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About him. But to Adam in what sort
Shall I appear ? shall I to him make known
As yet my change, and give him to partake
Full happiness with me? or rather not;
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power,
Without copartner ? so to add what wants
In female sex, the more to draw his love,
And render me more equal, and perhaps,
(A thing not undesirable) sometime
Superiour; for, inferiour, who is free?
This may be well : but what if God have seen,
And death ensue? then I shall be no more !
And Adam, wedded to another Eve,
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct ;
A death to think! Confirmed then I resolve,
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could endure, without him live no life.
So saying, from the tree her step she turned;
But first low reverence done, as to the Power
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused
Into the plant sciential sap, derived
From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while,
Waiting desirous her return, had wove
Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown;
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delayed:
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him ; he the faltering measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted : by the tree
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning : in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled,
New gathered, and ambrosial smell diffused.
To him she hasted ; in her face excuse
Came prologue, and apology too prompt;
Which, with bland words at will, she thus addressed.
Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay?
Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived
Thy presence ; agony of love, till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear.
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown
Opening the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste;
And hath been tasted such : the serpent wise
(Or not restrained as we, or not obeying)
Hath eaten of the fruit, and
Not dead, as we are threatened, but thenceforth
Endued with human voice and human sense,
Reasoning to admiration; and with me
Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I
Have also tasted, and have also found
The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes,
Dim erst; dilated spirits, ampler heart,
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;
Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Lest, thou not tasting, different degree
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
Deity for thee, when Fate will not permit.
Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story told;
But in her cheek distemper fushing glowed.
On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed,
Astonied stood and blank, while horrour chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed :
From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve
Down dropped, and all the faded roses shed :
Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length
First to himself he inward silence broke.
O fairest of Creation, last and best
Of all God's works, Creature in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote!
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden! Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruined; for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die :
How can I live without thee! how forego
Thy sweet convérse, and love so dearly joined,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn!
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart: no, no ! I feel
The link of Nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe!
So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbed,
Submitting to what seemed remediless,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned.
Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve!
And peril great provoked, who thus hast'dared,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past, who can recall, or done, undo ?
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first
Made common, and unhallowed, ere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly ; yet he lives;
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man,
Higher degree of life; inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent, which cannot be
But to be Gods, or Angels, demi-Gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise !
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
Set over all his works ; which, in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependant made : so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose;
Not well conceived of God, who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
Us to abolish, lest the Adversary
Triumph, and say; Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? Me first
He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next ?'
Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe.
However, I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom: if death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life ;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of Nature draw me to my own ;
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
One fesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
So Adam ; and thus Eve to him replied.
O glorious trial of exceeding love,
Illustrious evidence, example high,
Engaging me to emulate ! but, short
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,
Adam, from whose dear side I boast me sprung,
And gladly of our union hear thee speak,
One heart, one soul in both ; whereof good proof
This day affords, declaring thee resolved,
Rather than death, or aught than death more dread,
Shall separate us (linked in love so dear!)