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This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the highth of deity aspir'd !
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low
As high he soar'd ; obnoxious, first or last,
To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet
Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heaven, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker rais'd
From dust : spite then with spite is best repaid."
So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low-creeping, he held on
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rollid,
His head the midst, well stor'd with sulitle wiles :
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet, but, on the grassy herb
Fearless unfear'd he slept: in at his mouth
The devil enter?d; and his brutal sense
In heart or head, possessing, soon inspir'd
Wish act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturb'd not, waiting close the approach of morn.
Now, when as sacred light began to dawn In Eden on the humid flowers, that breath'd Their morning incense, when all things, that
breathe, From the earth's great altar send up silent praise To the Creator, and his nostrils till With grateful smell, forth came the human pair, And join'd their vocal worship to the quire Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs : Then commune, how that day they best may ply Their growing work: for much their work outgrew The hands' dispatch of two gardening, so wide, And Eve first to her busband thus began i
^ Adam, well may we labour still to dress This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower, Dur pleasant task enjoin'd; but till more hands Aid us, the work under our labour grows, Luxurions by restraint; what we by day, Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, One night or two with wanton growth derides Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, Or hear what to my mind first ihoughts present Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice Leads ther, or where rost weeds, whether to wind The woudbine round this arbour, or direct The clasping ivy where to climb; while 1, In yonder spring of roses intermix'd With myrtle, find what to redress till noon ; For, while so near each other thus all day Our task we choose, what wonder if so near Looks intervene and smiles, or object new Casual discourse draw on; which intermits Our day's work, brought to little, though begun Early, and the hour of supper comes unearn’d ?"
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd: • Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond Compare above all living creatures deur ! Well hast thou motivn'd, well thy thoughts eine
ploy'd How we mig!ıt hest fulfil the work which here G:d hath assign'd 118; nor of me shalt pass Unprais'd : for nothing lovelier can be found In woman, than to study household good, And good works in her husband to promuie, Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd Labour, as to debar us wben we need Kefreshment, whether food, or talk between, Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse Of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason fign, 'To brute denied, and are of love the food ; Love, not the lowest end of human life. For not to irksome toil, but to delight,
lle made ur, and delight to reason join'd. [hando
These paths and howers doubt not but our joint
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us: but if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yields
for solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
Bilt other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befall thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious fue,
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
l'aches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and hest advantage, us asunder •
Hopele s tu circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at netd :
Whethe" his first design be to withdraw
Our l'ealty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy it by us excites his envy more :
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
That gave thee being, still shades thee, and protect
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest. hy her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures."
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
As one who lov-8, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus replied :
“ Offspring of heaven and earth, and all earth's That such an enemy we have, who seeks (lord ! Our ruin, both by thee inform’d I learni, And from the parting angel overheard, As in a shady nook I stood behind, Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers. But, that thou shouldst my firmness thereforeduube To God or thee, liecause we have a foc dlay tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His viviendé chon fear`st not, being suck
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or reduced : [breasts
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy
Adam, misthought of her to the so dear!"
To whom, with healing words, Adan replied :
“ Daughter of God and man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art; from sin and blame entire :
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperges
The tempted with dishonour foul; suppos'd
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation : thou thyeelf with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
Though ineffectual found : misdeem not then,
If such affront I lahour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare ;
Or daring, first on me the assault shall ligiit.
Nor thou his malice and false guile conte:111;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others' aid.
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking oils
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,
Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within iħee feel
When I am present, and thy trial chorige
With me, best witness of tły virtue tried ?"
So spake domestic Adem in his care
And matriinuniul love ; but I've, who ikongbt
Less astributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd 3
“ If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten'd hy a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met ;
How are we happy, still in fear of harm ?
But harm precedes not sin : only our foe,
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or fear'a
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd
Alone, without exterior help sustaind ?
Let is not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combin’d.
Frail'is our happiness, if this be so;
And Eden were nu Eden, thus expns'd."
To whom thus Adam fervently replied :
“O woman, best are all •things as the will
Of God ordain'd them: his creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outwarst force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power :
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will; for what obeys
Reason, is free; and reason he made right,
But bid her well beware, and still erect ;
Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpris'd
She dictate false; arid misinform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins