Page images

Of Eden frive; nor that Nyfeian ifle

Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call, and Libyan Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid fon

Young Bacchus, from his ftep-dame Rhea's eye;
Nor where Abaffin kings their iffue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by fome fuppos'd
True Paradife under the Ethiop line



By Nilus head, inclos'd with fhining rock,

A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Affyrian garden; where the fiend
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind


Of living creatures, new to fight, and strange.
Two of far nobler fhape, erect and tall,
Godlike-erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty, feem'd lords of all,
And worthy feem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker fhone,
Truth, wifdom, fan&titude fevere and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd,)
Whence true authority in men: though both
Not equal, as their fex not equal seem'd :
For contemplation he, and valour form'd;
For foftnefs fhe, and fweet attractive grace;
He for God only, fhe for God in him:
His fair large front and eye fublime declar'd
Abfolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Cluft'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the flender wafte
Her unadorned golden treffes wore

Dishevel'd, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
As the vine curls her tendrils, which imply'd
Subjection, but requir'd with gentle fway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv'd,







Yielded with coy fubmiffion, modest pride,
And fweet reluctant amorous delay.

Nor thofe myfterious parts were then conceal'd;
Then was not guilty fhame, difhoneft thame

Of nature's works, honour difhonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With fhows inftead, mere shows of feeming pure,
And banish'd from man's life his happieft life,
Simplicity, and fpotlefs innocence!





So pafs'd they naked on, nor fhunn'd the fight
Of God or angel; for they thought no ill
So hand in hand they pafs'd, the lovelieft pair
That ever fince in love's embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men fince born
His fons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whifp'ring foft, by a fresh fountain fide
They fat them down; and after no more toil
-Of their sweet gard'ning labour than fuffic'd
To recommend cool zephyr, and made eafe
More eafy, wholefome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their fupper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, fide-long as they fat recline
On the foft downy bank damask'd with flowers:
The favoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, 335
Still as they thirsted, fcoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpofe, nor endearing fimiles.
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as befeems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frifking play'd
All beafts of th' earth, fince wild, and of all chafe
In wood or wilderness, foreft or den;

Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw

Dandled the kid; bears, tygers, ounces, pards,





Gambol'd before them; th' unwieldy elephant, 345 To make them mirth, us'd all his might, and wreath'd His lithe probofcis; clofe the ferpent fly Infinuating, wove with Gordian twine His braided train, and of his fatal guile Gave proof unheeded; others on the grafs Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat, Or bedward ruminating; for the fun Declin'd was hafting now with prone career To th' ocean-ifles, and in th' afcending scale Of heav'n the ftars that usher evening rofe: When Satan ftill in gaze, as first he stood, Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd fad. O hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold! Into our room of blifs thus high advanc'd Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 360 Not fpirits, yet to heav'nly spirits bright Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue With wonder, and could love, fo lively thines In them divine resemblance, and fuch grace


The hand that form'd them on their shape hath pour'd. Ah gentle pair, ye little think how nigh


Your change approaches, when all thefe delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe;

More woe, the more your taste is now of joy ;
Happy, but for fo happy ill fecur'd


Long to continue, and this high feat your heaven
Ill fenc'd for heaven to keep out such a foe
As now is enter'd; yet no purpos'd foe
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied. League with you I feek
And mutual amity fo ftrait, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or
Henceforth: my dwelling haply may not please,
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such


with me




Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me,
Which I as freely give; hell fhall unfold,
To entertain you two, her wideft gates,
And fend forth all her kings; there will be room,
Not like thefe narrow limits, to receive

Your numerous offspring; if no better place,
Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge


On you who wrong me not for him who wrong'd.
And fhould I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do, yet public reafon just,

Honour and empire with revenge enlarg'd,


By conqu'ring this new world, compels me now
To do what elfe, though damn'd, I should abhor.
So fpake the fiend, and with neceffity,
The tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds.
Then from his lofty (tand on that high tree
Down he alights among the fportful herd
Of thofe four-footed kinds, himfelf now one,
Now other, as their fhape ferv'd 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 ftalks with fiery glare;
Then as a tyger, who by chance hath spy'd
In fome purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
Strait couches close, then rifing changes oft
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence ruthing he might surest seize them both
Grip'd in each paw: when Adam, first of men,
To first of women Eve, thus moving speech,
Turn'd him, all ear to hear new utterance flow. 410
Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
Dearer thyfelf than all; needs muft the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good.


As liberal and free as infinite;


That rais'd us from the dust and plac'd us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand

Have nothing merited, nor can perform

Ought whereof he hath need; he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This one, this eafy charge, of all the trees
In Paradife that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to tafte that only tree

Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;


So near grows death to life, whate'er death is, 425
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'it
God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only fign of our obedience left,

Among fo many figns of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion given
Over all other creatures that poffefs

Earth, air, and fea. Then let us not think hard
One eafy prohibition, who enjoy

Free leave fo large to all things elfe, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:

But let us ever praise him, and extol



His bounty, following our delightful task, [flowers;
To prune thefe growing plants, and tend thefe
Which were it toilfome, yet with thee were fweet.

To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou for whom 449
And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide
And head, what thou haft faid is just and right.
For we to him indeed all praises owe,.
And daily thanks; 1 chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by fo much odds, while thou
Like confort to thyfelf can't no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from fleep
I first awak'd, and found myself repos'd

H 3


450 Under

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »