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This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
To whom thus Eve: Adam, earth, hallowed mold,
So saying, with dispatchful looks, in haste
With rose and odors from the shrub unfumed.
Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet His godlike guest, walks forth without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections. In himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long Of horses led, and grooms besmeared with gold, Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said: Native of Heaven, for other place None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain; Since by descending from the thrones above, Those happy places thou hast deigned a while To want, and honor these; vouchsafe with us Two only, who yet by sovereign gift possess This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower To rest, and what the garden choicest bears To sit and taste, till this meridian heat Be over, and the sun more cool decline.
Whom thus the Angelic Virtue answered mild: Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell, As may not oft invite, though spirits of Heaven, To visit thee. Lead on then where thy bower O'ershades: for these mid hours, till evening rise, I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbor smiled, With flowrets decked, and fragrant smells. But Eve, Undecked save with herself, more lovely fair Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigned Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove, Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no 'veil She needed, virtue proof; no thought infirm
Altered her cheek. On whom the Angel “Hail!”
Hail, mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb
Raised of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square from side to side, All autumn piled, though spring and autumn here Danced hand in hand. A while discourse they hold, No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began Our author: Heavenly stranger, please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasured out, descends, To us for food and for delight hath caused The Earth to yield; unsavory food perhaps To spiritual natures; only this I know, That one celestial Father gives to all.
To whom the Angel: Therefore what He gives – Whose praise be ever sung
- to man in part Spiritual, may of purest spirits be found No ungrateful food: and food alike those
pure Intelligential substances require, As doth your rational; and both contain Within them every lower faculty Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, Tasting, concoct, digest, assimilate, And corporeal to incorporeal turn For know, whatever was created needs To be sustained and fed: of elements The grosser feeds the purer, earth to sea, Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires Ethereal, and as lowest, first the moon; Whence in her visage round those spots, Vapors not yet into her substance turned.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
Thus when with meats and drinks they had sufficed,