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Of a steep wilderness; whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access denied and overbead up-grew
Josuperable height of loftiest shade,

Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene! And, as the ranks ascend,
Shade above shade, a woody theatre

Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verduous wall of Paradise up-sprung;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Jato his nether empire, neighb'ring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms, and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appear'd with gay enamell'd colours mix'd;
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams,
Than in fair evening cloud or humid bow,
When God hath shower'd the earth: so lovely seem'd
That landscape! And of pure now purer air
Meets his approach; and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales,
Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours, from the spicy shore

Of Araby the bless'd, with such delay


Well pleas'd, they slack their course, and many a
Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles.
So entertain'd those odorous sweets the fiend,
Who came their bane; tho' with them better pleas'd
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume
That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
From Medea post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to th' ascent of that steep savage bill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick intwin'd,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth

Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd
All path of man or beast that pass'd that way.
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On th' other side: which when th' arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt,
At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill, or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet.

As when a prowling wolf,

Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their locks at eve,
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,

Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief, bent to unhoard the cash

Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
(The middle tree, and highest there that grew)
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regained, but sat devising death
To them who liv'd: nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd

For prospect, what well us'd had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows

Any, but God alone, to value right

The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him, with new wonder, now he views,
To all delight of human sense expos'd

In narrow room, nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heaven on earth! For blissful Paradise,
Of God the garden was, by him in th" east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden, long before
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd,
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow


All trees of noblest kind, for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold and next to life,

Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by;
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill;
Southward, through Eden went a river large,
Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden mould, high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which through veins
Of porous earth, with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome apssage now appears ;"
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account:
But rather to tell how, (if art could tell

flow) from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks
Rolling on orient pearls, and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade
Imbrown'd the noon-tide bowers. Thus was this place,
A happy rural seat of various view:

Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm;
Oibers whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind,
Hung amiable: Hesperian fables true,

If true, here only, and of delicious taste.
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interpos'd,
Or palmy billock, or the flowery lap

Of some irriguous valley spread her store;
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
Another side, umbrageous grots, and caves.

Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant: meanwhile murm'ring waters fall
Down the slope bills. dispers'd, or in a lake,
That to the fringed oank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirrors holds, unite their streams.
The birds their choir apply: airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan

Knit with the Graces, and the hours in dance,
Led on the eternal spring. Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis

Was gather'd; which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her thro' the world; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspir'd
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call, and Lybian Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son,

Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos'd
True Paradise, under the Ethiop line

By Nilus' head, enclos'd with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the fiend,
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight and strange.
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad,
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all,
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd)
Whence true authority in men; though botla
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;
For contemplation be and valour form'd,
For softness she and sweet attractive graces

He for God only, she for God in him.
His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
Absolute rule; hyacinthine locks

Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevell❜d, but in wanton ringlets wav'd,
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv'd,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet reluctant amorous delay.

Nor those mysterious part were then conceal'd;
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable!
Sin-bred how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banish'd from man's life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence !

So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
Of God or angel, for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam, the goodliest man of men since born
His sons; the fairest of her daughters, Eve.
Under a tuft of shade, that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side,
They sat them down: and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gard'ning-labour than suffie'd
To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damask'd with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,

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