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Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
In ev'ry gesture dignity and love.
I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud:
"This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfill'd
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign,
Her virtue and the conscience of her worth,
to say all,
And happy constellations on that hour
Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought
but here, Far otherwise, transported I behold, Transported touch; here passion first I felt, Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else Superior and unmoved, here only weak Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance. Or nature fail'd in me, or left some part Not proof enough such object to sustain; Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps More than enough; at least on her bestow'd Too much of ornament
When I approach
Occasionally; and, to consummate all,
Who ever wrote like this? What poet ever spoke such language? How miserable seem all modern compositions beside these strong and magnificent conceptions! Milton takes care to keep Eve aloof, while Adam betrays his weakness to Raphael; but the inquisitive woman, concealed among the foliage, hears enough for her own ruin.
There is an inexpressible charm about Eve; she unites innocence with loveliness, but she is capricious, presuming, vain of her beauty; she insists on going alone to her morning tasks, in spite of the entreaties of Adam; she is offended with the fears he betrays, and believes herself capable of resisting the Prince of Darkness. Her weak husband yields; he sadly follows her with his eyes as she disappears among the trees. Eve has no sooner arrived at the Tree of Knowledge than she is beguiled, in spite of the warnings of Adam and of Heaven, in spite of the images presented to her in a dream, which had nevertheless alarmed her, and in which the Father of Lies had said to her what the serpent repeats. The praise of her beauty intoxicates her; she falls.
The stupor of Adam, his resolution to partake of the forbidden fruit, that he may die with Eve,
the despair of both, their reproaches, his forgiveness, the reconciliation; Eve's proposal either to destroy herself or to deny herself posterity-all is in the highest strain of pathos. Eve, moreover, reminds one of Shakspeare's females; she has an air so extremely youthful; her simplicity is almost child-like; it furnishes an excuse for a seduction which is effected with such facility.
The style of these scenes could have belonged to no one but Milton. The delicious lines in which Eve gives an account of her first waking after her creation, are well known. In the same book, the fourth, she also says to our first Father:
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
Before they enter the nuptial bower, Adam pauses, and veils his expected felicity in this chaste and pious aspiration;
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 this earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite both when we wake And when we seek as now thy gift of sleep. Adam wakes before Eve in the morning, He, on his side
Leaning half rais'd, with looks of cordial love,
When Raphael beholds Eve, he addresses her with this angelic salutation:
Hail, mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb
Thus every thing is sanctified by religious sentiment in the hymns of this poet. These gracious pictures of blessedness are the more dramatic because they are witnessed by Satan. He learns from the very lips of the happy pair their own secret and his power to ruin them. The felicity of Adam and Eve alarms us for them; every instant of their bliss makes us tremble, since it