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Collecting all his might, dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas, unremoved.
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Sat Horror plumed: nor wanted in his grasp
What seem'd both spear and shield. Now dreadful
Might have ensued; nor only Paradise [deeds
In this commotion, but the starry cope .
Of heaven perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn
With violence of this conflict; had not soon
The' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in heaven his golden scales, (yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,)
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round earth with balanced air
In counterpoise; now ponders all events,
Battles and realms: in these he put two weights,
The sequel each of parting and of fight:
The latter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam :
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend.
Satan! I know thy strength, and thou know'st
Neither our own, but given: what folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no more
Than Heaven permits, nor mine; though doubled
To trample thee as mire: for proof look up, [now
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light,
If thou resist." The Fiend look'd up, and knew His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled Murmuring; and with him fled the shades of night.
Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream he likes it not, yet comforts her: they come forth to their day-labors: their morning-hymn at the door of their bower. God, to render man inexcusable, sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand; who he is, and why his enemy; and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise: his appearance described his coming discerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower: he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve: their discourse at table. Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there-incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph; who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him.
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the' eastern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl:
When Adam waked, so custom'd; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland; which the' only
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan, [sound
Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin-song
Of birds on every bough: so much the more
His wonder was, to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he, on his side
Leaning half raised with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'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 soft touching, whisper'd thus: "Awake,
My fairest! my espoused! my latest found!
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 tender 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 sweet."
Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam; whom embracing, thus she spake :
"O sole in whom my 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-labor'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: fair it seem'd,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering look'd, beside it stood
One shaped and wing'd like one of those from
By us oft seen: his dewy locks distill'd
Ambrosia on that tree he also gazed;
And O fair plant, (said he) with fruit surcharged,
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet;
Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge so despised?
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 paused not, but with venturous 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 cropp'd,
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 honor'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 confined,
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 savory 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. Wondering 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 waked
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, aery 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,