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Into a beast, and, mixed with bestial slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the highth of deity aspired!
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? Who aspires must down as low
As high he soared, obnoxious, first or last, 170
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils.

Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heaven, this Man of Clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.'

So saying, through each thicket, dank or dry,
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on 180
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The Serpent. Him fast sleeping soon he found,
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles :
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb,
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth
The Devil entered, and his brutal sense,
In heart or head, possessing soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep


Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of


Now, whenas sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
Their morning incense, when all things that



From the Earth's great altar send
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill

silent praise


enters the serpent

Eve With grateful smell, forth came the hunian pair, proposes And joined their vocal worship to the quire to work of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake apart The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs; 200 Then commune how that day they best may ply Their growing work-for much their work out


The hands' dispatch of two gardening so wide:
And Eve first to her husband thus began :-

'Adam, well may we labour still to dress
This Garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint: what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, 210
One night or two with wanton growth derides,
Tending to wild. Thou, therefore, now advise,
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present.
Let us divide our labours-thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to


The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I
In yonder spring of roses intermixed
With myrtle find what to redress till noon.
For, while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or objects new
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun
Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned!'


To whom mild answer Adam thus returned :'Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond Compare above all living creatures dear!

Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts Adam

How we might best fulfil the work which here 230
God hath assigned us, nor of me shalt pass
Unpraised; for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow
To brute denied, and are of love the food- 240
Love, not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
He made us, and delight to reason joined.
These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint


Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us. But, if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield;
For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befall thee, severed from me; for thou know'st
What hath been warned us- -what malicious foe,
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault, and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantage, us asunder,
Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need.


fears the foe may




Eve is Whether his first design be to withdraw hurt that Our fealty from God, or to disturb her firm. Conjugal love-than which perhaps no bliss doubted Enjoyed by us excites his envy more

ness is

Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side

That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects.


The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.'
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus replied:-
'Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all
Earth's lord!

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That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn,
And from the parting Angel overheard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then returned at shut of evening flowers.
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.


His fraud is, then, thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced :
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in
thy breast,

Adam! misthought of her to thee so dear?'
To whom, with healing words, Adam re-


'Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art, from sin and blame entir
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade

Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.

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For he who tempts, though in vain, at least


The tempted with dishonour foul, supposed
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

Against temptation. Thou thyself with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong, 300
Though ineffectual found; misdeem not, then,
If such affront I labour to avert

From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or, daring, first on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn-
Subtle he needs must be who could seduce
Angels-nor think superfluous others' aid.
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue-in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need



Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking


Shame to be overcome or overreached,

Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?'
So spake domestic Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less áttributed to her faith sincere,

Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed


Not doubt, but to prevent the


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