페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

780

“ Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
“ Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
“ Of virtue to make wise! What hinders then
“ To reach, and feed at once both body and mind ?"

So saying, her rash hand, in evil hour,
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d—she ate!
Earth felt the wound; and nature from her seat,
Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe

That all was lost! Back to the thicket slunk 785 The guilty serpent; and well might; for Eve,

Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else
Regarded; such delight till then, as seemid,
In fruit she never tasted ; whether true,

Or fancied so, through expectation high 790 Of knowledge ; nor was godhead from her thought.

Greedily she engorg'd, without restraint,
And knew not eating death! Satiate at length,
And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon,
Thus to herself she pleasingly began :

“O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees
“ In paradise ! of operation blest
“ To sapience ! hitherto obscur’d, infam'd ;
“ And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end

“Created; but henceforth my early care, 800 “Not without song, each morning, and due praise,

“Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease
Of thy full branches offer'd free to all;
“ Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature

“In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know; 805 “ Though others envy what they cannot give :

“For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here
“ Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe,
“ Best guide ! not following thee, I had remain'd

“In ignorance; thou open'st wisdom's way, 810 “ And giv'st access, though secret she retire.

“ And I perhaps am secret : heaven is high,

High, and remote to see from thence distinct
“Each thing on earth; and other care, perhaps,

795

May have diverted from continual watch
815 “Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies

“ About him. But to Adam in what sort
“Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known
As yet my change, and give him to partake

“ Full happiness with me? or rather not, 820 “ But keep the odds of knowledge in my power,

“Without copartner? so to add what wants
“In female sex, the more to draw his love,
“ And render me more equal; and perhaps,

“A thing not undesirable, sometime 825 “Superior; for, inferior, who is free?

“ This may be well. But what if God have seen,
“ And death ensue? then I shall be no more!
“ And Adam, wedded to another Eve,

“ Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; 830 “A death to think! Confirm'd then I resolve,

Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
“I could endure; without him live no life."

So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd; 835 But first low reverence done, as to the power

That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd
Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd
From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while,

Waiting desirous her return, had wove 840 Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn

Her tresses, and her rural labours crown;
As
reapers

oft wont their harvest queen. Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new

Solace in her return so long delay'd :
845 Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,

Misgave him: he the falt'ring measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted: by the tree

Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met, 850 Scarce from the tree returning ; in her hand

A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild,

are

New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
To him she hasted : in her face excuse

Came prologue, and apology too prompt; 855 Which, with bland words at will, she thus address'd:

“ Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, depriv'd

Thy presence; agony of love till now

“ Not felt, nor shall be twice ; for never more 860 “Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,

“ The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
“Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
“ This tree is not, as we are told, a tree

“Of danger tasted ; nor to evil unknown 865 “ Opening the way, but of divine effect

To open eyes, and make them gods who taste;
“ And hath been tasted such. The serpent wise,
" Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying,

“Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become 870 “ Not dead, as we are threaten'd; but thenceforth

“ Endued with human voice, and human sense ;

Reasoning to admiration! and with me Persuasively hath so prevail'd, that I

“Have also tasted, and have also found
875 “ The effects to correspond-opener mine eyes,

“ Dim erst—dilated spirits-ampler heart-
“ And growing up to godhead; which for thee
“Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.

For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss ; 880 “ Tedious, unshar'd with thee, and odious soon.

“ Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
“May join us equal joy, as equal love;

Lest, thou not tasting, different degree

Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 885 “ Deity for thee, when fate will not permit."

Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told ;
But in her cheek distemper flushing glow'd.
On th' other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amaz'd,

900

890 Astonied stood, and blank! while horror chill

Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd !
From his slack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed.

Speechless he stood and pale; till thus, at length, 895 First to himself he inward silence broke:

O fairest of creation ! last and best
“Of all God's works! creature, in whom excell'd
“ Whatever can to sight or thought be form'd

Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
“ How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost,
“Defac'd, deflower'd, and now to death devote!
“Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance ! how, to violate

“ The sacred fruit forbidden! Some cursed fraud 905 “Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown,

And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee
" Certain

my

resolution is to die.
“How can I live without thee—how forego

Thy sweet convérse, and love so dearly join'd, 910 “ To live again in these wild woods forlorn ?

“Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart: no, no! I feel

“ The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
915 “Bone of my bone, thou art; and from thy state

“ Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe !"

So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbid,

Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
920 Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd:

“ Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventurous Eve! “And peril great provok'd, who thus hast dar'd, “ Had it been only coveting to eye " That sacred fruitsacred to abstinence, Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. “But past who can recall, or done undo? “ Not God omnipotent, nor fate. Yet so

925

66

940

Perhaps thou shalt not die ; perhaps the fact

“ Is not so heinous now,-foretasted fruit, 930 “ Profan'd first by the serpent, -by him first

“Made common, and unhallow'd, ere our taste,
“ Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives-
“Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as man,

“ Higher degree of life; inducement strong 935

“ To us, as likely tasting to attain

Proportional ascent; which cannot be
“But to be gods, or angels—demi-gods.
“ Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threat’ning, will in earnest so destroy
“Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
“ Set over all his works; which, in our fall,
“For us created, needs with us must fail,

Dependent made: so God shall uncreate

“ Be frustrate-do—undo, and labour lose; 945 “Not well conceiv'd of God, who, though his power

“Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
“ Us to abolish, lest the adversary

Triumph, and say, 'Fickle their state whom God

“Most favours ! who can please him long? Me first 950 “He rüin'd, now mankind; whom will he next?'

“Matter of scorn, not to be given the foe.
“However, I with thee have fix'd my lot,
“ Certain to undergo like doom: if death

“ Consort with thee, death is to me as life; 955 “So forcible within my heart I feel

“ The bond of nature draw me to my own

My own in thee, for what thou art is mine ;
“ Our state cannot be sever'd; we are one-
“One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself."

So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied:
“O glorious trial of exceeding love,
“ Illustrious evidence, example high,
“Engaging me to emulate! but, short
“Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,
“ Adam ? from whose dear side I boast me sprung;

960

965

« 이전계속 »