« PreviousContinue »
If any be, of tasting this fair fruit,
Whose virtue, (for of good still good proceeds,
Direct, or by occasion,) hath presented
This happy trial of thy love, which else
So eminently never had been known.
Were it I thought death menac'd would ensue
This my attempt, I would sustain alone
The worst, and not persuade thee, rather die
Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact
Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assur'd
Remarkably so late of thy so true,
So faithful love unequall'd; but I feel
Far otherwise th' event, not death, but life
Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys, 985
Taste so divine, that what of sweet before
Hath touch'd my sense, flat seems to this and harsh.
On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
And fear of death deliver to the winds.
So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy Tenderly wept, much won that he his love Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur
978 alone] Eve says in the Adam. Exs. of Grotius, p. 54. Omne ruat in me malum,
Si quod futurum est. Parcat! O parcat viro!'
980 oblige] Newton has observed the force of 'oblige,' to render obnoxious to guilt or punishment. Cic. pro domo suâ, viii. populum Romanum scelere obligâsses.' Fin. i. 14. and Hor. Od. ii. 8.5.
989 winds] A sort of proverbial expression. Hor. Od. i. xxvi. i.
Tradam protervis in mare Creticum
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
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
Her former trespass fear'd, the more to soothe
Him with her lov'd society, that now,
As with new wine intoxicated both,
and Val. Flac. viii. 117.
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, 1025
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; flow'rs 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 sate, 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 1070
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 heav'nly 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! 1090
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.'