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Heaven's last best gift, my ever new delight!
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
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 colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet."
Such whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake :
"() sole, in whom ny thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection! glad I see
Thy face and morn return'd; for I this night
(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 past, or morrow's next design,
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought
Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice; I thought it thine; it said,
Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now reigns:
Full-orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing light
Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard: heaven wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, nature's desire!
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not:
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge.
Much fairer to my fancy than by day;
And, as I wond'ring look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from heaven
By us oft seen: his dewy locks distill'd
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gaz'd:
And O fair plant,' said he,' with fruit surcharg'd, Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet?
Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge so despis'd?
Or envy', or what reserve, forbids to taste'?
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
Longer thy offer'd good; why else set here?'
This said he paus'd not, but with yent'rous arm
He pluck'd, he tasted; me damp horror chill'd
At such bold words, vouch'd with a deed so bold:
But he thus overjoy'd, O fruit divine,
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of men :
And why not gods of men, since good the more
Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair'd, but honour'd more?
Here happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be:
Taste this and be henceforth among the gods,
Thyself a goddess, not to earth confin'd
But sometimes in the air, as we; sometimes
Ascend to heaven, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live thou.'
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even 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 taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide
And various wond'ring at my flight, and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
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 answer'd sad.
"Best image of myself and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things,
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, airy shapes,
Which Reason, 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 misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams,
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late,
Some such resemblances methinks I find
Of our last evening's talk in this thy dream,
But with addition strange. Yet be not sad:
Evil into the mind of God or man
May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
No spot or blame behind; which gives me hope,
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise,
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers,
That open now their choicest bosom'd smells,
Reserv'd from night, and kept for thee in store."
So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was cheer'd;
But silently a gente tear let fall
From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair:
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.
So all was clear'd, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arb'rous roof,
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hov'ring o'er the ocean brim,
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 orisons, each morning duly paid
In various style; for neither various style
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flow'd from their lips, in prose or numerous verse;
More tunable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began :
"These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good!
Almighty thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then?
Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven:
On earth join all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun! of this great world both eye and sout,
Acknowledge him thy greater, sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when thou fall'st.
Moon! that now meet'st the orient sun, now fliest
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wand'ring fires! that move
In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness call'd up light.
Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform; and mix,
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds! that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops ye pines!
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains! and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all, ye living souls! ye birds,
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his praise!
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep!
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and, if the night
Have gather'd ought of evil, or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!"
So pray'd they, innocent: and to their thoughts
Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers; where any row
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 spous'd about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dower, th' 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 secur'd
His marriage with the seventimes-wedded maid.