« AnteriorContinuar »
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they tell,
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 day-spring, and the sun, who scarce up-risen,
With wheels yet hovering 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 pronounced, or sung
Unmeditated; such prompt eloquence
Flow'd from their lips, in prose or numerous verse
More tuneable than needed lute or harp,
To add more sweetness; and they thus began.
“ These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty, Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wonderous then !
Unspeakable, who sit'st above these Heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak ye, who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in Heaven,
On Earth, join all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better, thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater, sound His praise
In thy eternal course,
both when thou climb'st, And when high noon hast gain'd, & when thou fall'st. Moon, that now meet’st the orient sun, now fliest, With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies, And ye five other wandering fires, that move In mystic dance, not without song, resound
His praise, who, out of darkness, call'd up light
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix,
And nourish all things ; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise ;
Whether, to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth, with falling showers,
Rising or falling, still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud; & wave your tops, ye pines,
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living souls : ye birds,
That singing up to Heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings, & in your notes, his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or lowly creep ;
Witness, if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain, or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord ! be bounteous still
To give us only good ; and if the night
Have gather'd aught of evil, or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.”
So pray'd they innocent; & to their thoughts
Firm peace recover'd soon, and wonted calm.
On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers ; where any row
Of fruit-trees, over-woody, reach'd too far
Their pamper'd boughs, & needed hands to check
Fruitless embraces : or, they led the vine
To wed her elm ; she spoused, about him twines
Her marriageable arms; and with her brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd, beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him call’d
Raphael, the sociable spirit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secured
His marriage with the seven-times-wedded maid
Raphael,” said he,“ thou hear’st what stir on earth, Satan, from Hell'scaped, through the darksome gulf,
Hath raised in Paradise, and how disturb'd
This night the human pair; how he designs,
In them, at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day, as friend with friend,
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou find’st him, from the heat of noon retired,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state ;
Happiness in his power, left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him, to beware
He swerve not, too secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fall'n Himself from heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others, from like state of bliss";
By violence ? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies : this let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn'd.”
So spake the eternal Father, and fulfillid
All justice: nor delay'd the winged saint,
After his charge received ; but from among
Thousand celestial ardours, where he stood
Veild with his gorgeous wings, up springing light,
Flew thro’ the midst of heaven ; the angelic quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way,
Through all the empyreal road; till, at the gate
Of heaven arrived, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sovereign Architect had framed.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interposed : however small he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes,
Earth, & the garden of God, with cedars crown'd
Above all hills. · As when, by nignt, the glass
Of Galileo, less assured, observes
Imagined lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades,
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither, prone in flight,
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky,
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing ;
Now on the polar winds, then, with quick fan,
Winnows the buxom air; till within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phenix, gazed by all, as that sole bird,
When to enshrine his reliques, in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he Aies.
At once, on the eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns,
A seraph winged : six wings he wore, to shade
His lineaments divine ; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast,
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold,
And colours dipp'd in Heaven; the third his teet
Shadow'd from either heel, with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctured grain. Like Maia's son he stood
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fillid
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise ;
For, on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glittering tents he passid,
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm ;
A wilderness of sweets: for nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him, through the spicy forest onward come,
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays, to warm [needs.
Earth's inmost womb; more warmth than Adam
And Eve within, due at her hour, prepared
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape : to whom thus Adam call’d.
“ Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold, Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving ; seems another morp Risen on mid-noon : some great behest from Heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour Abundance, fit to honour and receive Our heavenly stranger: well may we afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow, From large bestow'd ; where nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and, by disburdening, grows
More fruitful; which instructs us not to spare.”
To whom thus Eve. “Adam, earth's hallow'd mold Of God inspired, small store will serve, where store, All seasons ripe for use, hangs on the stalk ; Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes. But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant & juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice, To entertain our angel-guest, as he Beholding shall confess, that here on earth, God hath dispensed his bounties as in Heaven."
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent, What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contrived, as not to mix Tastes, not well join’d, inelegant; but bring Taste after taste, upheld with kindliest change : Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk, Whatever earth, all-bearing mother, yields In India East or West, or middle shore In Pontus, or the Punic coast, or where Alcinos reign'd; fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough or smooth rined, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large; and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand. For drink the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths From many a berry, &, from sweet kernels press'd, She tempers dulcet creams ; nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground With rose and odours, from the shrub unfumed.
Meanwhile, our primitive great sire, to meet His godlike guest, walks forth; without more train Accompanied, than with his own complete Perfections: in himself was all his state, More solemn, than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long, Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold, Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence, Adam, though not awed, Yet with submiss approach, and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said. “Native of Heaven, for other place None can than heaven such glorious shape contain; Since, by descending from the thrones above, Those happy places thou hast deign'd awhile To want, and honour these; vouchsafe with us, Two only, who yet by sovereign gift possess