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in flight

On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate
Of Heav'n arriv’d, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden hinges turning, as by work 255
Divine the Sov’reign Architect had fram’d.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interpos’d, however small he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,
Earth and'the gard’n of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass 26 1
Of Galileo, less assur’d, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens 265
A cloudy spot. Down thither

prone
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till within soar

270
Of tow’ring eagles, to’all the fowls he seems
A Phoenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to inshrine his reliques in the Sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradise

275
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph wing’d; six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair :: 280
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round

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Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipt in Heav'n; the third his feet Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail, Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance fill'd

286
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch ; and to his state, ·
And to his message high in honour rise; 289
For on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glitt'ring tents he pass'd, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh
And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm :
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will 295
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bow'r, while now the mounted Sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm 301
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam

needs :
And Eve within, due at her hour prepar'd
For dinner sav'ry fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst

305 Of nect'rous draughts between, from milky

stream, Berry or grape. To whom thus Adam call’d:

Haste hither Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold

311

Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving ; seems another morn Ris'n on mid-noon : some great behest from

Heav'n To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour Abundance, fit to honour and receive

315 Our heav'nly stranger: well we may afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where Nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburd’ning grows More fruitful; which instructs us not to spare. 320 To whom thus Eve: Adam, earth's hallow'd

mould,
Of God inspir’d, small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk,
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes : 325
But I will haste, and from each bow and brake,
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such

choice
To entertain our Angel guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth
God hath dispens’d his bounties as in Heav'n.

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste 331
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order, so contriv'd as not to mix
Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring

Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where 340
Alcinous reign’d, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough or smooth rin’d, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink, the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths

345 From manya berry', and from sweet kernels press'd She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure, then strews the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfum'd.

Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train

351 Accompany'd than with his own complete Perfections: in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long 355 Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold, Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw'd, Yet with submiss approach and rev'rence meek, As to' a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said: Native of Heav'n, for other place None can than Heav'n such glorious shapecontain; Since by descending from the thrones above, Those happy places thou hast deign'da while

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To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two' only, who yet by sov'reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bow'r
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the Sun more cool decline. .

370
Whom thus th’angelic Virtue answer'd mild:
Adam, I herefore came; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell
As may not oft invite, though Sp'rits of Heav'n,
To visit thee. Lead on then where thy bow'r
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till ev'ning rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smild
With flow'rets deck'd and fragrant smells ; but

Eve Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair 380 Than Wood - Nymph, or the fairest Goddess

feign'd Of three that in mount Ida naked strove, Stood to entertain her guest from Heav'n. No veil She needed, virtue proof; no thought infirm Alter'd her cheek. On whom the Angel Hail Bestow’d; the holy salutation us’d Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.

Hail Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more num'rous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heap'd this table. Rais’d of Their table was, and mossy seats had round,

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grassy turf

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