« PreviousContinue »
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
In recompense, (for such compliance bad
Such recompense best merits,) from the bough 995
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat
Against his better knowledge, not deceiv'd,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan;
Sky lowr'd, and, mutt'ring thunder, some sad drops
Wept at completing of the mortal sin
Original; while Adam took no thought,
Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate
and Val. Flac. viii. 117.
Her former trespass fear'd, the more to soothe
Him with her lov'd society, that now,
As with new wine intoxicated both,
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wings
Wherewith to scorn the earth: but that false fruit
Far other operation first display'd,
Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve
Began to cast lascivious eyes, she him
As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn:
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move.
Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
And elegant, of sapience no small part,
1001 Nature] See Virg. Georg. iv. 493, and Stat. Theb. xi. 410.
'Ter nigris avidus regnator ab oris
Intonuit, terque ima soli concussit, et ipsi
Armorum fugere Dei.'
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And palate call judicious; I the praise
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wish'd,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But come, so well refresh'd, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare;
For never did thy beauty, since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd
With all perfections, so inflame my sense
With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now
Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree.
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent, well understood
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.
Her hand he seiz'd, and to a shady bank,
Thick overhead with verdant roof imbower'd,
He led her nothing loath; flowers were the couch,
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,
And hyacinth, earth's freshest softest lap.
There they their fill of love and love's disport
Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal,
The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep
1044 dewy sleep] Il Penseroso, 146. 'Invite the dewy feather'd sleep.' and Val. Flac. iv. 16, 'Liquidique potentia somni.' Lucret. iv. 905, 'Somnus quietem inriget.' Auctor Epit. Iliados, 120,
Oppress'd them, wearied with their amorous play.
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
That with exhilarating vapour bland
About their spirits had play'd, and inmost powers
Made err, was now exhal'd, and grosser sleep
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 1050
Encumber'd, now had left them, up they rose
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing,
Soon found their eyes how open'd, and their minds
How darken'd: innocence, that as a veil
Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gone,
Just confidence, and native righteousness,
And honour from about them; naked left
To guilty shame; he cover'd, but his robe
Uncover'd more. So rose the Danite strong
Herculean Samson from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd
Shorn of his strength; they destitute and bare
Of all their virtue: silent, and in face
Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute,
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abash'd,
At length gave utterance to these words constrain'd.
O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear
To that false worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfeit man's voice, true in our fall,
False in our promis'd rising; since our eyes
1058 shame] After 'shame' there is no stop even in Milton's own editions, and there should have been a semicolon at least. 'Shame covered Adam and Eve with his robe; but this robe of his uncovered them more.' v. S. Agon. 841. Newton. v. Psalm cix. 28. Bowle.
Open'd we find indeed, and find we know
Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got;
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know,
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void,
Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
Our wonted ornaments now soil'd and stain'd,
And in our faces evident the signs
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store,
Even shame, the last of evils; of the first
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face
Henceforth of GOD or angel, erst with joy
And rapture so oft beheld? those heavenly shapes
Will dazzle now this earthly, with their blaze
Insufferably bright. O might I here
In solitude live savage, in some glade
Obscur'd, where highest woods, impenetrable
To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad,
And brown as evening: cover me, ye pines!
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs
Hide me, where I may never see them more!
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
What best may for the present serve to hide
The parts of each from other, that seem most
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen;
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sew'd,
1086 impenetrable] v. Stat. Theb. x. 85.
'nulli penetrabilis astro
1092 for] These lines misprinted in the second edition:
'What best may from the present serve to hide
The parts of each for other.'
And girded on our loins, may cover round
Those middle parts; that this new comer, shame,
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.
So counsel'd he, and both together went
Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose
The figtree, not that kind for fruit renown'd,
But such as at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade
High overarch'd, and echoing walks between ;
There oft the Indian herdsman shunning heat
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds
At loopholes cut thro' thickest shade. Those leaves
They gather'd broad, as Amazonian targe,
And with what skill they had together sew'd,
To gird their waist, vain covering, if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found th' American so girt
With feather'd cincture, naked else and wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenc'd, and as they thought, their shame in part
Cover'd, but not at rest or ease of mind,
1103 Decan] The most celebrated specimen of this tree in India, is one that entirely covers an island in the Nerbudda, about twelve miles above Broach. It is called Kuveer-Bur. See Heber's Travels in India, iii. 67, and Forbes' Orient. Mem. i. 274, iii. 246, 543. It is two thousand feet round, and has thirteen hundred and fifty trunks. See plate, i. 37.