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- Of God the garden was, by him in th'east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line 210
From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd; 215
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blouming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold ; and next to life,

220
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but thro' the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown 225
That mountain as his garden mould high raised
Upon the rapid current, which thro' veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden : thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account; 235
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed

240 Flow'rs, worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain, Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote The open field, and where the unpierced shade 245

230

209. Gen. fi. 8. Seleucia, a city on the river Tigris, built by one of Alexander's successors.-Telassar was a country on the borders of Assyria.-See lsa. xxxvii. 12.

233. Gen. ii. 10. 238. So Pactolus, Hermus, &c. are said to have rolled over gold 11 genis.

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Imbrown'd the noontide bow'rs. Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept od'rous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,

250
If true, here only', and of delicious taste :
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock; or the flow'ry lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 255
Flow'rs of all hue, and without thorn the rose :
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriavt: mean while murm'ring waters fall 260
Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
The birds their choir apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 265
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on th' eternal spring. Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gath'ring flow'rs,
Herself a fairer flow'r by gloomy Dis

270 Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain To seek her through the world, nor that sweet grove Of Daphne by Orontes, and th' inspired Castalian spring, might with this Paradise Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle

275 Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham, Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove, Hid Amalthea and her florid son Young Bacchus from his step-dame Rhea's eye ; Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 280 Mount Amara, though this by some supposed

246. Imbrown'd, from the Italian. 256. Bentley objects to this passage as puerile, but in his usual spirit of hypercriticism.

266. Pan was a symbol of nature among the ancients. The graces of mythological allusion were never more beautifully employed than in the whole of this passage.

281. Mount Amara was where the Abyssinian kings kept their children guarded. It was inclosed with alabaster rocks, which it Inok a day to ascend.

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True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus’ liead, inclosed with shining rock,
A whole day's journey bigh, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 286
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange.
Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
GO erect, with native honour cla
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all,

290
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe but in true filial freedom placed),
Whence true authority in men; though both 295
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd:
For contemplation he and valour form'd;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him:
His fair large front and eye sublime, declared 300
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad :
She, as a veil down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore

305 Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils ; which imply'd Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received; Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, 310 And sweet reluctant amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal'd, Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 315 With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banish'd from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence ! So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill. 320 So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met ;

299, Dr. Bentley dax proposed with propriety, the reading af and instead of in in this line.

Adnm the goodliest man of men since born
His sons: the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green

325
Steed whisp'ring soft, by a fresh fountain side
Thoy sat them down ; and after no more toil
Of their sweet gard’ning labour than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 330
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damask'd with flow'rs.
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind 335
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems
Fair couple link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd 340
All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den :
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid ; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambol'd before them : th' unwieldly elephant, 3-15
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreath'd
His lithe proboscis ; close the serpent sly
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass 350
Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture, gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating ; for the Sun,
Declined, was lasting now with prone career
To th' ocean isles, and in th' ascending scale
Of Heav'n the stars that usher ev'ning rose :

355 When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood, Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad :

O Hell ! what do mine eyes with grief behold I Into our room of bliss thus high advanced Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 360 Not Spirits, yet to heav'nly Spirits bright Little inferior; whom my thougbts pursue With wonder, and could love, so lively shines In them divine resemblance, and such grace

362. Ps. viii. 5. Heb. 11. 7.

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The Hand that form'd them on their shape bath pour'd.

365 Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh Your change approaches, when all these deligh* Will vanish and deliver ye to woe, More woe, the more your taste is now of joy: Happy, but for so happy ill secured

370 Long to continue, and this high seat your Heav'n Jll fenced for Heav'n to keep out such a foe As now is enter'd ; yet no purposed foe To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn Though I unpitied : League with you I seek, 375 And mutual amity so strait, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me Henceforth. My dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense ; yet such Accept your Maker's work ; he gave it me, • 380 Which I as freely give : Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your num'rous offspring ; if no better place, 385 Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge On you who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet public reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlargea,

390 By conqu’ring this new world, compels me now To do what else, though damn'd, I should abhor

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excused his dev’lish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 396 Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape served best his end Nearer to view his prey, and unespy'd To mark what of their state he more might learn 400 By word or action mark'd; about them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare; Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then rising changes oft 405 His couchant watch, as one who chose Lis ground

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