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The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare ; On what thou hast of virtue ; summon all!
“With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd I from the influence of thy looks receive Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Access in every virtue; in thy sight
Touclid only; that our trial, when least sought,
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
Soft she withdrew; and, like a wood-nymph light,
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self
Though not as she with bow and quiver armd, Thus her reply with accent sweet renewid. But with such gardening tools as art yet rude. " If this be our condition, thus to dwell
Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or angels brought. In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe,
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Subtle or violent, we not endued
Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled Single with like defence, wherever met;
Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
Oft he to her his charge of quick return
Repeated; she to him as oft engag'd
And all things in best order to invite
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose; Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades, As not secure to single or combin'd.
Waited with hellish rancor imminent Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
To intercept thy way, or send thee back
Despoil'd of innocence, of faith, of bliss !
For now, and since first break of dawn, the fiend,
The only two of mankind, but in them Of all that he created, much less Man,
The whole included race, his purpos'd prey. Or aught that might his happy state secure, In bower and field he sought where any tuft Secure from outward force; within himself Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, The danger lies, yet lies within his power: Their tendance, or plantation for delight; Against his will he can receive no harm. By fountain or by shady rivulet But God left free the will; for what obeys He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find Reason, is free; and reason he made right, Eve separate ; he wish’d, but not with hope But bid her well beware, and still erect;
of what so seldom chanc'd; when to his wish, Lest, by some fair-appearing govu surpris'd, Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, She dictate false ; and misinform the will
Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, About her glow'd, oft stooping to support That I should mind thee oft: and mind thou me. Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Carnation, purple, azure, or speck'd with gold,
Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays
Herself, though fairesi unsupported flower,
Nearer he drew, and many a walk travérs'd
Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm;
Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
Much he the place admir'd, the person more. As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Curl'd many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight; To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as us'd Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound; To such disport before her through the field, If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, From every beast; more duteous at her call, What pleasing seemd, for her now pleases more, Than at Circean call the herd disguis'd. She inost, and in her look sums all delight: He, bolder now, uncall'd before her stood, Such pleasure took the serpent to behold
But as in gaze admiring : oft he bow'd This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve
His turret crest, and sleek enamellid neck, Thus early, thus alone: her heavenly form Fawning; and lick'd the ground whereon she trod Angelic, but more soft, and feminine,
His gentle dumb expression turn'd at length Her graceful innocence, her every air
The eye of Eve, to mark his play; he, glad
Of her attention gain'd, with serpent-longue
“Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps From his own evil, and for the time remain'd Thou canst who art sole wonder! much less arm Stupidly good ; of enmily disarm’d,
Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain, Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge.
Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze But the hot Hell that always in him burns, Insatiate ; I thus single; nor have fear'd Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, Thy awful brow, more awful thus retird. And tortures him now more, the more he sees Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, Of pleasure, not for him ordaind: then soon Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld, “ Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what Where universally admir'd; but here
In this inclosure wild, these beasts among, Compulsion thus transported, to forget
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern What hither brought us! hate, not love; nor hope Half what in thee is fair, one man except, (seen Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who should be Of pleasure ; but all pleasure to destroy,
A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd Save what is in destroying ; other joy
By angels numberless, thy daily train." To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass
So gloz'd the tempter, and his proem tun'd: Occasion which now smiles; behold alone Into the heart of Eve his words made way, The woman, opportune to all attempts,
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh, Not unamaz'd, she thus in answer spake. [nouncd Whose higher intellectual more I shun,
" What may this mean? language of man proAnd strength, of courage haughty, and of limb By tongue of brute, and human sense express'd ? Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould; The first, at least, of these I thought denied Foe not informidable! exempt from wound, To beasts; whom God, on their creation-day, I not; so much hath Hell debas'd, and pain Created mute to all articulate sound : Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven.
The latter I demur; for in their looks She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods!
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears Not terrible, though terror be in love
Thee, serpent, subtlest beast of all the field And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate, I knew, but not with human voice endued ; Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd; Redouble then this miracle, and say, The way which to her ruin now I tend." How cam’st thou speakable of mute, and how
So spake the enemy of mankind, inclos'd To me so friendly grown above the rest In serpent, inmate bad! and toward Eve
Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? Address’d his way: not with indented wave, Say, for such wonder claims attention due.” Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear, To whom the guileful tempter thus replied. Circular base of rising folds, that tower'd
· Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head Easy to me it is to tell thee all
[obey'd . Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes ;
What thou command'st; and right thou shouldst le With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect I was at first as other beasts that
graze Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape As was my food; nor aught but food discern'd And lovely; never since of serpent-kind
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high: Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
Till, on a day roving the field, I chanc'd Hermione and Cadmus, or the god
A goodly tree far distant to behold In Epidaurus; nor to which transform'd
Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mix'd,
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze ;
Of ewe or goat, dropping with milk at even
Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play. God so commanded, and left that command
Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
Law to ourselves; our reason is our law." Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,
To whom the tempter guilefully replied. Powerful persuaders, quicken'd at the scent “ Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keen.
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, About the mossy trunk I wound me soon ;
Yet lords declar'd of all in Earth or Air ?" For, high from ground, the branches would require To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. “Of the fruit Thy utmost reach or Adam's: round the tree Of each tree in the garden we may eat; All other beasts that saw, with like desire
But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. The garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'" Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
She scarce had said, though brief, when now more I spar'd not; for, such pleasure till that hour,
bold At feed or fountain, never had I found.
The tempter, but with show of zeal and love Sated at length, ere long I might perceive
To Man, and indignation at his wrong, Strange alteration in me, to degree
New part puts on; and, as to passion mov'd,
As when of old some orator renown'd,
Flourish'd, since mute! to some great cause ad Or Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good :
dress'd, But all that fair and good in thy divine
Stood in himself collected; while each part, Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue ; United I beheld; no fair to thine
Sometimes in height began, as no delay Equivalent or second : which compellid
Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right: Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come So standing, moving, or to height up grown, And gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd The tempter, all impassion'd, thus began. Sovran of creatures, universal dame!"
“O sacred, wise, and wisdom giving plant, So talk'd the spirited sly snake ; and Eve, Mother of science! now I feel thy power Yet more amaz’d, unwary thus replied.
Within me clear; not only to discern Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt Things in their causes, but to trace the ways The virtue of that fruit, in thee first prov'd : Of highest agents, deem'd however wise. But say, where grows the tree? from hence how far! Queen of this universe! do not believe For many are the trees of God that grow
Those rigid threats of death : ye shall not die: In Paradise, and various, yet unknown
How should you? by the fruit ? it gives you life To us; in such abundance lies our choice, To knowledge ; by the threatener? look on me, As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, Me, who have touch'd and tasted ; yet both live, Still hanging incorruptible, till men
And life more perfect have attain'd than Fate Grow up to their provision, and more hands Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. Help to disburden Nature of her birth.”
Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad. Is open? or will God incense his ire “Empress, the way is ready, and not long; For such a petty trespass ? and not praise Beyond a row of myriles, on a flat,
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past
Of death denounc'd, whatever thing death be, Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept Deterr'd not from achieving what might lead My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." To happier life, knowledge of good and evil ;
“Lead then,” said Eve. He, leading, swiftly rollid Of good, how just ? of evil, if hat is evil In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, Be real, why not known, since easier shunn'd ? To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire Not just, not God: not fear’d then, nor obey'd : Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night Your fear itself of death removes the fear. Condenses, and the cold environs round,
Why then was this forbid ? Why, but to awe ; Kindled through agitation to a flame,
Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant,
Ye eat thereof, your eyes, that seem so clear,
That ye shall be as gods, since I as Man,
I, of brute, human; ye, of human, gods.
