Page images

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.

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: heav'n 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] εvodμov nahaμoło. 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 heav'n
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 heav'n, 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

'Ista natura est boni,

Communicari gaudet, et multis suo
Prodesse fructu. Nemo participi carens
Vivit beatus.'


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.

71 good]

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,
Created pure. 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.' See ver. 59 and 70.








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 flow'rs,
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 gentle 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 arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of dayspring and the sun, who, scarce uprisen
With wheels yet hov'ring o'er the ocean brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering 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

[ocr errors]






127 bosom❜d] Bosom.' Bentl. MS.

137 roof] In Milton's own edition, a comma stands after 'roof,' which Tickell, Fenton, Bentley followed. Pearce properly cor

rected it.

« PreviousContinue »