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In Paradise, that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only Tree
Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life:
So near grows death to life! whate'er death is :
Some dreadful thing, no doubt: for well thou knowl
God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left,
Among so many signs of pow'r and rule,
upon us; and dominion giv'n
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and fea. Then let us not think hard
One eafy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise Him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful talk,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flow'rs,
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou! for whom,
And from whom I was form’d; flesh of thy flesh, 441
And without whom am to no end; my guide,
And head! what thou hast said, is just and right.
For we to Him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds; while thou
Like confort to thy self canst no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awak'd, and found my self repos'd
Under a fhade on flow'rs; much wond’ring where,
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issu'd from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd,
Pure as th' expanse of heav'n: I thither went,
With un-experienc'd thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watry gleam appear'd, Bending to look on me: I itarted back; It started back: but pleas'd I soon return'd; Pleas'd it return'd as soon; with answering looks Of fympathy and love: there I had fix'd Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire, Had not a voice thus warn'd me, What thou feeft, “: What there thou feeft, fair Creature, is thy felf; “ With thee it came and goes : but follow me, “ And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470 * Thy waiting and thy soft enibraces; he “ Whose image thou art : him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear “ Multitudes like thy self, and thence be call'd « Mother of human race. What could I do,
475 But follow straight, invisibly thus led ? Till I elj:y'd thee? fair indeed, and tall, Under a plantan; yet, methought, less fair, Less winning soft, less amiably mild, Than that smooth watry image: back I turn'd, 480 Thou following cry'dlt aloud, return fair Eve, Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'ft, of him thou art, His flesh, his bone ; to give thee Being I lent Out of my fide to thee, nearest my heart; Substantial life, to have thee by my side, Henceforth an individual folace dear: Part of my soul, I seek thee; and thee claim, My other half-With that, thy gentle land Seiz'd mine ; I yielded; and from that time fee How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
490 And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
So fpake our general mother; and with eyes
Cf conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first father : half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he (in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,)
Smild with superior love ; as JUPITER
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds, 500
That shed May-flow'rs; and press d her matron-lip
With kisses pure :
-aside the devil turn'd
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Ey'd them alkance; and to himself thus plain'd.
Sight hateful, fight tormenting ! thus these two, 505
Imparadis'd in one another's arms
(The happier EDEN!) shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss: while I to hell am thrust,
Where neither joy, nor love, but fierce detire,
(Among our other torments not the least)
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing, pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
From their own mouths; all is not theirs, it seems :
One fatal Tree there stands of Knowledge callid,
Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidden? 515
Sufpicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord .
Envy them that? can it be fin to know?
Can it be death and do they only stand
By ignorance? is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin! hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low; whom knowledge might exalt
Equal with Gods : aspiring to be such,
They taste, and die : what likelier can ensue?
But first, with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave un-fpy'd ;
A chance, but chance may lead where I may meet 530
Some wandring fpirit of heav'n, by fountain-lide,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn'd. Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair ! enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures ; for long woes are to succeed ! 535
So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
But with fly circumspection ; and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale his roam.
Mean-while in utmost longitude, where heav'n
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended ; and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Leveld his ev'ning rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, pild up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far; winding with one ascent
Accesible from earth, one entrance high:
The rest was craggy cliff, that over-hung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars GABRIEL fat,
Chief of th' Angelick guards, awaiting night : 550
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th’unarmed youth of heav'n; but nigh at hand
Celestial armory, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high, with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came URIEL, gliding through the ev'n 555
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star:
In autumn thwarts the night,, when vapours
Impress'd the Air, and shew the mariner
From what point of his Compass to beware
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste.
Gabriel! to thee thy course by lot hath giv'n
Charge and striệt watch, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach, or enter in:
This day, at height of noon, came to my sphere
A fpirit; zealous, as he seem'd, to know
More of th' Almighty's works; and chiefly man,
God's latest image : ['describ'd his way,
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aery gait:
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
Alien from heav'n, with passions foul obscurid :
Mine eye pursu'd him stilī, but under shade
Lost sight of him: one of the banith'd crew,
I fear, hath ventur'd from the Deep to raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find. 575
To whom the winged warrior thus return’d: Uriel!
Uriel! no wonder if thy perfect fight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou fit'st,
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
Well known from heav'n; and fince meridian hour...
No creature thence. If spirit of other fort,
So minded, have o'er-leap'd these earthly bounds
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lark, of whom
Thou tell'it, by morrow dawning I shall know..
So promis'd he ; and Uriel to his charge 598.
Return'd, on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd
Bore him flope downward to the sun, now fall'n
Beneath th' Azores: whether the prime orb,,
Incredible how swift, had thither rowl'd...
Diurnal; or chis lefs voluble earth,
By shorter flight to th' eaft, had left him there, 595)
Arraying with reflected purple, and gold,
The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came ftill evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad :
Silence accompany'd; for beast and bird,
They to their grally couch, these to their nests,
Were sunk; all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous descant sung ;
Silence was pleas'd: now glow'd the firmament
With living saphirs; HESPERUS, that led
The starry host, rode brightest ; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty at length,
Apparent Queen, unveild her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw ; ;
When ADAM thus to EVE : Fair confort! th' hour. 610. 3;
Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
Mind us of like repose ; fince God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Succeflives and the timely dew of sleep,