Though threaten'd, which no worse than this can Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess,
bring. The credit of whose virtue rest with thee; And what are gods, that man may not become Wondrous indeed if cause of such effects. As they, participating godlike food ? But of this tree we may not taste nor touch ; |The gods are first, and that advantage use
On our belief, that all from them proceeds: Or fancied so, through expectation high
of knowledge; nor was godhead from her thought
And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon, That whoso eats thereof forthwith attains
Thus to herself she pleasingly began.
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end
Created; but henceforth my early care, In heavenly breasts ?— These, these, and many more Not without song, each morning, and due praise, Causes import your need of this fair fruit. Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste.” Of thy full branches offer'd free to all;
He ended; and his words, replete with guile, Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature Into her heart too easy entrance won:
In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know, Fix'd on the fruit she gaz’d, which to behold Though others envy what they cannot give. Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregn'd Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe, With reason, to her seeming, and with truth ; Best guide : not following thee, I had remain'd Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and wak'd In ignorance; thou open'st wisdom's way, An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell
And giv'st access, though secret she retire. So savory of that fruit, which with desire, And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high, Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,
High, and remote to see from thence distinct Solicited her longing eye; yet first
Each thing on Earth ; and other care perhaps Pausing awhile, thus to herself she mus'd. May have diverted from continual watch
“Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies Though kept from man, and worthy to be admir'd; About him. But 10 Adam in what sort Whose taste, too long forborne, at first assay Shall I appear? shall I to him make known Gave elocution to the mute, and taught
As yet my change, and give him to partake The tongue not made for speech, to speak thy praise : Full happiness with me, or rather not, Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use,
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree Without copartner? so to add what wants Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; In female sex, the more to draw his love, Forbids us then to taste! but his forbidding And render me more equal; and perhaps, Commends thee more, while it infers the good A thing not undesirable, sometime By thee communicated, and our want:
Superior: for, inferior, who is free?
And death ensue? then I shall be no more!
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;
A death to think! Confirm'd then I resolve, Bind us with after-bands, what profits then Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe: Our inward freedom? In the day we eat
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die ! I could endure, without him live no life.” How dies the serpent? he hath eat'n and lives, So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd ; And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, But first low reverence done, as to the Power Irrational, till then. For us alone
That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd Was death invented ? or to us denied
Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd?
From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while For beasts it seems : yet that one beast which first Waiting desirous her return, had wove Hath tasted envies not, but brings with joy Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn The good befallin him, author unsuspect,
Her tresses, and her rural labors crown; Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen. What fear I then? rather, what know to fear Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new Under this ignorance of good and evil,
Solace in her return, so long delay'd : Of God or death, of law or penalty ?
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill, Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt; Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
And forth to meet her went, the way she took Of virtue to make wise : what hinders then That morn when first they parted: by the tree To reach, and feed at once both body and mind ?" or knowledge he must pass; there he her nei, So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck'd, she eat! A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild, Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat, New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd. Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe, To him she hasted ; in her face excuse That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk Came prologue, and apology too prompt; The guilty serpent; and well might; for Eve, Which, with bland words at will, she thus address Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else
“ Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? Regarded; such delight till then, as seem'd, Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, deprived In fruit she never tasted, whether true
Thy presence; agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice ; for never more Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man,
Higher degree of life: inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatenir.g, will in earnest so destroy
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependent made ; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labor lose ;
Not well conceiv'd of God, who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would he loth
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;
Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told; The bond of Nature draw me to my own;
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.
Engaging me to emulate; but, short
Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, “O fairest of creation, last and best
And gladly of our union hear thee speak,
Rather than death, or aught than death more dread
Shall separate us, link'd in love so dear,
Whose virtue, (for of good still good proceeds ;
Were it I thought death menac'd would ensue
Pernicious to thy peace; chiesly, assur'd
Remarkably so late of thy so true,
Hath touch'd my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh.
And fear of death deliver to the winds."
" Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventurous Eve, Tenderly wept; much won, that he his love
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
In recompense (for such compliance bad
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat,