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Our day's work brought to little, though begun Early, and th’hour of supper comes unearn’d. 225

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 231 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 235 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 flow) To brute deny'd, and are of love the food; 240 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. These paths and bow'rs doubt not but our joint

hands 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. 250 But other doubt possesses me, lest harm

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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,
Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need. 260
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 265
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, 270
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus reply'd :
Offspring of Heav'n and Earth, and all Earth's

Lord,
That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Our ruin, both by thee inform'd I learn, 275
And from the parting Angel overheard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then return'd at shut of ev’ning flow’rs,
But that thoushould'st my firmness therefore doubt

1

To God or thee, because we have a foe 280
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
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 seduc'd !
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in

thy breast,
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?

To whom with healing words Adam reply'd : Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve, 291 For such thou art, from sin and blame entire: Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid Th’attempt itself, intended by our foe. 295 For he who tempts, tho' in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn And anger would'st resent the offer'd wrong, 300. 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 th' assault shall light. 305 Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn; Subtle he needs must be who could seduce Angels ; nor think superfluous others aid.

I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in ev'ry virtue ; in thy sight 310
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou look-

ing on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd
Would utmost vigour raise, and rais’d unite.
Why should'st not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose 316
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd!

So spake domestic Adam, in his care And matrimonal love: but Eve, who thought Less attributed to her faith sincere,

320 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd:

If this be our condition, thus to dwell In narrow circuit straighten'd by a foe, Subtle or violent, we not endued Single with like defence, wherever met, 325 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 330 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 Heav'n, our witness from th' event. And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd 335 Alone, without exterior help sustain'd?

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3.

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 reply'd:
O Woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordain'd them ; his creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left

345
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 pow'r:
Against his will he can receive no harm.

350
But God left free the will ; for wl:at obeys
Reason is free, and reason he made right;
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Lest by some fair

appearing good surpriz'd,
She dictate false, and misinform the will 355
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoins,
That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me:
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet

360
Some specious object by the foe suborn'd,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn’d.
Seek not temptation then; which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me 365
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought.

VOL. II,

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