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Imbrown'd the noontide bow'rs. Thus was this place
270 Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world, nor that sweet grove Of Daphne by Orontes, and th' inspired Castalian spring, might with this Paradise Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
275 Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove, Hid Amalthea and her florid son Young Bacchus from his step-dame Rhea's eye; Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 280 Mount Amara, though this by some supposed
246. Imbroron'd, from the Italian. 256. Bentley objects to this passage as puerile, but in his usual spirit of hypercriticism.
266. Pan was a symbol of nature among the ancients. The graces of mythological allusion were never more beautifully employed than in the whole of this passage.
281. Mount Amara was where the Abyssinian kings kept their children guarded. It was inclosed with alabaster rocks, which it Look a day to ascend.
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
305 Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils ; which imply'd Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received; Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, 310 And sweet reluctant amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal'd, Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 315 With shows instead, mere shows of seening pure, And banish'd from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence ! So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill.
320 So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met;
299. Dr. Bentley has proposed with propriety, the reading of and instead of in in this line.
Adnm the goodliest man of men since born
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold I Into our room of bliss thus high advanced Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 360 Not Spirits, yet to heav'nly Spirits bright Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue With wonder, and could love, so lively shines In them divine resemblance, and such grace
862. Ps. viii. 5. Heb. 11. 7.
The Hand that form'd them on their shape bath pour'd.
365 Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh Your change approaches, when all these delights Will vanish and deliver ye to woe, More woe, the more your taste is now of joy! Happy, but for so happy ill secured
370 Long to continue, and this high seat your Heav'n Ill fenced for Heav'n to keep out such a foe As now is enter'd ; yet no purposed foe To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn Though I unpitied : League with you I seek, 375 And mutual amity so strait, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me Henceforth. My dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense ; yet such Accept your Maker's work ; he gave it me, 380 Which I as freely give : Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your num'rous offspring ; if no better place, 385 Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge On you who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet public reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlargea, 390 By conqu’ring this new world, compels me now To do what else, though damn'd, I should abhot
So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his dev’lish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 395 Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape served best bis end Nearer to view his prey, and unespy'd To mark what of their state he more might learn 400 By word or action mark'd ; about them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare ; Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then rising changes oft 405 His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
420 This one, this easy charge, of all the trees In Paradise that bear delicious fruit So various, not to taste that only tree Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life; So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, 425 Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree, The only sign of our obedience left Among so many signs of pow'r and rule Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
430 Over all other creatures that possess Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard One easy prohibition, who enjoy Free leave so large to all things else, and choice Unlimited of manifold delights:
435 But let us ever praise him, and extol His bounty, following our delightful task To prune these growing plants, and tend these flow'rs; Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus reply'd: 0 thou for whom 40 And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head, what thou hast said is just and right. For we to him indeed all praises owe, And daily thanks; I chiefly who enjoy
445 So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
421, Gen. ii. 16. also Gen. 1. 28.