« PreviousContinue »
When Adam wak'd, so custom'd, for his sleep
Was aery light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which th' only sound
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough: so much the more
His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos'd and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he, on his side
Leaning half-rais'd, 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,
5 only] For alone.' Spens. F. Q. v. xi. 30.
'As if the only sound thereof she fear'd.'
6 fuming] v. Lucretii. lib. vi. Virg. Geo. ii. 217.
6 fan] Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 116.
'Calls forth the winds. Oh Heaven's fresh fans, quoth he:' and p. 161;
' now began Aurora's usher with his windy fan
Gently to shake the woods on every side.'
7 matin] Virg. Æn. viii. 456.
'Et matutini volucrum sub culmine cantus.'
'Rise up, my wif, my love, my lady free,
The turtle's vois is heard, myn owen swete!
The winter is gon, with all his raines wete!
Come forth now,' &c.
17 Awake] See Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, ver. 10012. (Marchant's Tale.)
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 whispering wak'd 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 pass'd, or morrow's next design, But of offence 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 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,
44 wakes] G. Fletcher's Christ's Victorie, p. 1. st. 78. 'Heaven awakened all his eyes.' Todd.
23 balmy reed] svodμov zahaμoio. v. Dionysii Geog. ver. 937. 41 his] In the other passages, where the song of the nightingale is described, the bird is of the feminine gender; v. iii. 40. iv. 602. vii. 436. Newton.
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 50
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 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? 60
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 vent❜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 cropp'd,
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of men:
57 Ambrosia] Virg. Æn. i. 403.
'Ambrosiæque come divinum vertice odorem
And why not gods of men, since good, the more Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair'd, but honoured 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.
'Ista natura est boni,
Communicari gaudet, et multis suo
Prodesse fructu. Nemo participi carens
Grotii Adamus Exsul. p. 23.
93 night] for the "dreams of night." v. S. Ital. iii. 216. 'Promissa evolvit somni, noctemque retractat.'
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,
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
117 God] God here signifies 'angel.' Sec ver. 59 and 70.