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They sat them down; and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed
To recommend cool zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline,
On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking played
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase,
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might and
wreathed -
His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine,
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and, now filled with pasture, gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan, still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad.
“O hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earthborn perhaps,
Not spirits, yet to heavenly spirits bright
Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that formed them on their shape hath
poured.
Ah, gentle pair! ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish, and deliver ye to wo,
More wo, the more your taste is now of joy;
1Iappy, but for so happy ill secured
Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven
Ill fenced for Heaven to keep out such a foe
As now is entered; yet no purposed foe
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied: league with you I seek,
And mutual amity, so straight, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me
Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please,
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such
Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me,
Which I as freely give: hell shall unfold,
To entertain you two, her widest gates,
And send forth all her kings; there will be room,

Not like these narrow limits, to receive
Your numerons offspring; if no better place,
Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge
On you who wrong me not, for him who wronged.
And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt as I do, yet public reason just,
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,
By conquering this new world, compels me now
To do what else, though damned, I should abhor.”
So spake the fiend, and with necessity,
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree
Down he alights among the sportful herd
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
Now other, as their shape served best his end
Nearer to view his prey, and unespied
To mark what of their state he more might learn
By word or action marked: about them round
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
Then as a tyger, who by chance hath spied
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both,
Griped in each paw: when Adam, first of men,
To first of women Eve, thus moving speech,
Turned him, all ear to hear new utterance flow.
“Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all: needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need: he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This one, this easy charge, ‘of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;’
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know-
est
God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left,
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferred upon us, and dominion given
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these
flowers,
Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.”
To whom thus Eve replied:—“Othou for whom

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And from whom I was formed, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide
And head! what thou hast said is just and right.
For we to him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
Andwhat I was, whence thither brought, and how,
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved
Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleased I soon returned,
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love: there I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me: “What thou
seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy,
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called
Mother of human race.” What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a plantain; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: back I turned;
Thou following criedst aloud, ‘Return, fair Eve,
Whom fliest thou? whom thou fliest, of him thou
art,
His flesh, his bone: to give thee being, I lent
Out of my side to thee nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half.' With that thy gentle hand
Seized mine; I yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.”
So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction, unreproved,
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met his, under the flowing gold
Qf her loose tresses hid: he, in o:

Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flowers; and pressed her matron
lip
With kisses pure: aside the devil turned
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
“Sight hateful, sight tormenting thus these two,
Imparadised in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfilled, with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gained
From their own mouths: all is not theirs, it seems;
One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called,
Forbidden them to taste: knowledge forbidden 3
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? can it be sin to know?
Can it be death? and do they only stand
By ignorance? is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
Equal with gods: aspiring to be such,
They taste and die; what likelier can ensue?
But first with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unspied:
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet
Some wandering spirit of Heaven by fountain
side,
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw
What further would be learned. Live while ye
may
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.”
So saying, his proud step he scornful turned,
But with sly circumspection, and began,
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale,
his roam.
Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levelled his evening rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night:
About him exercised heroic games
The unarmed youth of Heaven, hut nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star,
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compas to beware
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste.
“Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at height of noon came to my sphere
A spirit, zealous, as he seemed, to know
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly man,
God's latest image: I described his way
Bent all on speed, and marked his airy gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured:
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him: one of the banished crew,
I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find.”
To whom the winged warrior thus returned.
“Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sittest,
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here placed, but such as come
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian
hour
No creature thence: if spirit of other sort,
So minded, have o'erleaped these earthly bounds
On purpose, hard thou knowest it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tellest, by morrow dawning I shall know.”
So promised he; and Uriel to his charge
Returned on that bright beam, whose point now
raised
Bore him slope downward to the sun now fallen
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,
Incredible how swift, had thither rolled
Diurnal, or this less voluble earth,
By shorter flight to the east had left him there
Arraying with reflected purple and gold
The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied ; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased; now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

When Adam thus to Eve. “Fair consort, the hour

Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
Mind us of like repose, since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumb'rous weight, inclines
Our eyelids: other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest:
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth.
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease:
Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.”

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned.
“My author and disposer, what thou bid'st
Unargued I obey: so God ordains;
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all

eyes?”

