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Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
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 pow'r and rule Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
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 flow'rs; Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve reply'd: 0 thou for wbom 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
443 So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
421. Gen. ii. 16. also Gen. 1. 28.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
460 A shape within the wat’ry 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 answ'ring 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 hin shalt bear Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd Mother of Human Race. What could I do 475 But follow straight, 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 wat’ry image. Back I turn'd: 480 Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return, fair Eve; Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'st, 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 451. Milton's first edition read thus; the second, Under a shade of Aow'rs, but they reposed not under, but on flowers
483. Gen ii, 23.
Seized mine; I yielded, and from that time see
490 And wisdcm, which aione is truly fair.
So spake our gen'ral mother, and with eyes Of conjugal attraction unreproved, And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd On our first father; half her swelling breast 196 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 flow'rs; 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 por love, but fierce desire, Among our other torments not the least,
510 Still unfulfill'd 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 call’d, Forbidden them to taste : Knowledge forbidden ? 515 Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be sin to know? Can it be death ? And do they only stand By ignorance? Is that their happy state, The proof of their obedience and heir 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 Cods : aspiring to be such, They taste and die. What likelier can ensue? But first with narrow search I must walk round 499. Jupiter is here figurative of the Heaven, and Juno of the air 30j, Imparadisea this word had been used before, big
Sir Pbilip Sidney in the Arcadia.
This garden, and no corner leave unspy'd:
So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath giv'n
565 More of th' Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, 549. For mention of Gabriel, see Daniel vii. and ix. also Luke 1.
his name signifies the man or the power of God. 555. Through th' even, or that part of the heavens now becoming dark with the approaching evening.
561. This is in allusion to the courses of the priests in the tem ple service : see i Chron, xxiv. and Luke i. 8, 9.
God's latest image: I described his way
To whom the winged warrior thus return'd:
585 But if within the circuit of these walks, In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom Thou tell’st, by morrow dawning I shall know,
So promised he ; and Uriel to his charge 589 Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now raised, Bore him slope downward to the Sun, now fall’n Beneath th' Azores; whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd Diurnal, or this less volúble earth, By shorter flight to th'east, had left him there 595 Arraying with reflected purple' and gold The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still ev'ning on, and twilight grey Had in her sober liv'ry all things clad ; Silence accompanied : for beast and bird, 600 They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
567. The first image of God was Christ; the second, Angels; the last, Man -Described, that is, observed attentively.
592. The Azores are islands in the Atlantic, off the coast of Portugal. The word is to be pronouncerl as three syllables.
594. Voluble, with the u pronounced long, 596. This is the first evening in the time of the poem, and it furnishes Milton with an opportunity of putting forth the splendour of his descriptive genius in one of its most magnificent efforts. One of the commentators on this passage absurdly remarks that it was the poet's weak eyes made him love to mention the evening twinght.