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“ Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
So saying, her rash hand, in evil hour,
That all was lost! Back to the thicket slunk 785 The guilty serpent; and well might; for Eve,
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else
Or fancied so, through expectation high 790 Of knowledge ; nor was godhead from her thought.
Greedily she engorg'd, without restraint,
“O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees
• Created; but henceforth my early care, 800 “Not without song, each morning, and due praise,
“ Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease
“ In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know; 805 “ Though others envy what they cannot give :
“For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here
Thus grown. Experience, next, to thee I owe, “ Best guide ! not following thee, I had remain'd “In ignorance; thou open'st wisdom's way, “And giv'st access, though secret she retire.
And I perhaps am secret: heaven is high,
High, and remote to see from thence distinct “ Each thing on earth; and other care, perhaps,
May have diverted from continual watch
“ About him. But to Adam in what sort
“ Full happiness with me? or rather not, 820 “ But keep the odds of knowledge in my power,
“Without copartner? so to add what wants
“A thing not undesirable, sometime 825 “Superior; for, inferior, who is free?
“ This may be well. But what if God have seen,
“ Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; 830 “A death to think! Confirm'd then I resolve,
“ Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd; 835 But first low reverence done, as to the power
That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd
Waiting desirous her return, had wove 840 Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown;
oft wont their harvest queen. Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return so long delay'd :
Misgave him: he the falt'ring measure felt;
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met, 850 Scarce from the tree returning ; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
Came prologue, and apology too prompt; 855 Which, with bland words at will, she thus address'd:
“ Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? “ Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, depriv'd * Thy presence; agony of love till now
“ Not felt, nor shall be twice ; for never more 860 “Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,
“ The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange “ Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
“Of danger tasted ; nor to evil unknown 865 “ Opening the way, but of divine effect
“ To open eyes, and make them gods who taste ;
“ Hath eaten of the fruit; and is become 870 “Not dead, as we are threaten'd; but thenceforth
“ Endued with human voice, and human sense;
Reasoning to admiration! and with me “ Persuasively hath so prevail'd, that I
“Have also tasted, and have also found
“ Dim erst—dilated spirits—ampler heart,
“For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss ;
“ Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce 885 “ Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.”
Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told;
890 Astonied stood, and blank! while horror chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd !
Speechless he stood and pale; till thus, at length, 895 First to himself he inward silence broke:
“ O fairest of creation ! last and best
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
“ The sacred fruit forbidden! Some cursed fraud 905 “Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown,
“ And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee
resolution is to die.
Thy sweet convérse, and love so dearly join'd, 910 “ To live again in these wild woods forlorn ?
“Should God create another Eve, and I
“ The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
“ Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe !"
So having said, as one from sad dismay
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
“ Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventurous Eve! “And peril great provok'd, who thus hast dar'd, “ Had it been only coveting to eye " That sacred fruitsacred to abstinence, “ Much more to taste it, under ban to touch. “But past who can recall, or done undo? “ Not God omnipotent, nor fate. Yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die ; perhaps the fact
“ Is not so heinous now,-foretasted fruit, 930 “ Profan'd first by the serpent, -by him first
“Made common, and unhallow'd, ere our taste,
“ Higher degree of life; inducement strong 935
“ To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
Dependent made: so God shall uncreate
“ Be frustrate-do—undo, and labour lose; 945 “Not well conceiv'd of God, who, though his power
“Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
Triumph, and say, 'Fickle their state whom God
“Most favours ! who can please him long? Me first 950 “He rüin'd, now mankind; whom will he next?'
“Matter of scorn, not to be given the foe.
“ Consort with thee, death is to me as life; 955 “So forcible within my heart I feel
“ The bond of nature draw me to my own
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine ;
So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied: