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So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn’d the sight
Of God or angel, for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they pass d, the loveliest pair,
That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam, the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade, that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side,
They sat them down; and after no more toil,
Of their sweet gardening labour, than sufficed
To recommend cool zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell;
Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat, recline
On the soft downy bank, damask'd with flowers.
The savory pulp they chew, and in the rind,
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream:
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them, frisking play'd,
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase,
In wood or wilderness, forest or den :
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gamboll'd before them; the unwieldy elephant,
Tomake them mirth, used all his might, & wreathed
His lithe proboscis ; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded : others on the grass
Couch'd, and now, fill'd with pasture, gazing sat,
Or bed-ward ruminating : for the sun
Declined was hasting now, with prone career,
To the ocean isles; and, in the ascending scale
Of Heaven, the stars that usher evening rose :
When Satan, still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad.

“O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold?
Into our room of bliss, thus high advanced,
Creatures of other mold, earth-born perhaps,
Not spirits, yet to heavenly spirits bright
Little inferior: whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that form’d them on their shape hath pour'd.

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Ah, gentle pair! ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delighus
Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe ;
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy.
Happy, but for so happy ill secured,
Long to continue; and this high seat, your heaven,
Il fenced for heaven, to keep out such a foe
As now is enter'd: yet no purposed foe
To you, whom I could pity, thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied : league with you I seek,
And mutual amity, so strait, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me
Henceforth: my dwelling haply may not please,
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such
Accept your Maker's work : he

gave

it

me,
Which I as freely give. Hell shall unfold,
To entertain you two, her widest gates,
And send forth all her kings; there will be room,
Not like these narrow limits, to receive
Your numerous offspring: if no better place,
Thank him who puts me, loth to this revenge
On you, who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd.
And should I, at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
Honour and empire, with revenge, enlarged,
By conquering this new world, compel me now
To do, what else, though damn'd, I should abhor.”

So spake the fiend ; and with necessity,
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
Then, from his lofty stand on that high tree,
Down he alights, among the sportful herd
Of those four-footed kinds; himself now one,
Now other, as their shape served best his end
Nearer to view his prey; and unespy'd,
To mark, what of their state he more might learn,
By word or action mark'd. About them round
A lion now he stalks, with fiery glare;
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd,
In some purlieu, two gentle fawns at play,
Straight couches close, then rising, changes oft
His couchant watch ; as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing, he might surest seize them both,
Griped in each paw: when Adam, first of men,
To first of women Eve, thus moving speech,
Turn'd him, all ear, to hear new utterance flow.

Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power

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That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite :
That raised us from the dust, and placed us here,
In all this happiness ; who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught, whereof he hath need: He, who requires
From us no other service, than to keep
This
one,
this

easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise, that bear delicious fruit,
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life.
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is ;
Somedreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st,
God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree;
The only sign of our obedience left,
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion given,
Over all other creatures, that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large, to all things else, and choice
Unlimited, of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, foMowing our delightful task,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these nowers,
Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet."

To whom thus Eve replied. “Othou, for whom,
And from whom I was form’d, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom, am to no end, my guide
And head, what thou hast said is just and right.
For we to Him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks ; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee,
Pre-eminent by so much odds; while thou
Like consort to thyself, canst no where find.
That day 1 oft remember, when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed,
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering, where
And wliat I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence, a murmuning sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of Heaven : I thither went,
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.

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As I bent down to look, just opposite,
A shape within the watery gleam appear'd,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleased, I soon return’d,
Pleased it return'd as soon, with answering looks
Of sympathy and love. There I had fix'd
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn'd me; “What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself ;
With thee it came and goes : but follow me,
And I will bring thee, where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces ; he
Whose image thou art, him thou shalt enjoy,
Inseparably thine; to him shalt bear
Multitudes, like thyself, and thence be callid
Mother of human race.'—What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed, and tall,
Under a platane; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: back I turn'd;
Thou following cried'st aloud, ' Return, fair Eve;
Whom fliest thou? whom thou fliest, of him thou art
His flesh, bis bone; to give thee being, I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth, an individual solace dear:
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half : with that thy gentle hand
Seized mine ; I yielded ; and from that time see,
How beauty is excell'd, by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.”

So spake our general mother; and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction, unreproved,
And meek surrender, half-embracing, lean'd
On our first father ; half her swelling breast
Naked met bis, under the Aowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid : he, in delight,
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds,
That shed May-flowers; and press'd her matron lip,
With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turn'd
For envy, yet, with jealous leer malign,
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plain'd.

“ Sight hateful! sight tormenting! thus these two, Imparadised in one another's arms,

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The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,
Where neither joy, nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill'd, with pain of longing, pines.

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Yet let me not forget, what I have gain'd
From their own mouths : all is not theirs, it seems;
One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge call'd,
Forbidden them to taste : Knowledge forbidden?
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord 515
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
Can it be death ? And do they only stand
By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid, whereon to build

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Their ruin. Hence, I will excite their minds,
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt,
Equal with gods: aspiring to be such,

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They taste and die : what likelier can ensue?
But first with narrow search, I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unspied ;
A chance, but chance may lead where I may meet
Some wandering spirit of Heaven, by fountain-side, 530
Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw
What further would be learn’d. Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair ; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.”

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd, 535
But with sly circumspection; and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam.
Meanwhile, in utmost longitude, where heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect,

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Against the eastern gate of Paradise,
Levell’d his evening rays : it was a rock
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high ;

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The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars, Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night;
About him, exercised heroic games

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The unarm'd youth of heaven; but nigh at hand,
Celestial armory, sh elds, helms, and spears,

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