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Abundance, fit to honour and receive
313 Our heav'nly stranger : well we may afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where Nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburd’ning grows More fruitful; which instructs us not to spare. 320
To whom thus Eve: Adam, earth's hallow'd mould, Of God inspired, small store will serve, where store, All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk, Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: 325 But I will haste, and from each bow and brake, Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such choice To entertain our Angel guest, as he Beholding shall confess, that here on Earth God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heav'n. 330
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contrived as not to mix Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring 335 Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change ; Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields in India East or West, or middle shore In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where
340 Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough or smooth rined, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large, and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink, the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths 345 From many a berry, and from sweet kernels press'd She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure, then strews the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfamed.
Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet 350 His god-like guest, walks forth, without more train
333. Choice to choose : an alliteration not uncommon to Milton or the classics.
340. In Pontus, part of Asia; the Punic coast, Africa; tha kirgdom of Alcinous, Phoacia, an island in the lonian Sea, near Corfu.
345. Meaths, sweet drinks.
Accompany'd than with his own complete
370 Whom thus th'angelic virtue answer'd mild : Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell, As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heav'n, To visit thee. Lead on then where thy bow'r 375 O’ershades; for these mid hours, till ev'nirig rise, I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbour smiled With flow'rets deck'd and fragrant smells; but Eve Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair 380 Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feign'd Of three that in mount Ida naked strove, Stood to entertain her guest from Heav'n. No veil She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm Alter'd her cheek, On whom the Angel, Hail 385 Bestow'd; the holy salutation used Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.
Hail Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more num'rous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God 390
352. With should be expunged according to Bentley, as it is superfluous.
3?8. Pomona, the goddess of fruit-trees. 382. In allusion to the judgment of Paris between Venus, Juno, and Minerva.
387. Luke i. 2. 8.
Have heap'd this table. Raised of grassy turt
To whom the Angel: Therefore, what he gives
410 Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate, And corporeal to incorporeal turn. For know, whatever was created, needs To be sustain'd and fed: of elements
415 The grosser feeds the purer; earth the sea, Earth and the sea feed air; the air those fires Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon; Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurged Vapours not yet into her substance turn'd. 420 Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale From her moist continent to higher orbs. The Sun, that light imparts to all, receives From all his alimental recompense In humid exhalations, and at even
425 Sups with the ocean. Though in Heav'n the trees of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground Cover'd with pearly grain, yet God hath here 430
421. A Latinism. 426. See Ps. cv. 40. Exodus xvi. 14. Matt. xxiv. 29. and Ron
Vary'd his bounty so with new delights,
Thus, when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
Iuhabitant with God, now know I well
468 As that more willingly thou couldst not seem
133. It was the opinion of most theologians that the angels did pot eat, their opinion bein: founded on some metaphysical notions, and on a passage in Tobit iii. 19. But Milton 'seems to be justified by the canonical Scripture. See Gen. xviii. and xix.
438 l'his is a fine distinction between the processes of diges tion in men and angels.
440. Empyric, making many experiments. 445. To crown the cup, is a classical expression.
447. Gen. vi. 2.
At Heav'n's high feasts to' have fed: yet what com
To whom the winged Hierarch reply'd : (paret O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, 470 If not depraved from good, created all Such to perfection, oue first matter all, Endued with various forms, various degrees Of substance, and in things that life, of life: But more refined, more spirituons, and pure, 475 As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending Each in their sev'ral active spheres assign'd, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportion'd to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves More aery, last the bright consummate flow'r 481 Spirits odorous breathes: flow'rs and their fruit, Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, To vital spirits aspire, to animal, To intellectual: give both life and sense,
485 Fancy and understanding; whence the soul Reason receives, and reason is her being Discursive or intuitive: discourse Is oftest yours; the latter most is ours, Diff'ring but in degree ; of kind the same. 490 Wonder not then, what God for you saw good, If I refuse not, but convert, as you, To proper substance: time may come, when Men With Angels may participate, and find No inconvenient diet, nor too light fare ; 495 And from these corp'ral nutriments, perhaps Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit, Improved by tract of time, and wing'd ascend Ethereal, as we, or may at choice Here or in heav'nly Paradises dwell;
500 If ye be found obedient, and retain Unalterably firm his love entire, Whose progeny you are.
Mean while enjoy Your fill what happiness this happy state
478. The reader may very profitably consult a volume of ser. mons lately published by Dr. A. Clarke, in which he will find some excellent observations on Milton's materialism. I am inclined, however, to believe that the poet meant to convey no other idea than that derived from 1 Cor. xv. 44.
503. Acts xvii. 28.