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Of fruit-trees over-woody reach'd too far
Their pamper'd boughs; and needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces or they led the vine

To wed her elm: she, spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms; and with her brings
Her dower, the' adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him call'd
Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secured

His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid. "Raphael, (said he) thou hear'st what stir on earth

Satan, from hell'scaped through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise; and how disturb'd
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.

Go therefore, half this day, as friend with friend,
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labor with repast,

Or with repose: and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state;
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will; his will though free,
Yet mutable: whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, too secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss ;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies: this let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn'd."

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So spake the' Eternal Father, and fulfill'd
All justice: nor delay'd the winged Saint
After his charge received; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardors, where he stood
Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew through the midst of heaven. The' angelic

On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the' empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovran Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed, however small he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,

Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens

A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds; and through the vast etherial sky
Sails between worlds and worlds: with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird;
When, to enshrine his reliques in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on the' eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights; and to his proper shape returns
A seraph wing'd: six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine: the pair that clad

Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament: the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipp'd in heaven; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honor rise;
For on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odors, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets: for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies; pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat

Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm [needs:
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam
And Eve within, due at her hour, prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst

Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam call'd:

"Haste hither, Eve! and worth thy sight behold Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving; seems another morn Risen on mid-noon: some great behest from Heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe

This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And, what thy stores contain, bring forth; and pour
Abundance, fit to honor and receive

Our heavenly stranger: well may we afford
Our givers their own gifts; and large bestow
From large bestow'd, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows
More fruitful; which instructs us not to spare."
To whom thus Eve: " Adam, earth's hallow'd

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.
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juiciest 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 heaven.”
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
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
Alcinous reign'd; fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, 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

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 odors from the shrub unfumed.
Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet
His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied 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,
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 reverence meek,
As to' a superior nature bowing low,

Thus said: "Native of heaven! for other place
None can than heaven such glorious shape contain;
Since, by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd awhile
To want, and honor these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat

Be over, and the sun more cool decline."

Whom thus the' 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 heaven, To visit thee: lead on then where thy bower O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, I have at will."-So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled,

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