Page images
PDF
EPUB

". Or envy, or what reserve, forbids to taste ?
“Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold

Longer thy offer'd good; why else set here?
“ This said, he paus'd not, but with venturous arm
63 “ He pluck'—he tasted: me damp horror chill'd

At such bold words, vouch'd with a deed so bold :
“ But he thus, overjoy’d: O fruit divine !
“Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt!

« • Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
70 “. For gods, yet able to make gods of men :

“And why not gods of men ? since good, the more
" Communicated, more abundant grows;
« « The author not impair’d, but honoured more.

“Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve!
75 “Partake thou also: happy though thou art,

“Happier thou mayst be, worthier canst not be :
“ • Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods

Thyself a goddess ;—not to earth confin'd,
« « But sometimes in the air, as we;—sometimes
80 « Ascend to heaven by merit thine, and see

What life the gods live there, and such live thou !'
“So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held-
“Ev'n to my mouth—of that same fruit held part

“ Which he had pluck’d: the pleasant savoury smell 85 “So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought,

“ Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
“ With him I flew, and underneath beheld
“ The earth outstretch'd immense—a prospect wide,

“ And various; wond'ring at my flight, and change 90 To this high exaltation ; suddenly

My guide was gone ; and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep: but o, how glad I wak'd, “ To find this but a dream !” Thus Eve her night

Related, and thus Adam answer'd sad:
95 “Best image of myself, and dearer half !

“ The trouble of thy thoughts, this night in sleep,
“ Affects me equally; nor can I like
“ This uncouth dream,--of evil sprung, I fear.

[ocr errors]

66 Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none, 100 “ Created pure. But know, that in the soul

“Are many lesser faculties, that serve
“ Reason as chief: among these, Fancy next
“ Her office holds; of all external things

" Which the five watchful senses represent, 105 “She forms imaginations, aery shapes,

“ Which Reason joining, or disjoining, frames
“ All what we affirm, or what deny, and call
“Our knowledge, or opinion ; then retires

“ Into her private cell, when nature rests. 110 “Oft, in her absence, mimic Fancy wakes

“ To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
“ Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams ;

Ill-matching words and deeds, long past or late.

“Some such resemblances, methinks, I find 115 “ Of our last ev'ning's talk, in this thy dream,

“ But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
« Evil into the mind of God, or man,
“May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave

“ No spot or blame behind : which gives me hope 120 “ That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,

Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
“ Be not dishearten'd then; nor cloud those looks,
“ That wont to be more cheerful and serene,

“ Than when fair morning first smiles on the world : 125 “And let us to our fresh employments rise,

“ Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, “ That open now their choicest bosom'd smells, Reserv'd from night, and kept for thee in store."

So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was cheer'd; 130 But silently a gentle tear let fall

From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair ;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell,

Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse, 135 And pious awe that fear'd to have offended.

So all was clear’d, and to the field they haste :

But first, from under shady arborous roof,
Soon as they forth were come to open sight

Of day-spring, and the sun, who, scarce up-ris'n, 140 With wheels yet hovering o'er the ccean-brim,

Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discov'ring in wide landscape all the east
Of Paradise, and Eden's happy plains,

Lowly they bow'd, adoring; and began 145 Their orisons, each morning duly paid

In various style: for neither various style,
Nor holy rapture, wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd, or sung,

Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
150 Flow'd from their lips, in prose, or numerous verse ;

More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness: and they thus began.

“These are thy glorious works, Parent of good!

Almighty! Thine this universal frame, 155 Thus wondrous fair ;—Thyself how wondrous then!

“Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens,
“ To us invisible, or dimly seen
“In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.

Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
“ Angels! for ye behold him, and with songs,
“And choral symphonies, day without night,
“ Circle his throne, rejoicing—ye in heaven:

On earth, join all ye creatures to extol
165 “ Him first, him last, him midst, and without end !

“Fairest of stars! last in the train of night, “ If better thou belong not to the dawn,“Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn

“With thy bright circlet,-praise him in thy sphere, 170 “ While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.

Thou sun! of this great world both eye and soul, Acknowledge him thy greater ; sound his praise “In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st, And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.

160

180

175 “Moon! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st

“ With the fix'd stars,-fix'd in their orb that flies;
“And ye five other wand'ring fires ! that move
“In mystic dance, not without song, resound
“ His praise who out of darkness call’d up light.

“ Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
“ Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run

Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
“And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change

“ Vary to our great Maker still new praise. 185 " Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise

“ From hill, or steaming lake, dusky, or gray,
“ Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
“ In honour to the world's great Author, rise ;

“ Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky, 190 “Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,

Rising, or falling, still advance his praise.

“ His praise, ye winds ! that from four quarters blow, “ Breathe soft, or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines !

“ With every plant, in sign of worship, wave. 195 “ Fountains ! and ye that warble, as ye flow,

“Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.

“ Join voices, all ye living souls! ye birds,
“ That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
“ Bear on your wings, and in your notes, his praise.

“ Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
“ The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep;
“ Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
“ To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,

“ Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise. 205 “Hail, Universal Lord! be bounteous still

“ To give us only good: and, if the night
“ Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceald,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!"

So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts 210 Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm.

On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers, where any row

200

Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reach'd too far

Their pamper'd boughs, and needed hands to check 215 Fruitless embraces : or they led the vine

To wed her elm; she, spous'd, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dower—the adopted clusters, to adorn

His barren leaves. Them, thus employ'd, beheld 220 With pity heaven's high King, and to him callid

Raphael, the sociable spirit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secur'd
His marriage with the sev'n-times-wedded maid.

Raphael,” said he, “ thou hear'st what stir on earth 225 “Satan, from hell 'scaped through the darksome gulf,

“Hath rais'd in Paradise ; and how disturbid
“This night the human pair; how he designs
“ In them at once to ruin all mankind.

“Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend 230 “ Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade

“ Thou find'st him, from the heat of noon retir'd
“ To respite his day-labour with repast,
“Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,

As may advise him of his happy state235 “ Happiness in his power left free to will,

“Left to his own free will—his will, though free,
“ Yet mutable : whence warn him to beware
“ He swerve not, too secure. Tell him withal
“His danger, and from whom ; what enemy,
“Late fall’n himself from heaven, is plotting now
“ The fall of others from like state of bliss :

By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
“ But by deceit and lies: this let him know,

Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend 245 “Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn'd."

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfill'd
All justice: nor delay'd the winged saint
After his charge receiv'd; but from among

Thousand celestial ardours, where he stood
250 Veild with his gorgeous wings, up-springing light

240

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »