Page images
PDF
EPUB

Disjoin us, and I then, too late, renounce
Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.”

Thus Eve with countenance blithe, her story told;
But in her cheek distemper, flushing, glow'd
On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed,
Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax’d;
From his slack hand the garland, wreath'd for Eve,
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed :
Speechless he stood, and pale, till thus at length,
First to himself, he inward silence broke :

“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,
Defaced, deflowered, & now to death devote?
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden ? some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,
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 forlorr.?
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.”

So having said, as one from sad dismay
Re-comforted, and, after thoughts disturbid,
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thus, in calm mood, his words to Eve he turn'd.

“ Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve,
And peril great provoked, who thus hath dared,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past, who can recal, 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,
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first

Made common and unhallow'd, ere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,
Lives, as thou said'st, and gains to live as man,
Higher degree of life, inducement strong
To us, as likely, tasting, to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
But to be gods, or angels demi-gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
Set over all his works, which in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependant made; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose,
Not well conceived of God; who, tho' his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
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 given the foe.
However, I with thee have fix'd my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom; if death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
So forcible, within my heart, I feel
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 replied.
“O glorious trial of exceeding love,
Illustrious evidence, example high!
Engaging me to emulate; but short
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,
Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung,
And gladly of our union hear thee speak,
One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof
This day affords, declaring thee resolved,
Rather than death, or aught than death more
Shall separate us, link'd in love so dear, (dread,
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
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
Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assured
Remarkably so late, of thy so true,
So faithful love, unequall'd; but I feel
Far otherwise the event; not death, but life
Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys;
Taste so divine, that what of sweet before
Hath touch'd my sense, flat seems to this, & harsh.
On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
And fear of death deliver to the winds."

So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy
Tenderly wept, much won that he his love
Had so ennobled, 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 liberal hand. He scrupled not to eat,
Against his better knowledge; not deceived,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and nature gave a second groan;
Sky lower'd, & muttering thunder, some sad
Wept at completing of the mortal sin [drops
Original; while Adam took no thought,
Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate
Her former trespass fear’d, the more to soothe
Him with her loved 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
Far other operation first displayed,

(fruit Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve Began to cast lascivious eyes, she him As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn: 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'd 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 forbidden, it might be wish'd,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
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
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
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.
Her hand he seized, and to a shady bank,
Thick overhead with verdant roof imbow'rd,
He led her, nothing loth ; flowers were the couch
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,
And hyacinth, earth's freshest, softest lap.
There they their fill of love, and love's disport
Took largely; of their mutual guilt the seal,
The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep
Oppress'd them, wearied with their amorous play.
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
That, with exhilarating vapour bland,
About their spirits had play'd, & inmost powers
Made err, was now exhal’d; & grosser sleep,
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
Encumber'd, now had left them; up they rose,
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing,
Soon found their eyes how open'd, & their minds
How darken'd; innocence, that, as a veil,
Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gone,
Just confidence, and native righteousness,
And honour, from about them, naked left
To guilty shame; 'ne cover'à; but his robe
Uncover'd more. So rose the Danite strong,
Herculean mson, from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Delilah, and waked
Shorn of his strength; they destitute & bare
Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute;
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abash'd,
At length gave utterance to these words constrain'd.

“ O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear To that false worm, of whomsoever taught To counterfeit man's voice; true in our fall, False in our promised rising ; since our eyes Open'd we find indeed, and find we know

P

Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got :
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know,
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void,
Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
Our wonted ornaments now soiled & stained ;
And, in our faces, evident the signs
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store ;
Even shame, the last of evils ; of the first
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face,
Henceforth, of God, or Angel, erst with joy
And rapture so oft beheld ? those heavenly shapes
Will dazzle now this earthly, with their blaze
Insufferably bright. O might I here
In solitude live savage, in some glade
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable
To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad,
And brown as evening ! Cover me, ye pines,
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs,
Hide me, where I may never see them more!
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
What best may for the present serve to hide
The parts of each from other, that seem most
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen :
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sew'd,
And girded on our loins, may cover round
Those middle parts, that this new comer, shame,
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.”

So counsellid he : and both together went
Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose
The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd,
But such as, at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Decan, spreads her arms,
Branching so broad & long, that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, & daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillard shade,
High over-arch'd, & echoing walks between;
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat,
Shelters in cool, & tends his pasturing herds
At loopholes, cut through thickest shade. Those
They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe, [leaves
And with what skill they had, together sew'd,
To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide
Their guilt & dreaded shame; O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found the American, so girt
With feather'd cincture, naked else, & wild,
Among the trees, on isles & woody shores.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »