Page images

Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, 745 Though kept from man, and worthy to be admir’d, Whose taste, too long forborn, at first assay Gave elocution to the mute, and taught The tongue not made for speech to speak thy

praise : Thy praise he also who forbids thy use,

759 Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; Forbids us then to taste, but his forbidding Commends thee more, while it infers the good By thee communicated, and our want:

755 For good unknown, sure is not had, or had And yet unknown, is as not had at all. In plain then, what forbids he but to know, Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise? Such prohibitions bind not. But if death 760

Bind -- can envy dwell order to make the folly and impiety In beau'nly breasts?] Like that in of Eve appear less extravagant and Virgil, Æn. I. 11.



Tantæne animis cæleftibus iræ? 750. be also who forbids) As

if it had not been God who had for739. Mean while the bour of noon bidden; but God was not now in

drew on, and wak'd all her thoughts. She afterwards An eager appetite,] This is a cir- professes herself ignorant of him, cumstance beautifully added by our ver. 775. author to the Scripture account, in

777. Fair


Bind us with after-bands, what profits then

C Our inward freedom? In the day we eat

T Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die. How dies the Serpent? he hath eat'n and lives, And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, 765 Irrational till then. For us alone Was death invented ? or to us deny'd This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd?

TH For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy 770 The good befall’n him, author unsuspect, Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile. What fear I then, rather what know to fear Under this ignorance of good and evil, Of God or death, of law or penalty ?

775 Here

grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,

Of 777. Fair to the eye, inviting to «δ' ει σησαν εoν σπευδονες the taste,

ολεθρον. . Of virtue to make wise:) Gen. III. 6. The woman saw that the tree

They knew not haft’ning their death. was good for food, and that it was

Eating the fruit which brought death pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be

was eating death as being virtually defired to make one wise.

contain'd in it, Richardson 792. And knew not eating death:] 793. And bighter'd as with sine, 'Tis a Greek phrase, us’d often by

&c.] "That secret intoxicathe Latins too. Oppian Halieut. tion of pleasure, with all those tran. II. 106.

fient Auhings of guilt and joy, which


Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?
So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost. Back to the thicket flunk
The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve 785
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else
Regarded, such delight till then, as seem'd,
In fruit she never tasted, whether true
Or fancy'd so, through expectation high
Of knowledge, nor was God-head from her thought.
Greedily she ingorg’d without restraint,

791 And knew not eating death: Satiate at length, And highten'd as with wine, jocond and boon, , Thus to herself the pleasingly began.


the poet represents in our first parents fcribed with the greatest art and deupon their eating the forbidden fruit, cency the subordination and inferio. to those faggings of spirit, damps rity of the female character in strength of sorrow, and mutual accusations of reason and understanding ; so in which succeed it, are conceiv'd with this soliloquy of Eve's after tasting a wonderful imagination, and de- the forbidden fruit, one may observe scribed in very natural sentiments. the same judgment, in his varying

Addison. and adapting it to the condition of 794. Thus to herself &c.] As our her fall'n nature. Instead of those author had in the preceding confe- little defects in her intellectual faculrence betwixt our firkt parents de ties before the fall, which were suf



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
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?

825 This

may be well: but what if God have seen, And death ensue? then I shall be no more,


num rex

This is indeed a sense of the word ver. 65. not usual in poetry; but common tibi Divum pater atque homispeech will justify it so far, as to make the Doctor's emendation un

Et mulcere dedit fluctus et tollere necessary Pearcé.

vento. 818.—and give bim to partake &c.] ver 79. An ingenious person and great admirer of Milton says, that to give to

tu das epulis accumbere Divun. do a thing is in his opinion one of ver. 522. the most beautiful expressions in all O regina, novam cui condere Ju. the poetical language, as in Hom. Jliad. I. 18.

Juftitiaque dedit gentes frænare suΥμιν μεν θεοι δoιεν, ολυμπια

perbas. δωματεχοντες,

I wonder he did not farther take Εκπερσαι Πριαμοιο σολιν, ευδ' notice of the fame exprefion in his obilad' exea 1.

favorite Milton, in this place and in Virgil was so sensible of this

I. 736. charming expreslion, that he has used

and it in the three following passages, Each in his hierarchy, the orders and I believe in one or two others bright. in the very first Æneid,


and perhaps

piter urbem,

gave to rule,


[ocr errors]


And Adam wedded to another Eve,
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct
A death to think. Confirm’d then I resolve,

Adam Ihall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could indure, without him live no life.

So saying, from the tree her step she turnd, But first low reverence done, as to the Power That dwelt within, whose presence had infus’d

Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd i From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while



A thing not undefirable, sometime I could indure, without bim live no

Superior ; for inferior who is free?] life.] How much stronger There is a very humorous tale in and more pathetic is this than that Chaucer, which is also verfify'd by of Horace, Od. III. IX. 24. Dryden, wherein the question is pro- Tecum vivere amem, tecum obeam pos'd, what it is that women most affe&t and defire? Some say wealth,

libens ! fome beauty, fome flattery, some in short one thing, and some áno

835. But first low reverence done, ther; but the true answer is sovranty.

as to the Power And the thought of attaining the

That dwelt within,) Eve falling fuperiority over her husband is very forbidden tree, as the first fruit of

into idolatry upon the taste of the artfully made one of the first

, that disobedience, is finely imagin'd, Eve entertains after her eating of the forbidden fruit: but still her love

Richardson. of Adam and jealousy of another 838. Adam the while &c.] Eve prevail even over that; so just Andromache is thus described as is the observation of Solomon, Cant. amusing herself, and preparing for VIII. 6. Love is strong as death, the return of Hector, not knowing jealousy is cruel as the grave.

that he was already slain by Achilles. 832. So dear I love him, that with Hom. Iliad. XXII. 440. An'nn' him all dearbs

IS CV five. &c.

845.- divine


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »