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'R if Sion hill or Siloa's brook,
Thou'st more delight upon,
I thence, O Muse, thy aid invoke
To my advent'rous song.
But, chiefly, Thou, that dost prefer
The pure and upright heart
Before of'rings of balm or myrrh
Or blood of kid or hart,
Instruct me; for thou didst exist
Ere earth's foundation 's laid,
Sat brooding o'er the vast abyss;
Old chaos pregnant made:
Raise and support what in me 's low,
Illume what in me 's dark,
Wisdom and strength to me bestow,
What else I need impart.
Sing first of the auspicious place,
The first abode of man;
Where first began the human race
On strange and wond'rous plan.
Twas by the peaceful waters side
Tigris th' Euphrates meet;
Four rivers broad in union glide,
Slow murm'ring to the deep.
This was the place that God assigned
For happy man to dwell,
And stored with fruit of ev'ry kind,
To fit his state full well:
And thus to him said Heav'n's high king, "Behold the fruits for thee;
All these, henceforth, the earth shall bring, Or plant or shrub or tree;
Behold the cassia, nard and balm,
A wilderness of sweets;
All for thy bliss and not thy harm;
Be these thy drinks and meats:
Nor heat nor cold hast thou t' fear,
Or tempest fierce or wild;
But all for thee is calm and clear,
A scene delightful mild:
All this thou hast at thy command,
These fruits ripe all the year,
All seasons, here, dance hand in hand
To soothe thy heart and cheer;
I, too, ordain thec lord of all
The creatures I have made;
Of all on earth both great and small,
Of all in field or shade,
Of all on earth that walk or creep,
Of all that sightless soar,
Or swim in ocean's briny deep,
Of all from shore to shore :
Eat, thou, of all my trees for food,
And thus thyself supply;
Except the one of evil and good,
Which if thou eat thou die;
Nor of the special tree of life,
Which close together stand;
Bear this in mind through all thy life
And keep my sole command."
All creatures, too, that e'er was known
In countries far or near,
In torid, temp'rate or frigid zone,
Were found together here:
Of beast and bird each had their mate,
And each their offspring bore,
Side by side the chat'rers prate,
And side by side they soar.
But Adam found for him no bride
To cheer his lonely mind,
So to the Lord he deeply sighed;
"No partner here I find."
So God all merciful and wise,
To man propitious seems,
In sweetest sleep closed Adam's eyes ;
No doubt he'd pleasant dreams:
Then from his side he took a bone
And closed the flesh up there;
With skill divine, elsewhere unknown,
He made a woman fair.
He spoke the potent word, and Lo!
Forthwith came pretty Eve,
Her cheeks with crimson began to glow,
And vital air to breathe:
While thus she lay upon the ground,
Her first existing place,
She turned her wand'ring eyes around
And view'd the ample space;
And first she saw the lofty skies,
The ample ether clear,
On which she fixed her steadfast eyes,
Wond'ring, how came I here!
Until the birds of paradise
Began their blithsome lay,
Welcome Eve, none made, welcome thrice;
They all appear'd to say.
Thus tuned the birds each one his not
Eve saw their plumage gay,
And thus to them she softly spoke,
"What am I? tell I pray."
Then starting her own voice to hear,
Still more surpris'd to start;
As one who sees a viper near,
She sprang with palping heart.
Now when upon her feet she rose
She pensive stood and gaz'd,
And view'd the nectar, pink and rose
And then the beasts that graz'd:
She gaz'd on tree, on fruit, and flower,
And, "O fair plants," said she,
"Whate'er thy taste, if sweet or sour,
I'll give thy names to thee."
Then walking on in pathless way
As one bewildered quite,
And knew not where her steps to stay
Or how to guide them right;
But as she gazed on clust'ring fruit
That seem'd thus to invite,
She after some went in pursuit
Tappcase her appetite.
Meanwhile Adam from sleep awoke
And knew what had been done,
For God to him in dream had spoke
And told him of this bone;
Who soon his dream all real found,
Waking, as in his sleep.
For straitway from the flow'ry mound, Where rested then his feet,
He saw, near by, through myrtle grove,
The hyssop balm or reed, A form much fairer than the rose, 'T was Eve herself indeed: So walking on in silken path, "Hail thou my bride," said he, "My other self and dearer half, Bone of my bone thou be." "Hail thou my lord," thus Eve replied; With accents sweet and clear; Her mien with modesty suppliedHer voice engaging dear. Thus hand in hand imparadis'd
They spent each day in mirth,
Evil, pain, death or warring strife
As yet unknown on earth.
O happy man, thrice happy thou,
Long might'st thou thus remain'd
If thou'dst obedient been, till now
Thy happy state retained.
Although thy days, as we've account,
Less than a thousand ran,
"Tis from thy fall, I ween they count,
When reck'ning first began;
For how could man, while yet upright,
Nor good, nor evil knew,
Know length of time, but day and night
Nor that he older grew:
Why should he count by years that life
Which knew no fear of end:
However old, e're gay and blithe;
Old age no furrows bring.
Then perchance he lived upright
Through years innumerable;