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A cloudy spot.
Down thither prone in flight 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 towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems A phenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird, When, to enshrine his relics in the Sun's Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise He lights, and to his proper shape returns, A Seraph winged. 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 Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet Shadowed from either heel with feathered mail, Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled 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 ; For on some message high they guessed him bound. Their glittering tents he passed, and now is come 291 Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm, A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here Wantoned as in her prime, and played at will Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet, Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss. Him, through the spicy forest onward come, Adam discerned, as in the door he sat Of his cool bower, while now the mounted Sun 300 Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm
Earth’s inmost womb, more warmth than Adam needs;
“Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
For drink the grape
Meanwhile our primitive great Sire, to meet 350 His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied 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 Of horses led and grooms besmeared with gold Dazzles the crowd and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low,
360 Thus said :—“Native of Heaven (for other place None can than Heaven such glorious Shape contain), Since, by descending from the Thrones above, Those happy places thou hast deigned a while To want, and honour these, voutsafe with us, Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower 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 the angelic Virtue answered mild :« Adam, I therefore came ; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
“ Hail! Mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons Than with these various fruits the trees of God
390 Have heaped this table !” Raised of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square, from side to side, All Autumn piled, though Spring and Autumn here Danced hard-in-hand. A while discourse they hold -No fear lest dinner cool — when thus began Our Author :—“Heavenly Stranger, please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasured-out, descends, To us for food and for delight hath caused
400 The Earth to yield : unsavoury food, perhaps, To Spiritual Natures ; only this I know, That one Celestial Father gives to all."
To whom the Angel :-“Therefore, what he gives (Whose praise be ever sung) to Man, in part Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found No ingrateful food : and food alike those pure Intelligential substances require
As doth your Rational ; and both contain
420 Nor doth the Moon no nourishment exhale From her moist continent to higher Orbs. The Sun, that light imparts to all, receives From all his alimental recompense In humid exhalations, and at even Sups with the Ocean. Though in Heaven the trees Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines Yield nectar—though from off the boughs each morn We brush mellifluous dews and find the ground Covered with pearly grain—yet God hath here 430 Varied his bounty so with new delights As may compare with Heaven; and to taste Think not I shall be nice.” So down they sat, And to their viands fell ; nor seemingly The Angel, nor in mist—the common gloss Of theologians—but with keen dispatch Of real hunger, and concoctive heat To transubstantiate : what redounds transpires Through Spirits with ease ; nor wonder, if by fire Of sooty coal the empiric alchemist
440 Can turn, or holds it possible to turn, Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold, As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve Ministered naked, and their flowing cups