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Not sedulous by nature to indite
Doubt might beget of diabolic power Wars, hitherto the only argument
Active within, beyond the sense of brute. Heroic deein'd; chief mastery to dissect
Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief With long and tedious havoc fabled knights His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd. In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
“ O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferr'd Of patience and heroic martyrdom
More justly, seat worthier of Gods, as built Unsung; or to describe races and games,
With second thoughts, reforming what was old ! Or tilting furniture, imblazon'd shields,
For what god, after better, worse would build ? Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,
Terrestrial Heaven, danc'd round by other Heavens Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps, At joust and tournament; then marshall'd feast Light above light, for thee alone as seems, Serv'd up in hall with sewers and seneshals; In thee concentring all their precious beams The skill of artifice or office mean,
Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven Not that which justly gives heroic name
Is centre, yet extends to all; so thou, To person or to poem. Me, of these
Centring, receiv'st from all those orbs : in thee, Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears Remains; sufficient of itself to raise
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Of creatures animate with gradual life Climate, or years, damp my intended wing Of growth, sense, reason, all summ'd up in Man. Depress'd; and much they may, if all be inine, With what delight could I have walk'd thee round, Not hers, who brings it nightly to my ear.
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange The Sun was sunk, and after him the star Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains, Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd, Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter
Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these 'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end Find place or refuge; and the more I see Night's hemisphere had veil'd the horizon round: Pleasures about me, so much more I feel When Satan, who late fled before the threats Torment within me, as from the hateful siege Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
Of contraries : all good to me becomes (state. In melitated fraud and malice, bent
Bane, and in Heaven much worse would be my On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme; By night he fled, and at midnight return'd Nor hope to be myself less miserable From compassing the Earth ; cautious of day, By what I seek, but others to make such Since Uriel, regent of the Sun, descried
As I, though thereby worse to me redound: His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim For only in destroying I find ease That kept their watch; thence full of anguish To my relentless thoughts; and, bim destroyed, driven,
Or won to what may work his utter loss, The space of seven continued nights he rode For whom all this was made, all this will soon With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
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 On 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 Before had been contriving? though perhaps change,
Not longer than since I, in one night, freed Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise,
From servitude inglorious well nigh half Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
The angelic name, and thinner left the throng Rose up a fountain by the tree of life :
Of his adorers : he, to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room Downward as far antarctic; and in length, A creature form'd of earth, and him endow, West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
Exalted from so base original, At Darien ; thence to the land where flows
With heavenly spoils, our spoils : what he decreed, Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd He effected ; Man he made, and for him built With narrow search; and with inspection deep Magnificent this world, and Earth his seat, Consider'd every creature, which of all
Him lord pronounc'd; and, () indignity!
And flaming ministers to watch and tend
Their earthy charge: of these the vigilance Of thoughts revolv'd, his final sentence chose I dread : and, to elude, thus wrapt in mist Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
In every bush and brake, where hap may find From sharpest sight : for, in the wily snake The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark, To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. As from his wit and native subtlety
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended Proceeding; which, in other beasts observ'd, With Gods to sit the highest, ain now constrain'd
Into a beast ; and, mix'd with bestial slime, Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
Labour, 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. [hands Since higher I fall short, on him who next These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint Provokes my envy, this new favourite
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, Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on And short retirement urges sweet return. His midnight-search, where soonest he might find But other doubt possesses me, lest harm The serpent : him fast sleeping soon he found Befall thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st In labyrinth of many a round self-roll'd,
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles : Envying our happiness, and of his own Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame Nor nocent yet ; but, on the grassy herb,
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 With act intelligential; but his sleep
To other speedy aid might lend at need :
Our feälty from God, or to disturb
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. Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore douk One night or two with wanton growth derides To God or thee, because we have a foe Tending to wild. Thou therefore now vise, May tempt it, I expected not to hear. Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present : His violence thou fear'st not, being such Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice As we, not capable of death or pain, Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind Can either not receive, or can repel. The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers The clasping ivy where to climb; while I, Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd ; (brers With myrtle, find what to redress till noon : Thoughts, which how found they harbour in th: For, while so near each other thus all day
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?” Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
To whom with healing words Adam replied. Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
“ Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve! Casual discourse draw on ; which intermits
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire : Our day's work, brought to little, though begun Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Early, and the hour of supper comes unearn'd ?” Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
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 aspon Compare above all living creatures dear!
The tempted with dishonour foul; suppos'd Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd, Not incorruptible of faith, not proof How we might best fulfil the work which here Against temptation : thou thyself with scorn God hath assign'd us; nor of me shalt pass And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong, Unprais’d: for nothing lovelier can be found Though ineffectual found : misdeem not theli
, In woman, than to study household good,
If such affront I labour to avert
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare ; On what thou hast of virtue ; summon all !
“ With thy permission then, and thus forewam'd I from the influence of thy looks receive
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Access in every virtue ; in thy sight
Touch'd 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 Shaine to be overcome or over-reach'd,
A foe so proud will first the weaker seck ; Would utmost vigour 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 armid, 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 Single with like defence, wherever met ;
Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime, How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Of our integrity : his foul esteem
Oft he to her his charge of quick return
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 rancour 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 good surpris'd, Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, She dictate false ; and mis-inform 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; Thou 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 seem'st, 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
Curl'd 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,
1 If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, From every beast; more duteous at her call, What pleasing seem'd, 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 tried 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, and for the time remain'd Thou canst who art sole wonder! much less arın Stupidiy good ; of enmity disarm’d,
Thy looks, the Heaven of mildness, with disdain, I Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge.
Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze
With ravishment belield! there best beheld, “ Thoughts, whither lave ye led me! with what Where universally admir’d; but here
In this enclosure 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,
(szer. 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 ali 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 !
ard in their actions, oft appears. Not terrible, though terrour 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?
“ Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve! Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head Easy to me it is to tell thee all (be obey'd Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes;
What thou command'st; and right thou shouldu 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 disceru'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 transform’d
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mix d, Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen ;
Ruddy and gold : I nearer drew to gaze ; He with Olympias ; this with her who bore When from the boughs a savoury odour blown, Scipio, the height of Rome. With tract oblique Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense At first, as one who sought access, but fear’d Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats To interrupt, side long he works his way.
Of ewe or goat, dropping with milk at even,
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 kcen.
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 I spar'd not ; for, such pleasure till that hour,
more 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, Of reason in my inward powers ; and speech Fluctuates disturb’d, yet comely and in act Wanted not long; though to this shape retain'd. Rais’d, as of some great matter to begin. Thenceforth to speculations high or deep
As when of old some orator renown'd, I turn'd my thoughts, and with capacious mind In Athens or free Rome, where eloquence ('onsider'd all things visible in Heaven,
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 !"
“ () sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving plant, So talk'd the spirited sly snake; and Eve,
Mother of science! now I feel thy power
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'd than 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
Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain
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. [roll’d To happier life, knowledge of good and evil ;
“ Lead then,” said Eve. He, leading, swiftly 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 vapour, which the night Your fear itself of death removes the fear. Condenses, and the cold environs round,
Why then was this forbid? Why, bụt 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 god-like food ?