Page images



OW Morn, her rofy steps in th' eastern clime Advancing, fow'd the earth with orient pearl, When Adam wak'd: fo cuftom'd; for his fleep Was aery-light, from pure digeftion bred, And temperate vapors bland, which th' only found Of leaves, and fuming rills, (Aurora's fan) Lightly difpers'd, and the fhrill matin fong Of birds on every bough. So much the more His wonder was, to find unwaken'd Eve With treffes difcompos'd, and glowing cheek, As through unquiet reft: he, on his fide Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamor'd; and beheld Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces: then, with voice Mild as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, Her hand foft-touching, whisper'd thus: Awake My faireft, my efpous'd, my latest found, Heav'n's laft beft gift, my ever-new delight! Awake: the morning shines, and the fresh field 20 Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove, What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, How nature paints her colors, how the bee Sits on the bloom extracting liquid fweet.



25 Such whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startled eye On Adam; whom embracing, thus she spake.

O fole! in whom my thoughts find all repofe, My glory, my perfection! glad I fee

Thy face, and morn return'd; for I this night, 30
(Such night till this I never pass'd,) have dream'd,
(If dream'd) not, as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day pafs'd, or morrow's next defign:
But, of offenfe, and trouble; which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought 35
Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice; I thought it thine: it faid,
Why fleep'ft thou Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the filent, fave where filence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes fweeteft his love-labor'd fong; now reigns
Full-orb'd the moon, and with more pleafant light
Shadowy fets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard: heav'n wakes with all his eyes;
Whom to behold but Thee, nature's defire ?
In whofe fight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty ftill to gaze.


I rofe, as at thy call; but found thee not:
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd, thro' ways 50
That brought me on a sudden to the Tree
Of interdicted Knowledge: fair it feem'd,
Much fairer, to my fancy, than by day:
And as I wond'ring look'd, befide it stood
One fhap'd, and wing'd, like one of those fromHeav'n,
By us oft feen: his dewy locks diftill'd
Ambrofia; on that tree he also gaz'd:
And, O fair plant, fald he, with fruit furcharg'd!
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy fweet?


[ocr errors]

Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge fo defpis'd? 60
Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
Forbid who will, none fhall from me with-hold
Longer thy offer'd good: why elfe fet here?
This said, he paus'd not, but with vent'rous arm
He pluck'd, he tasted: me damp horror chill'd 65
At fuch bold words, vouch'd with a deed fo bold.
But he thus, overjoy'd: O fruit divine!

Sweet of thy felf, but much more fweet thus crop'd!
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit


For Gods, yet able to make Gods of men:
And why not Gods of men, fince good the more
Communicated, more abundant grows,

The author not impair'd, but honor'd more?
Here, happy creature, fair Angelic Eve!
Partake thou also: happy though thou art, 75
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be:
Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods
Thy felf a Goddess; not to earth confin'd,
But fometimes in the air, as we; fometimes
Afcend to heav'n, by merit thine, and fee 80
What life the Gods live there, and fuch live Thou.
So faying, he drew nigh, and to me held,


Ev'n to my mouth, of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd: the pleasant savoury smell
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but tafte! Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretch'd immenfe, a profpect wide,
And various: wond'ring at my flight, and thrange

To this high exaltation; fuddenly


My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep: but O, how glad I wak'd
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam anfwer'd fad.

Beft image of my felf, and dearer half!
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in fleep
Affects me equally: nor can I like

This uncooth dream, of evil sprung, I fear.
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure. But know, that in the foul
Are many leffer faculties, that serve
Reason as chief: among these Fancy next
Her office holds: of all external things,
Which the five watchful fenfes represent,
She forms imaginations, aery fhapes,
Which Reafon joining, or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm, or what deny, and call
Our knowledge, or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, mis-joining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words, and deeds, long past, or late.
Some fuch refemblances methinks I find





May come, and go, fo un-approv'd, and leave
No fpot or blame behind; which gives me hope

Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream; 115
But with addition ftrange! yet, be not fad:
Evil into the mind of God, or man,

[ocr errors]

That what in fleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dif-hearten'd then, nor cloud thofe looks,
That wont to be more chearful, and ferene,

Than when fair morning first fmiles on the world:
And let us to our fresh employments rife, 125
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flow'rs,
That open now their choiceft bofom'd smells,
Referv'd from night, and kept for thee in ftore.

So chear'd he his fair spouse, and she was chear'd; But filently a gentle tear let fall 130 From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair: Two other precious drops that ready stood,


Each in their cryftal fluice, he e'er they fell
Kifs'd, as the gracious figns of sweet remorse,
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended. 135
So all was clear'd, and to the field they haste:
But first, from under fhady arborous roof,
Soon as they forth were come to open fight
Of day-spring, and the fun, (who scarce up-ris'n,
With wheels yet hov'ring o'er the ocean-brim, 140
Shot parallel to th' earth his dewy ray,
Discov'ring in wide landscape all the east
Of Paradise, and Eden's happy plains.) '
Lowly they bow'd, adoring, and began
Their orifons, each morning duly paid
In various ftyle; for neither various style,
Nor holy rapture, wanted they, to praise
Their Maker, in fit ftrains pronounc'd, or fung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence



« PreviousContinue »