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This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the highth of deity aspir'd!
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low
As high he soar'd; obnoxious, first or last,
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite

Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.”

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on His midnight search, where soonest he might find The serpent him fast sleeping soon he found In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd, His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles: Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, Nor nocent yet, but, on the grassy herb Fearless unfear'd he slept in at his mouth The devil enter'd; and his brutal sense In heart or head, possessing, soon inspir'd With act intelligential; but his sleep

Disturb'd not, waiting close the approach of morn. Now, when as sacred light began to dawn

In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe,

From the earth's great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill

With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And join'd their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs:
Then commune, how that day they best may ply
Their growing work: for much their work outgrew
The hands' dispatch of two gardening, so wide,
And Eve first to her husband thus began:

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"Adam, well may we labour still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant task enjoin'd; but till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day,
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present
Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while 1,
In yonder spring of roses intermix'd

With myrtle, find what to redress till noon;
For, while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on; which intermits
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearn'd ?”
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd:
"Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear!
Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts em●
ploy'd

How we might best fulfil the work which here
God hath assign'd us; nor of me shalt pass
Unprais'd; for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flɔw,
To brute denied, and are of love the food;
Love, not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight,

He made us, and delight to reason join'd. [hands
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us: but if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield
For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befall thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe,
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantage, us asunder ·
Hopele s to circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need:
Whether his first design be to withdraw
Our fealty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more:
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
That
gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures."
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
As one who foves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus replied:
"Offspring of heaven and earth, and all earth's
That such an enemy we have, who seeks {lord!
Our ruin, both by thee inform'd I learn,
And from the parting angel overheard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,

Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers.
But, that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foc

May tempt it, I expected not to hear.

His violence thon fear'st not, being suck
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.

His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or reduced: [breast,
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy
Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear "

To whom, with healing words, Adam replied:
"Daughter of God and man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade

Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least aspersed
The tempted with dishonour fonl; suppos'd
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert

From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile conten;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others' aid.
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,

Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?"
So spake domestic Adam in his care

&nd matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought

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Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd g
"If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued

Single with like defence, wherever met;
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem

Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or fear'd
By us? who rather double honour gain

From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event.
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd
Alone, without exterior help sustain❜d ?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combin❜d.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so;
And Eden were no Eden, thus expos'd.”

To whom thus Adam fervently replied:
"O woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordain'd them: his creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left

Of all that he created, much less man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reason, is free; and reason he made right,
But bid her well beware, and still erect;
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpris'd
She dictate false; and misinform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins

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