To whom our general ancestor replied. “Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve, These have their course to finish round the earth, By morrow evening, and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministering light prepared, they set and rise; Lest total darkness should by night regain Her old possession, and extinguish life

In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of various influence foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were
none,
That Heaven would want spectators, God want
praise;
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep;
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.”
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed
On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chosen by the sovereign Planter, when he frained
All things to man's delightful use; the roof
Of thickest covert was interwoven shade
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous
flower,
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine
Reared high their flourishing heads between, and
wrought
Mosaic; under foot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broidered the ground, more coloured than with
stone
Of costliest emblem: other creature here,
Beast, bird, insect, or worm durst enter none,
Such was their awe of man. In shadier bower,
More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph
Nor fauns haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet swelling herbs,
Espoused Eve decked first her nuptial bed,
And heavenly choirs the hymenaean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorned,
More lovely than Pandora, whom the god
Endowed with all their gifts, and O too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
. Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,

Both turned, and under open sky adored
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and
Heaven
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: “Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employed
Have finished, happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordained by thee; and this delicious place
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.”
This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
Handed they went; and, eased the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear,
Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween,
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity, and place, and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all
Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety
In Paradise of all things common else !
By thee adult'rous lust was driven from men
Among the bestial herds to range; by thee,
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother first were known.
Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame,
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced,
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs used
Here love his golden shafts employs, here lights
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,
Casual fruition; nor in court amours,
Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
Or serenade, which the starved lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
These lulled by nightingales, embracing slept,
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on,
Blest pair; and O yet happiest, if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more.
Now had night measured with her shadowy cone
Halfway up hill this vast sublunar vault,
And from their ivory port the cherubim,

Forth issuing at the accustomed hour, stood armed
To their night watches in warlike parade,
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.
“Uzziel, half these draw off, and coast the south
With strictest watch; these other wheel the north;
Our circuit meets full west.” As flame they part,
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.
From these, two strong and subtle spirits he called
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge.
“Ithuriel and Zephon, with winged speed
Search through this garden, leave unsearched no
nook:
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
This evening from the sun's decline arrived
Who tells of some infernal spirit seen
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?) es-
caped
The bars of hell, on errand bad no doubt:
Such where ye find, seize fast and hither bring.”
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the moon; these to the bower direct
In search of whom they sought; him there they
found
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
Assaying by his devilish art to reach
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams;
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raisc
At least distempered, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
Blown up with high conceits engendering pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touched lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness: up he starts
Discovered and surprised. As when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun some magazine to store
Against a rumoured war, the smutty grain,
With sudden blaze diffused, inflames the air:
So started up in his own shape the fiend.
Back step those two fair angels, half amazed
So sudden to behold the grisly king;
Yet thus, unmoved with fear, accost him soon.
“Which of those rebel spirits adjudged to Hell
Comest thou, escaped thy prison? and, transformed
Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait,
Here watching at the head of these that sleep?”
“Know ye not then,” said Satan, filled with
scorn,
“Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate
For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar;
Not to know me argues yourselves unknown,
The lowest of your throng; or, if you know,
Why ask ye, and superfluous begin
Your message, like to end as much in vain?”

To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with scorn : “Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same, Or undiminished brightness to be known, As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure; That glory then, when thou no more wast good, Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now Thy sin and place of doom, obscure and foul. But come, for thou, be sure, shall give account To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep This place inviolable, and these from harm.” So spake the cherub; and this grave rebuke, Severe in youthful beauty, added grace Invincible; abashed the devil stood, And felt how awful goodness is, and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pined His loss; but chiefly to find her observed His lustre visibly impaired; yet seemed Undaunted. “If I must contend,” said he, “Best with the best, the sender not the sent, Or all at once; more glory will be won, Or less be lost.” “Thy fear,” said Zephon bold, “Will save us trial what the least can do Single against thee wicked, and thence weak.” The fiend replied not, overcome with rage; But, like a proud steed reined, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb: to strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quelled His heart, not else dismayed. Now drew they nigh The western point, where those half-rounding guards Just met, and closing stood in squadron joined, Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, Gabriel, from the front thus called aloud. “O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; And with them comes a third of regal port, But faded splendour wan; who, by his gait And fierce demeanour, seems the prince of hell, Not likely to part hence without contest; Stand firm, for in his look defiance lowers.” He scarce had ended, when those two approached, And brief related whom they brought, where found, How busied, in what form and posture couched. To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. “Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescribed To thy transgressions, and disturbed the charge Of others, who approve not to transgress By thy example, but have power and right To question thy bold entrance on this place; Employed, it seems, to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss" To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow

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