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First to himself, he inward silence broke: 895

O fairest of creation, last and best
Of all God's works, Creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form’d,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost!

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Defac'd, deflow'r'd, and now to death devote!
Rather, How hast thou yielded, to transgress
The strict forbiddance? how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden? Some curs'd fraud
Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown, 905
And me with thee hath ruin'd! for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die.
How can I live without thee! how forego
Thy sweet converse and love so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn! 910
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. 916

So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and after thoughts disturb’d
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd:

Bold deed thou hast presum'd, advent'rous Eve,
And peril great provok’d, who thus hast dar'd,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,

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Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. 925
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,
Profan'd first by the serpent, by him first 930
Made common and unhallow'd ere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives ;
Lives as thou saidst, and gains to live as Man
Higher degree of life : inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting, to attain

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Proportional ascent, which cannot be
But to be Gods, or Angels Demi-Gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threat’ning, will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignify'd so high,

940 Set over all his works, which in our fall, For us created, needs with us must fail, Dependent made : so God shall uncreate, Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose, Not well conceiv'd of God, who, tho' his pow'r Creation could repeat, yet would be loth 946 Us to abolish, lest the Adversary Triumph and

say,

Fickle their state whom God Most favours : who can please him long? Me first He ruin'd, now Mankind. Whom will he next? Matter of scorn, not to be giv’n the Foe. 951 However, I with thee have fix'd Certain to undergo like doom. If death Consort with thee, death is to me as life:

,

my lot,

So forcible within my heart I feel

955 The bond of nature draw me to my own, My own in thee! for what thou art is mine: Our state cannot be sever'd; we are one, One flesh. To lose thee were to lose myself.

So Adam; and thus Eve to him reply'd : 960 O glorious trial of exceeding love! Illustrious evidence! example high ! Engaging me to emulate, but short Of thy perfection, how shall I áttain, Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, And gladly of our union hear thee speak, 966 One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof This day affords, declaring thee resolv’d, Rather than death or aught than death more dread Shall separate us, link'd in love so dear, 970 To undergo with me one guilt, one crime, If

any be, of tasting this fair fruit, Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds, Direct, or by occasion) hath presented This happy trial of thy love, which else 975 So eminently never had been known. Were it I thought death menac'd would ensue This

my attempt, I would sustain alone The worst, and not persuade thee; rather die Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact 980 Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assur’d Remarkably so late of thy so true, So faithful love, unequal'd; but I feel Far otherwise th' event; not death, but life

996

Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys, Taste so divine, that what of sweet before 986 Hath touch'd my sense, flat seems to this, and

harsh. On my experience, Adam, freely taste; And fear of death deliver to the winds.

So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy 990 Tenderly wept; much won that he his love Had so ennoblid, as of choice to' incur Divine displeasure for her sake, or death. In recompense (for such compliance bad Such recompense best merits) from the bough She

gave him of that fair enticing fruit With lib'ral hand: he scrupld not to eat Against his better knowledge ; not deceiv’d, But fondly overcome, with female charm. Earth trembld from her entrails, as again 1000 In pangs; and Nature gave a second groan; Sky lowr’d, and muttering thunder, some sad

drops Wept at completing of the mortal sin Original; while Adam took no thought, Eating his fill ; nor Eve to iterate Her former trespass fear'd, the more to sooth Him with her lov'd society, that now, As with new wine intoxicated both, They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel Divinity within them breeding wings Wherewith to scorn the earth: but that false fruit Far other operation first display'd ;

1005

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Carnal desire inflaming: he on Eve
Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him
As wantonly repaid. In lust they burn: 1015
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move:

Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
And elegant, of sapience no small part,
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And palate call judicious. I the praise
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting. If such pleasure be
In things to us forbidd'n, it might be wish’d,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten. 1026
But come, so well refresh’d, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare;
For never did thy beauty since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd 1030
With all perfections, so inflame my sense
With ardour to enjoy thee; fairer now
Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree.

So said he; and forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent; well understood 1035
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.
Her hand he seiz’d, and to a shady bank,
Thick overhead with verdant roof imbow'r'd,
He led her, nothing loth. Flow'rs were the couch,
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, 1040
And hyacinth, earth's freshest softest lap.
There they their fill of love and love's disport

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