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Not sedulous by nature to indite
Active within, beyond the sense of brute. Wars, hitherto the only argument
Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief Heroic deem'd; chief mastery to dissect
His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd. With long and tedious havoc fabled knights
“O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferr'd In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built of patience and heroic martyrdom
With second thoughts, reforming what was old! Unsung; or to describe races and games,
For what god, after better, worse would build ? Or tilting furniture, emblazon'd shields,
Terrestrial Heaven, danc'd round by other Heavens Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps, Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights Light above light, for thee alone as seems, At joust and tournament; then marshall'd feast In thee concentring all their precious beams Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneschals ; Of sacred influence! as God in Heaven The skill of artifice or office mean,
Is centre, yet extends to all ; so thou, Not that which justly gives heroic name
Centring, receiv'st from all those orbs : in thee, To person or to poem. Me, of these
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth Remains ; sufficient of itself to raise
Of creatures animate with gradual life That name, unless an age too late, or cold
of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man. Climate, or years, damp my intended wing With what delight could I have walk'd thee round, Depress’d; and much they may, if all be mine, If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear. of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
The Sun was sunk, and after him the star Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd, of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Rocks, dens, and caves ! But I in none of these Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter
Find place or refuge; and the more I see "Twixt day and night, and now from end to end Pleasures about me, so much more I feel Night's hemisphere had veil:d the horizon round: Torment within me, as from the hateful siege When Satan, who late fled before the threats of contraries : all good to me becomes or Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my state. In meditated fraud and malice, bent
But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
For only in destroying I find ease
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe; He circled ; four times cross'd the car of night In woe then ; that destruction wide may range: From pole to pole traversing each colúre; To me shall be the glory sole among Ou the eighth return'd; and on the coast averse The infernal powers, in one day to have marr'd From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth What he, Almighty styl’d, six nights and days Found unsuspected way. There was a place, Continued making; and who knows how long Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change, Before had been contriving? though perhaps Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise,
Not longer than since 1, in one night, freed Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
From servitude inglorious well nigh half Rose up a fountain by the tree of life:
The angelic name, and thinner left the throng In with the river sunk, and with it rose
of his adorers: he, to be aveng’d,
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
With heavenly spoils, our spoils : what he decreed. With narrow search; and with inspection deep He effected ; Man he made, and for him built Consider'd every creature, which of all
Magnificent this world, and Earth his seat, Most opportune might serve his wiles ; and found Him lord pronounc'd ; and, O indignity! The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.
Subjected to his service angel-wings,
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
I dread : and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist
Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and pry From sharpest sight: for, in the wily snake In every bush and brake, where hap may find Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark, The serpent sleeping ; in whose mazy folds As from his wit and native subtlety
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. Proceeding; which, in other beasts observ'd, O foul descent! that I, who erst contended Doubt might beget of diabolic power
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrain'd
Into a beast; and, mix'd with bestial slime, Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
Labor, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, But what will not ambition and revenge
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow, As high he soar'd; obnoxious, first or last,
To brute denied, and are of love the food; To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet, Love, not the lowest end of human life. Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :
For not to irksome toil, but to delight, Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
He made us, and delight to reason join'd. Since higher I fall short, on him who next
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands Provokes my envy, this new favorite
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite, As we need walk, till younger hands ere long Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd Assist us: but, if much converse perhaps From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid." Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe,
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand Fearless, unfear'd he slept : in at his mouth Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find The Devil enter'd; and his brutal sense,
His wish and best advantage, us asunder; In heart or head, possessing, soon inspir'd
Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need:
That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd ;
To whom with healing words Adam replied.
“ Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd. The attempt itself, intended by our foe. " Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
If such affront I labor to avert
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare ; On what thou hast of virtue ; summon all!
“With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd I from the influence of thy looks receive
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Access in every virtue; in thy sight
Toucld only; that our trial, when least sought, More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were, May find us both perhaps far less prepar'd, Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on, The willinger I go, nor much expect Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek ; Would utmost vigor raise, and rais’d, unite. So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse." Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel Thus saying. from her husband's hand her hand When I am present, and thy trial choose
Soft she withdrew; and, like a wood-nymph light, With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?" Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, So spake domestic Adam in his care
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought In gait surpass'd, and goddess-like deport, Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Though not as she with bow and quiver arm'd, Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd. But with such gardening tools as art yet rude, “If this be our condition, thus to dwell
Guiltless of fire, had form'd, or angels brought. In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe,
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Subtle or violent, we not endued
Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
Oft he to her his charge of quick return
Repeated; she to him as oft engag'd
And all things in best order to invite
Of thy presum'd return! event perverse!
Thou never from that hour in Paradise Let us not then suspect our happy state
Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose; Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades, As not secure to single or combin'd.
Waited with hellish rancor imminent Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
To intercept thy way, or send thee back And Eden were no Eden, thus expos'd.”
Despoil'd of innocence, of faith, of bliss ! To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
For now, and since first break of dawn, the fiend, O Woman, best are all things as the will Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come; of God ordain'd them: his creating hand And on his quest, where likeliest he might find Nothing imperfect or deficient left
The only two of mankind, but in them Of all that he created, much less Man,
The whole included race, his purpos'd prey. Or aught that might his happy state secure, In bower and field he sought where any tuft Secure from outward force; within himself Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, The danger lies, yet lies within his power: Their tendance, or plantation for delight; Against his will he can receive no harm.
By fountain or by shady rivulet But God left free the will ; for what obeys He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find Reason, is free; and reason he made right, Eve separate ; he wish’d, but not with hope But bid her well beware, and still erect;
Of what so seldom chanc'd; when to his wish, Lest, by some fair-appearing goou surpris'd, Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, She dictate false ; and misinform the will
Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, About her glow'd, oft stooping to support That I should mind thee oft: and mind thou me. Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Carnation, purple, azure, or speck'd with gold, Since reason not impossibly may meet
Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays Some specious object by the foe suborn'd, Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while And fall into deception unaware,
Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn'd. From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. Seek not temptation then, which to avoid Nearer he drew, and many a walk travérs’d Were better, and most likely if from me
of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm ; Thwu sever not: trial will come unsought. Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen, Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers First thy obedience; the other who can know, Imborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve: Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd But if thou think, trial unsought may find Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seemist, Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son; Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king Go in thy native innocence, rely
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
Much he the place admir'd, the person more. As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Curlid many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve, Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight; To lure her eye ; she, busied, heard the sound The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as us'd Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound; To such disport before her through the field, If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, From every beast; more duteous at her call, What pleasing seemd, for her now pleases more, Than at Circean call the herd disguis'd. She most, and in her look sums all delight: He, bolder now, uncall'd before her stood, Such pleasure took the serpent to behold
But as in gaze admiring: oft he bow'd This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve
His turret crest, and sleek enamell'd neck, Thus early, thus alone: her heavenly form Fawning; and lick'd the ground whereon she trou Angelic, but more soft, and feminine,
His gentle dumb expression turn'd at length Her graceful innocence, her every air
The eye of Eve, to mark his play; he, glad
Of her attention gain'd, with serpent-tongue
“Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps From his own evil, anů for the time remain'd Thou canst who art sole wonder! much less arm Stupidly good; of enmity disarm’d,
Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain, of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge.
Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze But the hot Hell that always in him burns, Insatiate ; I thus single; nor have fear'd Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir'd. And tortures him now more, the more he sees Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair, Of pleasure, not for him ordain'd: then soon Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld, “ Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what Where universally admir'd; but here sweet
In this inclosure wild, these beasts among, Compulsion thus transported, to forget
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern What hither brought us! hate, not love; nor hope Half what in thee is fair, one man except, [seen Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Who sees thee? (and what is one ?) who should be of pleasure ; but all pleasure to destroy,
A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd Save what is in destroying ; other joy
By angels numberless, thy daily train." To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass
So gloz'd the tempter, and his proem tun'd: Occasion which now smiles; behold alone Into the heart of Eve his words made way, The woman, opportune to all attempts,
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh, Not unamaz’d, she thus in answer spake. (nounc'd Whose higher intellectual more I shun,
“What may this mean? language of man proAnd strength, of courage haughty, and of limb By tongue of brute, and human sense express'd ? Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould ;
The first, at least, of these I thought denied Foe not informidable! exempt from wound, To beasts ; whom God, on their creation-day, I not; so much hath Hell debas'd, and pain Created mute to all articulate sound : Enfeebled me, to what I was in Heaven.
The latter I demur; for in their looks She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods!
Much reason, and in their actions, oft appears. Not terrible, though terror be in love
Thee, serpent, subtlest beast of all the field
How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how
Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight? Address'd his way: not with indented wave, Say, for such wonder claims attention due." Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear, To whom the guileful tempter thus replied. Circular base of rising folds, that tower'd
Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head Easy to me it is to tell thee all
[obey'd. Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes ;
What thou command'st; and right thou shouldst be With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect
I was at first as other beasts that
graze Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low, Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape
As was my food; nor aught but food discern'd And lovely; never since of serpent-kind
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high : Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
Till, on a day roving the field, I chanc'd Hermione and Cadmus, or the god
A goodly tree far distant to behold In Epidaurus; nor to which transforin'd
Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mix'd,
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze ;
Of ewe or goat, dropping with milk at eveni
Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play. God so commanded, and left that command
Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
Law to ourselves; our reason is our law.” Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,
To whom the tempter guilefully replied. Powerful persuaders, quicken’d at the scent
Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keen.
Of all these garden-trees ye shall not eat, About the mossy trunk I wound me soon ;
Yet lords declar'd of all in Earth or Air ?" For, high from ground, the branches would require To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. “Of the fruit Thy utmost reach or Adam's: round the tree Of each tree in the garden we may eat ; All other beasts that saw, with like desire
But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst Longing and envying stood, but could not reach. The garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'” Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
She scarce had said, though brief, when now more I spar'd not; for, such pleasure till that hour,
bold At feed or fountain, never had I found.
The tempter, but with show of zeal and love Sated at length, ere long I might perceive
To Man, and indignation at his wrong, Strange alteration in me, to degree
New part puts on; and, as to passion mov'd,
As when of old some orator renown'd,
Flourish'd, since mute! to some great cause adOr Earth, or Middle; all things fair and good :
dress'd, But all that fair and good in thy divine
Stood in himself collected; while each part, Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue ; United I beheld; no fair to thine
Sometimes in height began, as no delay Equivalent or second : which compellid
Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right: Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come So standing, moving, or to height up grown, And gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd The tempter, all impassion'd, thus began. Sovran of creatures, universal dame!"
“O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving plant, So talk'd the spirited sly snake; and Eve, Mother of science! now I feel thy power Yet more amaz'd, unwary thus replied.
Within me clear; not only to discern
Those rigid threats of death : ye shall not die : In Paradise, and various, yet unknown
How should you ? by the fruit? it gives you life To us; in such abundance lies our choice, To knowledge; by the threatener? look on me, As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, Me, who have touch'd and tasted ; yet both live, Still hanging incorruptible, till men
And life more perfect have attain's ihan Fate Grow up to their provision, and more hands Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. Help to disburden Nature of her birth.”
Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad. Is open ? or will God incense his ire “ Empress, the way is ready, and not long; For such a petty trespass ? and not praise Beyond a row of myriles, on a flat,
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past
Of death denounc'd, whatever thing death be, Of blowing myrrh and balm : if thou accept Deterr'd not from achieving what might lead My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon." To happier life, knowledge of good and evil ;
“ Lead then," said Eve. He, leading, swiftly rolld of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, Be real, why not known, since easier shunn'd ? To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just; Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire Not just, not God: not fear'd then, nor obey'd : Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night Your fear itself of death removes the fear. Condenses, and the cold environs round,
Why then was this forbid ? Why, but to awe; Kindled through agitation to a flame,
Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant,
Ye eat thereof, your eyes, that seem so clear,
That ye shall be as gods, since I as Man,
I, of brute, human ; ye, of human, gods.
Though threaten'd, which no worse than this can Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess,
bring. The credit of whose virtue rest with thee;
And what are gods, that man may not become Wondrous indeed if cause of such effects. As they, participating godlike food ? But of this tree we may not taste nor touch ; The gods are first, and that advantage use