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So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contriv❜d as not to mix Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change; Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk Whatever earth, all-bearing mother, yields In India east or west, or middle shore, In Pontus, or the Punic coast, or where Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat, Rough, or smooth rin'd, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large, and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand: for drink the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meathes From many aberry, and from sweet kernels press'd She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfum'd. Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet His god-like guest, walks forth, without more train Accompany'd than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long




333 choice to choose] So P. L. viii. 130. 'move motion.' ix. 289. 'thoughts misthought,' xi. 427. 'sinned sin.' Newton. 348 vessels] The shell of the fruits. See Book iv. ver. 335.

เ and in the rind,

Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream.'

Of horses led and grooms besmear'd with gold
Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw'd,
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
As to a superior nature, bowing low,



Thus said. Native of heaven, for other place
None can than heaven such glorious shape contain,
Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet by sov'reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline.


Whom thus the angelic Virtue answer❜d mild. Adam, I therefore came, nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell, As may not oft invite, though spirits of heaven, To visit thee: lead on then where thy bower 375 O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till ev'ning rise, I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbour smil'd With flow'rets deck'd and fragrant smells: but Eve Undeck'd, save with her self, more lovely fair 380 Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feign'd Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove,

356 besmear'd] Hor. Od. iv. 9. 14.

'Aurum vestibus illitum.' Hume.

357 agape] agaze. Bentl. MS.

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Stood to entertain her guest from heaven; no veil She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm Alter'd her cheek. On whom the angel Hail 385 Bestow'd, the holy salutation us'd

Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.

Hail, mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of GOD 390 Have heap'd this table. Rais'd of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square from side to side All autumn pil'd, though spring and autumn here Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold, No fear lest dinner cool, when thus began Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good unmeasur'd out descends, To us for food and for delight hath caus'd The earth to yield; unsavoury food, perhaps, To spiritual natures: only this I know, That one celestial Father gives to all.



To whom the angel. Therefore what he gives, Whose praise be ever sung, to man in part Spiritual, may of purest spirits be found

No ingrateful food: and food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,

As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty


Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,

And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created needs
To be sustain'd and fed; of elements



The grosser feeds the purer; earth the sea;
Earth and the sea feed air; the air those fires
Ethereal; and as lowest first the moon;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd
Vapours not yet into her substance turn'd.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun, that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompence
In humid exhalations, and at even


Sups with the ocean. Though in heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; tho' from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd with pearly grain; yet GOD hath here 430
Varied his bounty so with new delights,
As may compare with heaven ; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The angel, nor in mist, the common gloss

422 moist] Marino's Sl. of the Innocents, lib. ii. st. xcv. From the cold frost of that moist orbe secure.'

In Hamlet, act i. s. 1. the moon is called 'moist star.'

426 Sups] Lovelace's Post. Poems, p. 15.

'The sun sups with the deep.' Todd. 426 trees] See Merrick's Triphiodorus, ver. 252.



Of theologians, but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat

To transubstantiate: what redounds, transpires
Through spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
Of sooty coal the empyric alchymist

Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gald

As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown'd. O innocence
Deserving paradise! if ever, then,

Then had the sons of GOD excuse to have been
Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injur'd lover's hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had

Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arose

In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass,




Given him by this great conference, to know
Of things above his world, and of their being 455
Who dwell in heaven, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far; whose radiant forms,
Divine effulgence, whose high power so far
Exceeded human; and his wary speech
Thus to th' empyreal minister he fram'd.
Inhabitant with GOD, now know I well
Thy favour, in this honour done to man,

443 mine] Mint.' Bentl. MS.

455 his] Tickell, Fenton, Bently, read 'this' corruptly.


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