Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thus grown.

For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here 805

Experience next, to thee I owe, Best guide; not following thee, I had remain'd In ignorance; thou open’st wisdom's way, And givest access, though secret she retire. And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high, 810 High, and remote to see from thence distinct Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps May have diverted from continual watch Our great Forbidder, safe with all his spies About him. But to Adam in what sort

815 Shall I appear? shall I to him make known As yet my change, and give him to partake Full happiness with me, or rather not, But keep the odds of knowledge in my power Without copartner? so to add what wants

820 In female sex, the more to draw his love, And render me more equal; and perhaps, A thing not undesirable, sometime Superior; for inferior, who is free? This may be well: But what if God have seen, 825 And death ensue? Then I shall be no more! And Adam, wedded to another Eve, Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; A death to think! Confirm'd then I resolve, Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:

830 So dear I love him, that with him all deaths I could endure, without him live no life.

So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd; But first low reverence done, as to the Power That dwelt within, whose presence had infused 835 Into the plant sciential sap, derived From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while, Waiting desirous her return, had wove Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn Her tresses, and her rural labors crown;

840

As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delay'd:
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt; 845
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted: by the tree
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled, 850
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffused.
To him she hasted; in her face excuse
Came prologue and apology, too prompt;
Which, with bland words at will, she thus address'd:

Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? 855
Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, deprived
Thy presence; agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,
That pain, of absence from thy sight. But strange 860
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear:
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, or to evil unknown
Opening the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste; 865
And hath been tasted such: The serpent wise,
Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying,
Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become,
Not dead, as we are threaten’d, but henceforth
Endued with human voice and human sense, 870
Reasoning to admiration; and with me
Persuasively hath so prevail'd that I
Have also tasted, and have also found
The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes,
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,

875 And growing up to godhead; which for thee

P

Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;
Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot

880
May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Lest, thou not tasting, different degree
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. 886 On the other side Adam, soon as he heard The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, Astonished stood and blank, while horror chill Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd; 890 From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve Down dropp'd, 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

895 Of all God's works, Creature in whom excell'd Whatever can to slight or thought be form’d, Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost, Defaced, deflower'd, and now to death devote! 900 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 thec 905 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 forlorn! Should God create another Eve, and I

910 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.

915
So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and after thoughts disturb’d
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn’d:

Bo deed ou hast presumed, adventurous Eve, 920 And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared, Had it been only coveting to eye That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence, Much more to taste it under pain to touch But past who can recal, or done undo?

925 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; 930 Nor yet on him found deadly; yet he lives; Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man, Higher degree of life; inducement strong To us as likely tasting to attain Proportional ascent; which cannot be

935 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,

940 For us created, needs with us must fail, Dependent made; so God shall uncreate, Be frustrate, do, undo, and labor lose; Not well conceived of God, who, though his power Creation could repeat, yet would be loath

945 Us to abolish, lest the Adversary Triumph, and say: Fickle their state whom God Most favors; 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.

950
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 forcibly within my heart I feel
The bond of Nature draw me to my own;

955 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,

960 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,

965 One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof This day affords, declaring thee resolved, Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, Shall separate us, link'd in love so dear, To undergo with me one guilt, one crime, 970 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?

975 Were it I thought death menaced 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

980 Remarkably so late of thy so true, So faithful, love unequal'd: but I feel Far otherwise the event; not death, but life Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »