Page images
PDF
EPUB

That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;
That rais'd us from the dust and plac'd us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Ought whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
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 it
God hath pronounc'd 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 given 430
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and fea. Then let us not think kard
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 tak
To prune these growing plants; and tend these Powers,
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve reply'd. Q thou for whom 44.0 And from whom I was form’d fleth of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide

I 2

And

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 4451
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Præeminent by so much odds, while thou
Like confort to thyself canst no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep .
I first awak'd, and found myself reposid 450
Under a shade on flow'rs, much wond'ring where
And what I was, whence thither brought and how.
Not distant far from thence a murm’ring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd
Pure as th' expanse of Heav'n; I thither went
With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me feem'd another sky.
*As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watry gleam appear'd,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleas'd I foon return'd;
Pleas'd it' return’d as soon with answ'ring looks
Of sympathy and love: there I had fix'd 461
Mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn’d me, What thou feeft,
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 49

Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy

Inseparabi

[ocr errors]

Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd
Mother of human race. What could I do, . 475
But follow strait, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platan; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watry image: back I turn'd; 480
Thou following cry'dft aloud, Return fair Eve, ,
Whom Ay'st thou ? whom thou Ay'st, of him thou art,
His felh, his bone; to give thee be’ing 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 clame
My other half. With that thy gentle hand
Seis'd 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 fpake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov’d,
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 submisive charms
Smild with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 500
That shed May flow'rs; and press’d her matron lip
With kisses pure: aside the Devil turn'd

For

hide the "s prepo'd he clouds

I 3

For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd.

Sight hateful, fight tormenting ! thus these two 505
Imparadis’d in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thruft,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pinês.
Yer let me not forget what I have gain'd
From their own mouths: all is not theirs it seems ;
One fatal tree there ftands of knowledge call'd,
Forbidden them to tafe: Knowledge forbidden? 595
Suspicious, reasonless, Why should their Lord
Envy them that? can it be fin to know?
Can it be death ? and do they only stand
By ignorance ? is that their happy ftate,
The proof of their obedience and their faith? 520
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin ! Hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt 525
Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such
They taste and die: what likelier can ensue ?
But first with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unfpy'd ;
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530
Some wand'ring Spi'rit of Heav'n by fountain fide,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw

What

[ocr errors]

What further would be learn'd. Live while you may;
Yet happy pair ; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed. 535

So saying, his proud step he fcornful turn'd,
But with fly circumspection, and began (roam.
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his
Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting fun 540
Slowly descended, and with right afpéct
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levell’d his evening rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, pild up to the clouds, ..
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 545
Acceslible from earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung -
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel fat,
Chief of th' angelic guards, awaiting night; 550
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th’ unarmed youth of Heav'n, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond Aaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 555
On a fun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapors fir'd
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of this compass to beware.
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste. 560

Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place

ooting fapors fir'd

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »