Page images

Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd 340
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramp’d, and in his paw,
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambol'd before them; the unwieldly elephant, 345
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreath'd
His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insulting, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass 350
Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declined, was hast’ning now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose 355
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length faild speech recover'd sad:

O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 360
Not spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferior: whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that form’d them on their shape hath pour’d.
Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh

366 Your change approaches, when all these delights Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe; More woe, the more you taste is now of joy, Happy, but for so happy ill secured

370 Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven

Ill fenced for Heaven 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 straight, 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



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 conceive
Your numerous 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,
Honor and empire with revenge enlarged, 390
By conquering this new world, compel me now
To do what else, though damnd, I should abhor.

So spake the fiend; and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish 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 his end, Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, 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 spied In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft 405 His gouchant watch, as one who chose his ground, Wagence rushing, he might surest seize them both,

Griped in each paw: when Adam, first of men,
To first of women, Eve, thus moving speech,
Turn'd him, all ear to hear new utterance flow: 410

Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;

That raised us from the dust and placed us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
From us no other service than to keep

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 power and rule Conferr'd upon us and dominion given

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 flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve replied: 0 thou for whom 440 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

So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed

450 Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where And what I was, whence thither brought and how. Not distant far froin thence a murmuring sound Of waters issued from a cave, and spread Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved

455 Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite

460 A shape within the watery gleam appear'd Bending to look on me: I started back; It started back: but pleased I soon return’d; Pleased it return'd as soon with answering looks Of sympathy and love; There I had fix'd

465 Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire Had not a voice thus warn'd me; “What thou seest, What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself; With thee it came and goes: but follow me And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470 Thy coming and thy soft embraces, he Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear Multitudes like thyself, and thence be callid Mother of human race.” What could I do, 475 But follow straight, invisibly thus led? Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, Under a platane; yet methought less fair, Less winning soft, less amiably mild,

Than that smooth watery image: back I turn'd;

480 Thou following criedst aloud,“Return, fair Eve; Whom fliest thou? Whom thou fliest, of him thou art, His flesh, his bone, to give thee being I lent Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, Substantial life, to have thee by my side

485 Henceforth an individual solace dear: Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim My other half.” With that thy gentle hand Seized mine: I yielded; and from that time see How beauty is excell'd by manly grace,

490 And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes Of conjugal attraction unreproved, And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd On our first father: half her swelling breast 495 Naked met his, under the flowing gold Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight, Both of her beauty and submissive charms, Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 500 That shed May flowers; and press’d her matron lip With kisses pure: Aside the Devil turn'd For envy: yet with jealous leer malign Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plain'd:

Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these two, Imparadised in one another's arms

506 The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill Of bliss on bliss: while I to Hell am thrust, Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, Among our other torments not the least,

510 Still unfulfillid with pain of longing pines. Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems; One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge callid, Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden! 515

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »