Page images

To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd, 130
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made; all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe :
In woe then ; that destruction wide may range :
To me shall be the glory folc among

The infernal powers, in one day to have marrid
What he Almighty ftyld, fix nights and days
Continu'd making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140
From fervitude inglorious well nigh half
Th' angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers : he, to be avenge’d,
And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether such virtue spent of old now faild 145
More angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or, to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from fo bafe original,

150 With heavenly spoils, our spoils : what he decreed, He'effected; man he made, and for him built Magnificent this world, and earth his feat, Him Lord pronounce'd, and, O indignity! Subjected to his service angel-wings,

155 And flaming ministers to watch and tend Their earthly charge. Of these the vigilance I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist Of midnight.vapour glide obscure, and pry In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160 The ferpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. O foul descent ! that I who erst contended With gods to fit the high'est, am now constrain'd

Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime, 165
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the height of deity aspir’d.
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low
As high he foar’d, obnoxious, first or last,
To bafelt things. Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :
Let it ; I reck not, fo it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite

Of heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais'd
From dust : Spite then with spite is best repaid.

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry, Like a black mist low creeping, he held on 180 His midniglit-search, where sooneft he might find The serpent: him falt flecping foon he found In labyrinth of many a round self-rollid, His head the midlt, well stor'd with subtle wiles : Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,

185 Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb Fearless, unfear'd he slept. In at his mouth The Devil enter'd, and his brutal fenfe, In heart or head, poffefling, foon inspir'd With act intelligential; but his sleep

190 Disturb'd not, waiting close the approach of morn.

Now when as facred light began to dawn In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd Their morning-incense, when all things that breathe; From th' earth's great altar send up Glent praise 195 To the Creator, and his nostrils fill With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, And join'd their vocal worship to the quire Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake


The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs :
Then commune how that day they best may ply
Their growing work; for much their work outgrew
The hands dispatch of two gard'ning fo wide.
And Eye first to her husband thus began.
Adam, well may we labour still to dress

This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant talk injoin'd; but till more hands
Aid us; the work under our labour grows,,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop, overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,

210), One night or two with wanton growth derides, Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present : Let us divide our labours ; thou where choice Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 215 The-woodbine round this arbour, or direct The clasping ivy where to climb; while I In yonder spring of roses intermix'd With myrtle, find what to redress till noon : For while so near each other thus all day

220 Our task. we chuse, what wonder if so near Looks intervene, and smiles, or object new : Casual discourse draw on, which intermits Our day's work, brought to little, though begun Early, and th' hour of fupper comes unearn'd.

To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd.
Sole Eve, associate sole, to me-beyond.
Compare, above all living creatures dear,
Well haft thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd.
How we might belt fulfil the work which here

God hath allign'd us; nor of me fhalt pass
Unprais'd: for nothing lovlier can be found
In woman, than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promoter :

Aliit us.

Yet not fo strictly hath our Lord impos'd. 235
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles ; for (miles from reason flow,
To brute deny'd, and are of love the food,

Love not the lowest end of human life,
For not to irksome toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason join'd.
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide: 245
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long,

But if much converse perhaps
Thee fatiate, to short absence I could yield::
For folitude sometimes is best fociety,
And short retirement urges sweet return.

But other doubt poffeffes me; left harm
Befall thee fever'd' from me ;; for thou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 255
By fly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and beft advantage; us asunder;
Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need :

2602 Whether his first design be to withdraw Our feälity from God, or to disturb Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss: Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more ; Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 265 That gave thee be'ing, still shades thee, and protects. The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, Safest and feemlieft by her husband stays, Who guards her, or with her the worst endures,

To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,

270 As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austere composure thus reply'd.

Offspring of heaven and earth, and all earth's lord, That such an enemy we have, who seeks Our ruin, both by thee inform’d I learn,. 275 And from the parting angel overheard, As in a shady nook I stood behind, Just then return'd at fhut of ev'ning-flowers, But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt, To God. or thee, because we have a foe.

280 May tempt it, I expected not to hear. His violence thou fear'st not, being such As we, not capable of death or pain, Can either not receive, or can repel. His fraud is then thy fear ; which plain infers 285 Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love Can by his fraud be shaken or seduce’d; Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast; Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?

To whom with healing words Adam reply'd, 290 Daughter of God and man, immortal Eve, For such thou art, from sin and blame entire : Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Thy absence from my fight, but to avoid Th' attempt itself, intended by our foe.

295 For he who tempts, tho' in vain, at least asperles. The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos’d. Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Against temptation : thou thyself with fcorn And anger wouldft resent the offer'd wrong, Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then, If such affront I labour to avert: From thee alone, which on us both at once, The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »