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Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry, To enter, and his dark suggestions hide 90 Like a black mist low creeping, he held on 180 From sharpest sight: for in the wily

snake, His midnight search, where soonest he might find Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark, The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found As from his wit and native subtlety

In labyrinth of many a round self rollid, Proceeding, which in other beasts observ'd

His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles. Doubt might beget of diabolic power,

95 Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den, 185 Active within beyond the sense of brute.

Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb, Thus he resolv'd; but first from inward grief, Fearless, unfear'd he slept: in at his mouth His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd: The Devil enter'd, and his brutal sense,

In heart, or head, possessing, soon inspir'd “ earth, how like to heaven, if not preferr'd With act intelligential; but his sleep

190 More justly, seat worthier of gods, as built 100

Disturb'd not, waiting close th' approach of morn. With second thoughts, reforming what was old! For what God after better worse would build ?

Now, when as sacred light began to dawn Terrestrial heaven, danc'd round by other heavens In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps, Their morning incense, when all things that Light above light, for thee alone, as seems, 105

breathe In thee concentring all their precious beams; From the earth's great altar send up silent praise Of sacred influence! As God in heaven

To the Creator, and his nostrils fill

196 Is centre, yet extends to all, so thou

With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, Centring receiv'st from all those orbs; in thee, And join'd their vocal worship to the choir Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth 111 The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs: 200 Of creatures animate with gradual life

Then commune how that day they best may ply Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in man. Their growing work; for much their work outgrew With what delight could I have walk'd thee round, The hands despatch of two gard'ning so wide, If I could joy in ought, sweet interchange 115 And Eve first to her husband thus began : Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains, Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd, Adam! well may we labour still to dress 205 Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, . Find place or refuge; and the more I see

Our pleasant task enjoin'd, but till more hands Pleasures about me, so much more I feel 120

Aid us, the work under our labour grows, Torment within me', as from the hateful siege Luxurious by restraint; what we by day Of contraries; all good to me becomes

Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 210 Bane, and in heaven much worse would be my state. One night or two with wanton growth derides, But neither here seek I, no nor in heaven,

Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, To dwell, unless by mast'ring heaven's Supreme; Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present; Nor hope to be myself less miserable

126

Let us divide our labours, thou where choice By what I seek, but others to make such

Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind As I, though thereby worse to me redound:

The woodbine round this arbour, or direct 216 For only in destroying I find ease

The clasping ivy where to climb, while I,
To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd, 130 In yonder spring of roses intermix'do
Or won to what may work his utter loss,

With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
For whom all this was made, all this will soon For while so near each other thus all day 220
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or wo;

Our task we choose, what wonder if so near In wo then; that destruction wide may range. Looks intervene and smiles, or object new To me shall be the glory sole among

135 Casual discourse draw on, which intermits Th' infernal powers, in one day to have marrd. Our day's work, brought to little, though begun What he Almighty styl'd, six nights and days Early, and th' hour of supper comes unearn'd:” 225 Continued making, and who knows how long Before had been contriving? though perhaps

To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd: Not longer than since I in one night freed 140 “Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond From servitude inglorious well nigh half

Compare, above all living creatures dear! [ploy'd, Th' angelic name,

and thinner left the throng Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts ema Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,

How we might best fulfil the work which here 230 And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,

God hath assign'd us, nor of me shalt pass Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd 145 Unprais'd; for nothing lovelier can be found More angels to create, if they at least

In woman, than to study household good, Are his created, or to spite us more,

And good works in her husband to promote. Determin'd to advance into our room

Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd 235 A creature form'd of earth, and him endow, Labour, as to debar us when we need Exalted from so base original,

150 Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, With heavenly spoils, our spoils. What he decreed Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse He' effected; man he made, and for him built Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow, Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,

To brute denied, and are of love the food, 240 Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!

Love not the lowest end of human life. Subjected to his service angel wings,

155 For not to irksome toil, but to delight, And flaming ministers, to watch and tend

He made us, and delight to reason join'd. [hands Their earthly charge. Of these the vigilance These paths and bowers, doubt not but our joint I dread, and to elude, thus wrapp'd in mist Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 245 Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry As we need walk, till younger hands ere long In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160 Assist us: but if much converse perhaps The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds

Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield; To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.

For solitude sometimes is best society, O foul descent! that I who erst contended

And short retirement urges sweet return.

