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210 “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 I, “ In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
“ With myrtle, find what to redress till noon: 220 For, while so near each other thus all day
“ Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
“Our day's work, brought to little, though begun 225 • 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 employ’d, 230 “How we might best fulfil the work which here
“God hath assign'd us; nor of me shalt pass
“ And good works in her husband to promote. 235 “Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
“ Labour as to debar us, when we need
“ Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow, 240 “ To brute denied, and are of love the food
“Love, not the lowest end of human life.
“These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands 245 “ Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide “ As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
But if much converse perhaps
6. Assist us.
“ Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield ;
“ For solitude sometimes is best society,
“But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
“Envying our happiness, and of his own
By sly assault, and somewhere nigh at hand
“ Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
" Whether his first design be to withdraw
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more;
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
Offspring of heaven and earth, and all earth's lord !
“ And from the parting angel overheard,
firmness therefore doubt " To God, or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
“Can either not receive, or can repel.
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
To whom with healing words Adam replied:
“ Thy absence from my sight; but to avoid 295 “ The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
“For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn
wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
(Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
“ Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
“When I am present, and thy trial choose
So spake domestic Adam, in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought 320 Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd:
“If this be our condition, thus to dwell
“ In narrow circuit, straiten'd by a foe
“ Subtle or violent, we not endued
“How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
“ Of our integrity: his foul esteem
“Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or fear'd
“Favour from heaven, our witness, from the event. 335 “ And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd
“ Alone; without exterior help sustain'd ?
“ As not secure to single, or combin'd: 340 “ Frail is our happiness, if this be so:
“ And Eden were no Eden, thus expos'd."
To whom thus Adam fervently replied :
“ Of God ordain'd them : his creating hand 345 “ Nothing imperfect or deficient left
“ Of all that he created, much less man,
“ The danger lies; yet lies within his power : 350 “ Against his will he can receive no harm.
“ But God left free the will ; for what obeys
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpris'd, 355 “She dictate false, and misinform the will,
“ To do what God expressly hath forbid.
“Some specious object, by the foe suborn'd,
“Not seeing thee attempted—who attest? 370 “But, if thou think trial unsought may find
• Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st,
“ On what thou hast of virtue; summon all ! 375 “For God towards thee hath done his part: do thine.”
So spake the patriarch of mankind : but Eve
“ With thy permission then, and thus forewarn’d,
Chiefly by what thy own last reas'ning words 380 “ Touch only, that our trial, when least sought,
“ May find us both perhaps far less prepar'd,
“So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.” 385 Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand
Soft she withdrew; and, like a wood-nymph light,
In gait surpass'd, and goddess-like deport;
But with such gardening-tools as art, yet rude,
Likest she seem'd-Pomona, when she fled 395 Vertumnus-or to Ceres in her prime,
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued