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Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
“ That lie bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth,
“ Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease.
“Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd. 635 “ My author, and disposer! what thou bidd'st

Unargued I obey: so God ordains.
“ God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
“ Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.

“ With thee conversing I forget all time;
640 “ All seasons, and their change-all please alike.

“ Sweet is the breath of morn; her rising sweet,
“ With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
“ When first on this delightful land he spreads

“ His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 645 “Glistering with dew: fragrant the fertile earth

“ After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
“Of grateful evening mild ; then silent night,
“ With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,

And these the gems of heaven, her starry train : 650 “ But neither breath of morn, when she ascends

“ With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
“Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;

“Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night, 655

“ With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
“ Or glittering star-light; without thee is sweet."

“But wherefore all night long shine these? For whom “ This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes ?"

To whom our general ancestor replied:
660 “ Daughter of God and man, accomplish'd Eve!

" These have their course to finish round the earth
“By morrow evening; and from land to land
“In order, though to nations yet unborn,

“ Ministering light prepar'd, they set and rise ; 665 “Lest total darkness should by night regain

“Her old possession, and extinguish life
“In nature, and all things; which these soft fires

“ Not only enlighten, but, with kindly heat

“Of various influence, foment and warm670 “ Temper or nourish; or in part shed down

“ Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
“On earth, made hereby apter to receive
“ Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.

“ These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 675 “ Shine not in vain. Nor think, though men were none,

“ That heaven would want spectators—God want praise :
“Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
“ Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:

“ All these, with ceaseless praise, his works behold 680 “Both day and night. How often, from the steep

Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard
“ Celestial voices, to the midnight air
“(Sole, or responsive each to other's note)

“Singing their great Creator ! Oft in bands 685 “ While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,

“ With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
“In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
“ Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.”

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd 690 On to their blissful bower: it was a place

Chose by the sov’reign planter, when he fram'd
All things to man's delightful use: the roof,
Of thickest covert, was inwoven shade,

Laurel, and myrtle; and what higher grew, 695 Of firm and fragrant leaf : on either side

Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
Fenc'd

up

the verdant wall ; each beauteous flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine, Reard high their flourish'd heads between, and

wrought
700 Mosaic: under foot the violet,

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone,
Or costliest emblem: other creature here,
Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none :

705 Such was their awe of man. In shadier bower

More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan, or Sylvanus, never slept ; nor nymph,
Nor Faunus, haunted. Here, in close recess,

With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, 710 Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed;

And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn’d,

More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods
715 Endow'd with all their gifts ;-and 0, too like

In sad event!-when to th' unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnar'd
Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd

On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
720 Thus, at their shady lodge arriv’d, both stood,

Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld; the moon's resplendent globe,

And starry pole: “ Thou also mad'st the night, 725 “Maker Omnipotent! and thou the day,

“ Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
“ Have finish'd, happy in our mutual help,
And mutual love—the crown of all our bliss

“Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place 730 “ For us too large, where thy abundance wants

Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground. “But thou hast promis'd from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol

Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
735 “ And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."

This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower

Handed they went; and, eas'd the putting off 740 These troublesome disguises which we wear,

Straight side by side were laid ; nor turn'd, I ween,
Adam from his fair spouse ; nor Eve the rites

Mysterious of connubial love refus'd:

Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 745 Of purity, and place, and innocence,

Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase: Who bids abstain,

But our destroyer, foe to God, and man?
750 Hail, wedded love! mysterious law, true source

Of human offspring ; sole propriety
In Paradise, of all things common else!
By thee adulterous lust was driven from men

Among the bestial herds to range : by thee, 755 Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,

Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
Far be it, that I should write thee sin, or blame,

Or think thee unbefitting holiest place; 760 Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets!

Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc'd,
Present, or past; as saints and patriarchs us’d.
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here lights

His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings; 765 Reigns here and revels: not in the bought smile

Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear’d,
Casual fruition! nor in court-amours,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,

Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 770 To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.

These, lulld by nightingales, embracing slept;
And on their naked limbs the flow'ry roof
Shower'd roses, which the morn repair’d. Sleep on,

Blest pair ! and O, yet happiest, if ye seek
775 No happier state, and know to know no more.

Now had night measur'd with her shadowy cone
Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault;
And from their ivory port the Cherubim,
Forth issuing at the accustom'd hour, stood arm'd

780 To their night-watches in warlike parade ;

When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake :

“Uzziel! half these draw off, and coast the south “ With strictest watch; these other wheel the north :

Our circuit meets full west.” As flame they part, 785 Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.

From these, two strong and subtle spirits he callid,
That near him stood, and gave them thus in charge:

“Ithuriel and Zephon! with wing'd speed
“ Search through this garden, leave unsearch'd no

nook;

790 “ But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,

“Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
“ This evening from the sun's decline arriv'd,
“ Who tells of some infernal spirit, seen

“ Hitherward bent, (who could have thought ?) escap'd 795 “ The bars of hell-on errand bad, no doubt : “Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring.”

So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the moon: these to the bower direct,

In search of whom they sought; him there they found, 800 Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,

Assaying, by his devilish art, to reach
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams;

Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
805 The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise

Like gentle breaths from rivers pure; thence raise,
At least, distemper’d, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,

Blown up with high conceits engendering pride. 810 Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear

Touch'd lightly; (for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
Of force to its own likeness :) up he starts,

Discover'd and surpris’d. As when a spark 815 Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid

Fit for the tun, some magazine to store

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