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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 smild,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
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?
Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, deprir'd
Thy presence ; agony of love till now
Nor felt, nor shall be twice; for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown
Opening the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste :
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 thenceforth
Endued with human voice and human sense,
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,
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;
Tedious, unshar'd with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
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.
On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amaz’d,
Astonied stood and blank, while horrour chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd;
From his slack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve
Down dropt, 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
Of all God's works, Creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form’d,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost ! how on a sudden lost,
Defac'd, deflower'd, and now to death devote!
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidd’n! Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die:
How can I live without thee! how forego
Thy sweet convérse, and love so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn!
Should God create another Eve, and I
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.
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.
Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventurous Eve,
And peril great provok’d, who thus hast dar'd,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past who can recall, or done undo?
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate ; yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
Profan’d first by the serpent, by him first
Made common, and unhallow'd, ere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives;
Lives, as thou said'st, and gains to live, as Man,
Higher degree of life; inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
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,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependant made; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose;
Not well conceived of God; who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
Us to abolish, lest the adversary
Triumph, and say; "Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; 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,
However I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom: If death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of Nature draw me to my own;
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, 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, One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof This day affords, declaring thee resolv'd, 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, If any be, of tasting this fair fruit; Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds, Direct, or by occasion,) hath presented 2 This happy trial of thy love, which else So eminently never had been known? Were it I thought death menac'd 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 assur'd Remarkably so late of thy so true, So faithful, love unequall’d: but I feel Far otherwise the event; not death, but life Augmented, open’d eyes, new hopes, new joys, Taste so divine, that what of sweet before