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Not distant far from thence a murm'ring sound
Of waters issu'd from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd 455
Pure as th'

expanse

of Heav'n. I thither went With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite A shape within the wat’ry gleam appear'd, Bending to look on me. I started back; It started back : but pleas’d I soon return'd; Pleas'd it return’d as soon with answ'ring looks Of sympathy and love : there I had fix'd 465 Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire, Had not a voice thus warn'd 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 470 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 call’d Mother of Human Race. What could I do, 475 But follow straight, invisibly thus led ? Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall, Under a platan; yet methought less fair, Less winning soft, less amiably mild, Than that smooth wat’ry image. Back I turn’d: Thou following cry’dst aloud, Return, fair Eve; Whom fly'st thou? Whom thou fly’st, of him

thou art;

His flesh, his bone. To give thee b’ing I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart
Substantial life, to have thee by my side 485
Henceforth an individual solace dear :
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half: with that thy gentle hand
Seiz'd mine; I yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace 490
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
So spake our gen’ral mother, and with

eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first father; half her swelling breast 495
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid : he in delight,
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
Smild with superior love, as Jupiter 499
On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flow'rs; and press'd her matron lip
With kisses

pure.

Aside the Devil turn'd For envy, yet with jealous leer malign Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus 'plain'd:

Sight hateful! sight tormenting ! thus these two, Imparadis’d in one another's arms,

506 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, Amongst our other torments not the least, 510 Still unfulfilld with pain of longing, pines. Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd

From their own mouths: all is not theirs, it seems;
One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge callid,
Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden?
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 ? 520
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 524
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 unspy'd; 529
A chance but chance may lead where I may

meet
Some wand'ring Sp’rit of Heav'n by fountain side,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn'd. Live while

ye may,
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return, 534
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Thro' wood, thro' waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his

roam.

Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heav'n
With earth and ocean meets, the setting Sun 540

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Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Level'd his ev'ning rays : it was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 545
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 th'angelic guards, awaiting night; 550
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th’unarmed youth of Heav'n, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through th' even
On a Sun-beam, swift as a shooting star

556
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air, and shews the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds. He thus began in haste: 56Q

Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath giv'n
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 seem'd, to know 565
More of th’Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
God's latest image: I describ'd his way
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aery gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks

Alien from Heav'n, with passions foul obscur’d:
Mine eye pursu'd him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him. One of the banish'd crew,
I fear, hath ventur'd from the deep, to raise 574
New troubles : him thy care must be to find.

To whom the winged warrior thus return'd:
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the Sun's bright circle, where thou sitt'st,
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come 580
Well known from Heav'n; and since meridian

hour No creature thence: if Sp’rit of other sort, So minded, have o’erleap'd these earthy bounds On purpose,

hard thou know'st it to exclude Sp'ritual substance with corporeal bar. 585 But if within the circuit of these walks, In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom Thou tell’st, by morrow dawning I shall know.

So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge Return'd on that bright beam, whose point, now rais'd,

590 Bore him slope downward to the Sun, now fallin Beneath th’Azores; whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd Diurnal, or this less voluble earth, By shorter flight to th'east, had left him there Arraying with reflected purple' and gold 596 The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still ev’ning on, and twilight grey

VOL. 1.

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