250 With gods to sit the highest, am now con But other doubt possesses me, lest harm strain'd

Befall thee sever'd from me ; for thou know'st Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime, 165 What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe, This essence to incarnate and imbrute,

Envying our happiness, and of his own That to the height of Deity aspir'd;

Despairing, seeks to work us wo and shame 255 But what will not ambition and revenge

By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Descend to? who aspires, must down as low Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
As high he soar'd, obnoxious, first or last, 170 His wish and best advantage, us asunder,
To basest things.' Revenge, at first though sweet, Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :

To other speedy aid might lend at need; 260 Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,

Whether his first design be to withdraw Since higher I fall short, on him who next

Our fealty from God, or to disturb Provokes my envy, this new fav'rite

175 Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss Of heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,

Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more; Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais'd

Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 265 From dust, Spite then with spite is best repaid." That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects,

The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, Reason is free, and reason he made right,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,

But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." Lest by some fair appearing good surpris'd,

She díctate false, and misinform the will, 355 To whom the virgin majesty of Eve, 270 To do what God expressly hath forbid. As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoins, With sweet austere composure thus replied: * That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.

Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve, "Offspring of heaven and earth, and all earth's Since reason not impossibly may meet 360 That such an enemy we have, who seeks

[lord!

Some specious object by the foe suborn'd, Our ruin, both by thee inform'a I learn, 275

And fall into deception unaware, And from the parting angel overheard,

Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd. As in a shady nook I stood behind,

Seek not temptation then, which to avoid Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers. Were better, and most likely if from me 365 But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt Thou sever not: trial will come unsought. To God or thee, because we have a foe 280 Wouldst thou approve thy constancy? approve May tempt it, I expected not to hear.

First thy obedience; th' other who can know, His violence thou fear'st not, being such

Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? As we, not capable of death or pain,

But if thou think trial unsought may find 370 Can either not receive, or can repel.

Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st, His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers 285 Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love Go in thy native innocence, rely, Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd; (breast, on what thou hast of virtue, summon all, Thoughts! which how found they harbour in thy For God tow'rds thee hath done his part, de Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?"

thine."

375 To whom with healing words Adam replied: 290 So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve " Daughter of God and man, immortal Eve! Persisted, yet submiss, though last, replied: Por such thou art, from sin and blame entire; Not diffident of thee do I dissuade

“ With thy permission then, and thus foreThy absence from my sight, but to avoid

warn'd, Th' attempt itself, intended by our foe. 295 Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words For he who tempts, though' in vain, at least as Touch'd only, that our trial, when least sought, 380 perses

May find us both perhaps far less prepard,
The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd The willinger I go; nor much expect
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." 385
And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong, 300

Though ineffectual found; misdeem not then, Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand If such affront. I labour to avert

Soft she withdrew, and like a wood-nymph light, From thee alone, which on us both at once

Oread, or Dryad, or of Delia's

train, The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare,

Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self Or daring, first on me th' assault shall light. 305 In gait surpass'd, and goddess-like deport; Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn; Though not as she, with bow and quiver arm'd, 390 Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce

But with such gard'ning tools as Art yet rude, Angels; nor think superfluous others aid.

Guiltless of fire, had formid or angels brought. I from the influence of thy looks receive

To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Access in every virtue, in thy sight

310 Likest she seem'd Pomona when she fled More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,

395 Of ontward strength; while shame, thou looking Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd, [on, Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite. Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel Oft he to her his charge of quick return When I am present, and thy trial choose 316 Repeated, she to him as oft engag'd

400 With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?"

To be return'd by noon amid the bower,

And all things in best order to invite
So spake domestic Adam in his care

Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought O much deceiv'd, much failing, hapless Eve,
Less attributed to her faith sincere,

320 Of thy presum'd return! event perverse! 405 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd :

Thou never from that hour in Paradise

Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose; * If this be our condition, thus to dwell

Such ambush hid among sweet flowers and shades In narrow circuit straiten'd' by a foe,

Waited with hellish rancour imminent Subtle or violent, we not endued

To intercept thy way, or send thee back 410 Single with like defence, wherever met, 325 Despoil'd of innocence, of faith, of bliss. How are we happy, still in fear of harm?

For now, and since first break of dawn, the fiend, But harm precedes not sin; only our foe

Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come, Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem

And on his quest where likeliest he might find, Of our integrity; his foul esteem

The only two of mankind, but in them

415 Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 330 The whole included race, his purpos'd prey, Foul on himself: then wherefore shunnd or fear'd In bower and field he sought, where any tuft By us? who rather double honour gain

Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within, Their tendance or plantation for delight; Favour from heaven, our witness from th' event. By fountain or by shady rivulet

420 And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd ? 335 He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might Alone, without exterior help sustain'd?.

Eve separate; he wish'd, but not with hope (tind Let us not then suspect our happy state

Of what so seldom chanc'd, when to his wish, Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,

Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, As not secure to single or combin'd.

Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, 425 Frail is our happiness, if this be so,

340 | Half spied, so thick the roses bushing round And Eden were no Eden thus expos'd."

About her glow'd; oft stooping to support

Each flower of slender stalk, whose head tho gay To whom thus Adam fervently replied:

Carnation, purple', azure, or speck'd with gold, Woman, best are all things as the will

Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays 430 Of God ordain'd them; his creating hand

Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while Nothing imperfect or deficient left

345 Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, Of all that he created, much less man,

From her best prop so far, and storms so nigh. Or ought that might his happy state secure, Nearer he drew, and many a walk travers'd Secure from outward force; within himself Of stateliest oovert, cedar, pine, or palm ; 435 The danger lies, yet lies within his power:

Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen, Against his will he can receive no harm. 350 Among thick-woven arborets and flowers But God left free the will; for what obeys

Imborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve.

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Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd The eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad
Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd

440 Of her attention gain'd, with serpent tongue Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son,

Organic, or impulse of vocal air,

530 Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king His fraudulent temptation thus began: Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. Much he the place admir'd, the person more.

“ Wonder not, sov'reign mistress, if perhaps As one who long in populous city pent, 445 Thou canst, who art sole wonder; much less arm Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain, Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze 635 Among the pleasant villages and farms

Insatiate, I thus single, nor have fear'd Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight, Thy awful brow, more awful thus retird. The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine. 450

Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,
Or dairy', each rural sight, each rural sound; Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine
If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass, By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore 540
What pleasing seem'd, for her now pleases more, With ravishment beheld, there best beheld 1
She most, and in her look sums all delight;

Where universally admir'd; but here
Such pleasure took the serpent to behold 455 In this enclosure wild, these beasts among,
This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve

Beholders rude, and shallow to discern
Thus early, thus alone; her heavenly forın, Half what in thee is fair, one man except, 545
Angelic, but more soft and feminine,

Who sees thee'? (and what is one ?) who shouldst Her graceful innocence, her every air

be seen Of gesture, or least action, overaw'd

460 A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd His malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd

By angels numberless, thy daily train."
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
That space the evil one abstracted stood

So gloz'd the tempter, and his proem tun'd; From his own evil, and for the time remain'd Into the heart of Eve his words made way, 550 Stupidly good, of enmity disarm'd,

465 Though at the voice much marvelling: at length Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge;

Not unamaz'd she thus in answer spake: But the hot hell that always in him burns, Though in mid heaven, soon ended his delight, “ What may this mean? language of man proAnd tortures him now more, the more he sees

nounc'd Of pleasure not for him ordain'd: then soon 470 By tongue of brute, and human sense express'd ? Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts The first at least of these I thought denied 555 Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites :

To beasts, whom God on their creation day

Created mute to all articulate sound; Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what The latter I demur, for in their looks sweet

Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. Compulsion thus transported to forget

Thee, Serpent, subtlest beast of all the field 560 What hither brought us! hate, not love, nor hope I knew, but not with human voice endued; Of Paradise for hell, hope here to taste 476 Redouble then this miracle, and say, Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy,

How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how Save what is in destroying; other joy

To me so friendly grown above the rest To me is lost, Then let me not let pass

Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? 565 Occasion which now smiles; behold alone 480 Say, for such wonder claims attention due." The woman, opportune to all attempts, Her husband, (for I view far round, not nigh, To whom the guileful tempter thus replied : Whose higher intellectual more I shun,

“Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb Easy to me it is to tell thee all Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould, 485 What thou command'st, and right thou shouldst Foe not informidable, exempt from wound,

be obey'd :

570 I not; so much hath hell debas'd, and pain I was at first as other beasts that graze Enfeebled me, to what I was in heaven.

The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods,

As was my food; nor ought but food discern'd Not terrible, though terror be in love

490 Or sex, and apprehended nothing high; And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate, Till on a day, roving the field, I chanc'd 575 Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd, A goodly tree far distant to behold, The way which to her ruin now I tend."

Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mix'd,

Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze So spake the enemy' of mankind, enclos'd When from the boughs a savoury odour blown, In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve

495

Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense 580 Address'd his way, not with indented wave,

Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear, Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even, Circular base of rising folds, that tower'd,

Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play. Fold above fold, a surging maze, his head

To satisfy the sharp desire I had
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes;

500
Of tasting those fair apples, I resolvid

585 With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect

Not defer; hunger and thirst at once, Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass

Powerful persuaders, quicken'd at the scent Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape, Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keen. And lovely; never since of serpent kind

About the mossy trunk I wound me soon, Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd 505

For high from ground the branches would require Hermione and Cadmus, or the god

Thy utmost reach, or Adam's: round the tree 591 In Epidaurus; nor to which transform'd

All other beasts that saw, with like desire Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen,

Longing and envying stood, but could

not reach. He with Olympias, this with her who bore

Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung
Scipio, the height of Rome. With tract oblique 510 Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill 595
At first, as one who sought access, but fear'a I spar'd not, for such pleasure till that hour
To interrupt, side-long he works his way.

At feed or fountain never had I found.
As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought, Sated at length, ere long I might perceive
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind Strange alteration in me, to degree
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail : 515 Of reason in my inward powers, and speech

600 So varied he, and of his tortuous train

Wanted not long, though to this shape retain'd. Curl'd many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, Thenceforth to speculations high or deep To lure her eye; she busied heard the sound I turn'd my thoughts, and with capacious mind Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as us'd

Consider'd all things visible in heaven, To such disport before her through the field, 520 Or earth, or middle, all things fair and good : 605 From every beast, more duteous at her call, But all that fair and good in thy divine Than at Circean call the herd disguis'd.

Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, He bolder now, uncallid before her stood,

United I beheld; no fair to thine But as in gaze admiring: oft he bow'd

Equivalent or second, which compellid His turret crest, and sleek enamell'd neck, 525

Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 610 Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon she trod. And gaze, and

worship thee, of right declar'd His gentle dumb expression tum'd at length Sov'reign of creatures, universal dame."

so talk'd the spirited sly snake; and Eve, Of death denounc'd, whatever thing death be, 695 Yet more amaz'd, unwary thus replied:

Deterr'd not from achieving what might lead “Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt 615 To happier life, knowledge of good and evil; The virtue of that fruit, in thee first prov'd: [far? Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil But say, where grows the tree, from hence how Be real, why not known, since easier shunn'd ? For many are the trees of God that grow

God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; 700 In Paradise, and various, yet unknown

Not just, not God; not fear d'then, nor obey'd : To us; in such abundance lies our choice, 620 | Your fear itself of death removes the fear. As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, Why then was this forbid ? Why but to awe; Still hanging incorruptible, till men

Why but to keep you low and ignorant, Grow up to their provision, and more hands His worshippers; he knows that in the day 705 Heip to disburden Nature of her birth."

Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear,

Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad: 625 Open'd and clear'd, and ye shall be as ds, “ Empress, the way is ready, and not long;

Knowing both good and evil as they know. Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat,

That ye shall be as gods, since I as man, 710 Fast by a fountain, one small thicket pass'd Internal man, is buč proportion meet; Of blowing myrrh and balm; if thou accept I of brute human, ye of human gods. My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon.” 630 So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off

Human, to put on gods; death to be wish'd, “ Lead then," said Eve. He leading, swiftly Though threaten'd, which no worse than this can In tangles, and made intricate seem straight,[roll'd

bring.

715 To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy And what are gods that man may not become Brightens his crest; as when a wand'ring fire, As they, participating godlike food ? Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night 635 The gods are first, and that advantage use Condenses, and the cold environs round,

On our belief, that all from them proceeds: Kindled through agitation to a flame,

I question it for this fair earth I see, 720 Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends, Warm'd by the sun, producing every kind, Hovering and blazing with delusive light, 639 Misleads th' amaz'd night-wand'rer from his way,

Them nothing: it they all things, who enclos'd

Knowledge of good and evil in this tree Thro' bogs and mires, and oft thro' pond or pool, That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far, Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies 725 So glister'd the dire snake, and into fraud

Th' offence, that man should thus attain to know? Led Eve, our credulous mother, to the tree

What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree. Of prohibition, root of all our wo;

645 Impart against his will, if all he his ? Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake: Or is it envy, and can envy dwell

In heavenly breasts? These, these, and many more “ Serpent, we might have spar'd our coming Causes import your need of this fair fruit. 731 hither,

Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste." Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess, The credit of whose virtue rest with thee,

He ended, and his words replete with guile, Wondrous in leed, if cause of such effects. 650 Into her heart too easy entrance won. But of this tree we may not taste nor touch; Fix'd on the fruit she gaz'd, which to behold 735 God so commanded, and left that command Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregn'd Law to ourselves, our reason is our law."

With reason, to her seeming, and with truth.

Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and wak'd To whom the tempter guilefully replied: 655 An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell 740 “Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit So savoury of that fruit, which with desire, Of all these garden trees ye shall not eat,

Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, Yet lords declar'd of all in earth or air?

Solicited her longing eye; yet first,

Pausing awhile, thus to herself she mus'd : 744 To whom thus Eve, yet sinless : “ Of the fruit Of each tree in the garden we may eat, • 660 “Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, But of the fruit of this fair tree, amidst

Though kept from man, and worthy to be admir'd, The garden, God hath said, 'Ye shall not eat Whose taste, too long forborne, at first essay Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'" Gave elocution to the mute, and taught

The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise: She scarce had said, though brief, when now Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use, 750 more bold,

Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree The tempter, but with show of zeal and love 665 Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil ; 'To man, and indignation at his wrong,

Forbids us then to taste, but his forbidding New part puts on, and as to passion moved, Commends thee more, while it infers the good Fluctuates disturb'd, yet comely and in act

By thee communicated, and our want : 755 Rais'd, as of some great matter to begin,

For good unknown, sure is not had, or had As when of old some orator renown'd,

670 And yet unknown, is as not had at all. In Athens, or free Rome, where eloquence

In plain, then, what forbids he but to know, Flourish'd, since mute, to some great cause ad Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise? dress'd,

Such prohibitions bind not. But if death 760 Stood in himself collected, while each part,

Bind us with after-bands, what profits then Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue, Our inward freedom? In the day we eat Sometimes in height began, as no delay 675 Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die. Of preface brooking through his zeal of right; How dies the serpent ? he hath eaten and lives, So standing, moving, or to height up-grown, And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, The tempter, all impassion'd, thus began :

Irrational till then. For us alone

766

Was death invented ? or to us denied “O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving plant, This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd ? Mother of science ! now I feel thy power 680 For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first Within me clear, not only to discern

Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy 770 Things in their causes, but to trace the ways The good befallen him, author unsuspect, Of highest agents, deem'd however wise.

Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
Queen of this universe, do not believe

What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Those rigid threats of death; ye shall not die; 685 Under this ignorance of good and evil,
How should ye? by the fruit ? it gives you life Of God or death, of law or penalty ?

775
To knowledge; by the threat'ner? look on me, Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine.
Me who have touch'd and tasted, yet both live, Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
And life more perfect have attain'd than fate Of virtue to make wise : what hinders then
Meant me, by vent'ring higher than my lot. 690 To reach, and teed at once both body and mind ?"
Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast
Is open ? or will God incense bis ire

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour 780 For such a petty trespass, and not praise

Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck'd, she eat! Hather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat,

B

Mighing through all her works, gave signs of wo Reasoning to admiration, and with me
That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk Persuasively hath so prevail'd, that I
The guilty serpent, and well might; for Eve, 785 Have also tasted, and have also found
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else

Th' effects to correspond ; opener mine eyes, 875 Regarded, such delight till then, as seem'd,

Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, In fruit she never tasted, whether true

And growing up to Godhead; which for thee Or fancied so, through expectation high

Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. Of knowledge, nor was Godhead from her thought. For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss ; Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint, 791 Tedious unshar'd with thee, and odious soon. 880 And knew not eating death. Satiate at length, Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon, May join us, equal joy, as equal love; Thus to herself she pleasingly began :

Lest thou, not lasting, different degree

Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce “O sov'reign, virtuous, precious of all trees 795 Deity for thee, when fate will not permit." 885 In Paradise, of operation bless'd To sapience, hitherto obscurd, infam'd,

Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told; And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end

But in her cheek distemper flushing glow'd. Created; but henceforth my early care,

On th' other side, Adam, soon as he heard Not without song, each morning and due praise, The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazd, Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease

801 Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill 890 Of thy full branches, offer'd free to all;

Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd; Till dieted by thee I grow mature

From his slack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve In knowledge, as the gods who all things know; Down dropp'd, and all the faded roses shed: Though others envy what they cannot give; 805 Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length For had the gift been theirs, it had not here

First to himself he inward silence broke: 895 Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe, Best guide; not following thee I had remain'd "O fairest of creation, last and best In ignorance; thou open'st wisdom's way,

Of all God's works, creature in whom excell'd And givest access, though secret she retire. 810 Whatever can to sight or thought be form'd, And I perhaps am secret; heaven is high,

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! High, and remote to see from thence distinct How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost, 900 Each thing on earth; and other care perhaps Defac'd, deflower'd, and how to death devote? May have diverted from continual watch

Rather how hast thou yielded to transgress Our great forbidder, safe with all his spies 815 The strict forbiddance, how to violate About him. But to Adam in what sort

The sacred fruit forbidden ? some cursed fraud Shall I appear? shall I to him make known Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown, 905 As yet my change, and give him to partake

And me with thee hath ruin'd, for with thee Full happiness with me, or rather not,

Certain my resolution is to die.
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power $20 How can I live without thee, how forego
Without copartner? so to add what wants

Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly join'd, In female sex, the more to draw his love,

To live again in these wild woods forlorn! 910 And render me more equal, and perhaps,

Should God create another Eve, and I A thing not undesirable, sometime

Another rib afford, yet loss of thee Superior; for inferior who is free ?

825 Would never from my heart; no, no, I feel This may be well : but what if God have seen, The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh, And death ensue? then I shall be no more,

Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state 915 And Adam, wedded to another Eve,

Mine never shall be parted, bliss or wo."
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;
A death to think, Confirm'd then I resolve, 830 So having said, as one from sad dismay
Adam shall share with me in bliss or wo:

Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbid,
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths Submitting to what seem'd remediless, 919
I could endure, without him live no life.”

Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd: So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd, Bold deed thou hast presum'd, advent'rous Eve, But first low reverence done, as the power 835 And peril great provok'a, who thus hath dar'd, That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd Had it been only covering to eye Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd

That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence, From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while Much more to taste it under ban to touch. 925 Waiting desirous her return, had wove

But past who can recall, or done undo? Of choicest flowers a garland to adorn

840 Not God omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so Her tresses, and her rural labours crown,

Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen. Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit, Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new Profan'd first by the serpent, by him first 930 Solace in her return, so long delay'd ;

Made common and unhallow'd ere our taste; Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill, 845 Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives, Misgave him; he the falt'ring measure felt; Lives as thou said'st, and gains to live as man, And forth to meet her went, the way she took Higher degree of life; inducement strong That morn when first they parted; by the tree To us, as likely tasting to attain

935 Of knowledge he must pass, there he her met, Proportional ascent, which cannot be Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand 850

But to be gods, or angels demi-gods. A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild,

Nor can I think that God, Creator wise, New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd. Though threat'ning, will in earnest so destroy To him she hasted; in her face excuse

Us his prime creatures, dignified so high, 940 Came prologue, and apology too prompt,

851 Set over all his works, which in our fall, Which with bland words at will she thus address'd : For us created, needs with us must fail,

Dependent made; so God shall uncreate, “ Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose, Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, depriv'd Not well conceiv'd of God, who though his power Thy presence, agony of love till now

Creation could repeat, yet would be loath 946 Not felt, nor shall be twice, for never more

Us to abolish, lest the adversary Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought, 860 Triumph and say, Fickle their state whom God The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange Most favours; who can please him long? Me first Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear. He ruin'd, now mankind; whom will he next?' 950 This tree is not, as we are told, a tree

Matter of scorn, not to be given the foe. Of danger tasted, nor to' evil unknown

However I with thee have fix'd my lot, Opening the way, but of divine effect

865 Certain to undergo like doom; if death To open eyes, and make them gods who taste; Consort with thee, death is to me as life; And hath been tasted such: the serpent wise, So forcible within my heart I feel

955 Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying,

The bond of nature draw me to my own, Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become,

My own in thee, for what thou art is mine ; Not dead, as we are threaten'd, but henceforth 870 Our state cannot be sever'd, we are one, Endued with human voice and human sense, One flesh. to lose thee were to lose myself.”

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