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That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protects.
270 As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austere composure thus replied:
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 shut of evening 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 seduced; Thoughts, which how found they harbor in thy breast, Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam replied: 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 sight, but to avoid The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
295 For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonor foul; supposed Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
300 Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
Ifsuch affront I labor to avert
So spake domestic Adam in his care
320 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd:
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
330 Foul on himself; then wherefore shunnid or fear'd By us? who rather double honor gain From his surmise proved false; find peace within, Favor from Heaven, our witness, from the event. And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd 335 Alone, without exterior help sustain’d? Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
To whom thus Adam fervently replied:
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve 375 Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied:
With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touch'd only; that our trial, when least sought, May find us both perhaps far less prepared, 380 The willinger I go, nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.
Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand Soft she withdrew; and, like a Woodnymph light, 385 Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self In gait surpass’d and goddesslike deport, Though not as she with bow and quiver arm’d, But with such gardening tools as Art yet rude, 390 Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or Angels brought. To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Likest she seem'd Pomona when she fled Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime, Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
395 Her long with ardent look his eye pursued Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Oft he to her his charge of quick return Repeated; she to him as oft engaged To be return’d by noon amid the bower,
400 And all things in best order to invite Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve, Of thy presumed return! event perverse! Thou never from that hour in Paradise
405 Found'st either sweet repast or sound repose; Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades, Waited with hellish rancor imminent
To intercept thy way, or send thee back
435 Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers Embroider'd on each bank, the hand of Eve: Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd Or of revived Adonis, or renown'd Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son;
440 Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. Much he the place admired, the person more. As one who long in populous city pent,