Page images

Ev'n to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluckd; the pleasant savoury smell
So quicken'd appetite, that l, methought,
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The carth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide
And various: wond'ring at my Night and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep: but, O, how giad I wak’d,
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answered sad:

Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally: nor can I like
This uncouth dreamn, of evil sprung I fear:
Yet evil whence in thee can harbour none,
Created pure. But know, that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties that serve
Reason as chief: among these fancy next
Her oftice holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, airy shapes,
Which reason joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimic fancy wakes
To imitate her; but misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad,
Evil into the mind of God or man
May come and gò, so unapprov'd, and leave":
No spot or blaine behind: which gives me hope
That what in sicep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks,

That wont to be more cheerful and serene
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world:
And let us to our fresh employments rise,
Among the groves, the fountains and the towers
That open now their choicest bosom'd smells,
Reserv'd from night, and kept for thee in store.

So cheerd he his fair spouse, and she was cheerd;
But silentiy a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell,
Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feard to have offeaded.

So all was cleard, and to the field they haste. But first, from under shady arb'rous roof, Soon as they forth were come to open sight Of day-spring, and the sun, who scarce up risen, With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean-brim, Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray, Discovering in wide landskip all the east Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains, Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began Their orisons, each morning duly paid In various style; for neither various style Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd or sung Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence Flow'd from their lips, in prose or numerous verse, More tuneable than needed lute or harp To add more sweetness; and they thus began:

These are thy glorious works, Parent of good ! Alinighty, thine this universal frame, Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wond'rous then! Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavias, To us invisible, or dimly seen In these thy lowest works; yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine, Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light, Angels; for ye behold him, and with songs And choral symphonies, day without night,

Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heav'n,
On cartb join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, himn last, hiın midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise hiin in thy sphere
While day axises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge hiin thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fallst.
Moon, that now mcet'st the orient sun, now fly'st
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness call?d up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise,
Whether to deck with clouds th' uncolourd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praisc, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warblc, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living souls ; ye birds,
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or ev'n,

To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail! universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gather'd ought of evil, or conceald,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.

So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts
Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and now'rs; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reach'd too far
Their pamper'd boughs, and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces: or they led the vine
To wed her elm; she spous'd about him twines
Her inarriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dow'r, th'adapted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd beheld
With pity heav'n's high King, and to him call'd
Raphael, the sociable sp'rit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and securd
His marriage with the sev'ntimes-wedded maid.

Raphael, said he, thou hear'st what stir on earth Satan, froin hell scap'd through the darksome gulf, Hath rais'd in Paradise, and how disturb'd This night the human pair, how he designs In them at once to ruin all mankind. Go, therefore, half this day as friend with friend Converse with Adain, in what bow'r or shade Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retird, To respite his day-labour with repast, Or with repose; and such discourse bring on, As may advise him of his happy state, Happiness in his pow'r left free to will, Left to his own free will; his will though free, Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware He swerve not too secure. Tell him withal His danger, and from whom; what cnemy, Late fall’n himself from heav'n, is plotting now The fall of others from like state of bliss; By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;

But by deceit and lies: this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprizal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn’d.

So spake the eternal Father, and fulfild
All justice ; nor delay'd the winged saint
After his charge receiv'd; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardors, where he stood
Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, up springing light
Flew through the midst of heav'n; th’angelic quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all th’empyreal road; till at the gate
Of heav'n arriv'd, the gate self opend wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sov’reign Architect had fram’d.
From hence, no cloud, or to obstruct his sight,
Star interpos’d, however small, he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,
Earth and the garden of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assur'd, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades,
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
Ile speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till within soar
Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to inshrine his reliques in the sun's
Pright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on th’ eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph wing’d: six wings he wore, to slide
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold,

« PreviousContinue »