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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
Perfections : in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long 355
Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold,
Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed,
Yet with submiss approach and rev'rence meek,
As to' a superior nature, bowing low,

360
Thus said: Native of Heav'n, for other place
None can than Heav'n such glorious shape contain;
Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us 365
Two only, who yet by sov'reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bow'r
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the Sun more cool decline.

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.

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Have heap'd this table. Raised of grassy turt
Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
And on her ample square, from side to side,
All autumn piled, tho' spring and autumn here
Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began 396
Our author : Heav'nly stranger, please to taste
These bounties which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends,
To us for food, and for delight hath caused 400
The earth to yield; unsav'ry food perhaps
To spiritual natures : only this I know,
That one celestial Father gives to all.

To whom the Angel: Therefore, what he gives
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part 405
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
No' ingrateful food : and food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them ev'ry lower faculty

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,
As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss 438
Of Theologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate: what redounds, transpires
Through Spirits with ease: nor wonder, if by fire
Of sooty coal th' empyric alchemist

440
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
As from the mine. Mean while at table Eve
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown'd. O innocence 445
Deserving Paradise ! if ever, then,
Then had the sors of God excuse to have been
Enamour'd at thy sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous rüign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injured lover's Hell. 450

Thus, when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,
Not burden'd nature, sudden mind arose
In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass
Giv'n him by this great conference, to know
Of things above his world, and of their being 455
Who dwell in Heav'n, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms
Divine effulgence, whose high pow's so far
Exceeded human; and his wary speech
Thus to thempyreal minister he framed: 460

Iuhabitant with God, now know I well
Thy favour in this honour done to Man,
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafed
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,

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.

K

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.

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