Stood in himself collected; while each part, Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come Motion, each act, won audience ere the tungue; And gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd Sometimes in height began, as no delay Sovran of creatures, universal dame !"
Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right: So talk'd the spirited sly snake ; and Eve, So standing, moving, or to height up grown, Yet more amaz’d, unwary thus replied. The tempter, all impassion'd, thus began.
“ Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt - “O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giring plant, The virtue of that fruit, in thee first prov'd : Mother of science! now I feel thy power But say, where grows the tree? from hence how Within me clear; not only to discern For many are the trees of God that grow [far? | Things in their causes, but tɔ trace the ways In Paradise, and various, yet unknown Of highest agents, deem'd however wise.
Queen of this universe! do not believe
The tongue not made for speech, to speak thy Those rigid threats of death: ye shall not die :
Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree
And yet unknown, is as not had at all.
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and dis-
This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'à?
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which His worshippers ? He knows that in the day
first Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,
Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then
The good befall’n him, autbor unsuspect, Open'd and clear'd, and ye shall be as gods, Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile. Knowing both good and evil, as they know.
What fear I then ? rather, what know to fear That ye shall be as gods, since I as Man,
Under this ignorance of good and evil, Internal Man, is but proportion meet;
Of God or death, of law or penalty? 1, of brute, buman; ye, of human, gods. Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off
Pair to the eye, inviting to the taste, Human, to put on gods; death to be wish’d,
Of virtue make wise: what binders then Though threaten'd, which no worse than this To reach, and feed at once both body and mind ? can bring.
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of On our belief, that all from them proceeds:
woe, I question it; for this fair Earth i see,
That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk Warm’d by the Sun, producing every kind;
The guilty serpent ; and well might; for Eve,
Regarded; such delight till then, as seem'd,
And knew not eating death : satiate at length,
He ended ; and his words, replete with guile, To sapience, hitherto obscurd, infam'd,
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end
Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease
In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know;
For, had the gift been thei's, it had not here Solicited her longing eye ; yet first
Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe, Pausing a while, thus to herself she mus'd. Best guide: not following thee, I had remain'd
“Great are thy virtues,doubtless, best of fruits, In ignorance; thou open’st wisdom's way, Though kept from man, and worthy to be ad And giv'st access, though secret she retire. mird;
And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high, Whose taste, too long forborn, at first assay High, and remote to see from thence distinct Gave elocution to the mute, and tanght
Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps