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Such whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startled eye On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake :
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face, and morn return'd; for I this night
(Such night till this I never pass'd) have dream'd,
If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee,
Works of day past, or morrow's next design,
But of offence and trouble, which
mind Knew never till this irksome night: methought, Close at mine, ear one call'd me forth to walk With gentle voice, I thought it thine ; it said, Why sleep'st thou Eve? now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song ; now reigns Full orb’d the moon, and with more pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things : in vain, If none regard; heav'n wakes with all his eyes, Whom to behold but thee, nature's desire ? In whose sight all things joy with ravishment, Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze. I rose as at thy call, but found thee not; To find thee I directed then
walk; And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways That brought me on a sudden to the tree Of interdicted knowledge : fair it seem'd, Much fairer to my fancy than by day: And as I wond'ring look’d, beside it stood One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from heav'n By us oft seen: his dewy locks distillid Ambrosia ; on that tree he also gaz'd; And O fair plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd, Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet, Nor God, nor man? is knowledge so despis'd ? Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold Longer thy offer'd good, why else set here? This said, he pausd not, but with vent'rous arm
He pluck'd, he tasted; me damp horror chill'd
At such bold words vouch'd with a deed so bold :
But he thus overjoy'd, O fruit divine,
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of men !
And why not gods of men, since good the more
Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair’d, but honour'd more?
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Partake thou also ; happy though thou art,
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be ;
Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods
Thyself a goddess, not to earth confin'd,
But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
Ascend to heav'n, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live thou.
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Ev'n to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd; the pleasant savoury smell
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide
And various : wond'ring at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O how glad I wak'd
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answer'd sad :
Best image of myself, and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep,
Affects me equally ; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear ;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
pure. But know, that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief: among these fancy next
Her office holds ; of all external thing,
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, airy shapes,
Which reason joining, or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion ; then retires
Into her private cell when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimic fancy wakes
To imitate her ; but misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams,
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances methinks I find
Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil in the mind of God or man
May come and go, so unapprov'd and leave
No spot or blame behind: which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choicest boson:d smells,
Reservd from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was cheer'd,
But silently a gentle tear let fall
eye, and wip'd them with her hair ;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
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 arb'rous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who scarce uprisen,
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 pronounc'd 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 wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sit'st above these heavens,
On us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r 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, and when thou
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies,
And ye five other wand'ring 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
Patron of liberty, who more than thou
Once fawn'd, and cring'd, and servilely ador'd
Heav'ns awful monarch? wherefore but in hope
To dispossess him, and thyself to reign?
But mark what I aread thee now, Avaunt;
Fly thither whence thou fledst: if from this hour
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to th' infernal pit I drag thee chain'd,
And seal thee so, as henceforth, not to scorn
The facile gates of hell too slightly barr'd..
So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage reply'd :
Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
Proud limitary cherub,* but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
From my prevailing arm, though heav'ns King
Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
Usd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of heav'n star-pav'd.
While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron bright
Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning in mooned horns
Their phalanx, and began to hem hím round
With ported spears, as thick as when a field
Of Ceres ripe for harvest, waving bends
the wind Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting stands, Lest on the threshing-floor his hopeful sheaves Prove chaff. On th other side Satan alarm'd Collecting all his might dilated stood, Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremov'd: His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest Sat horror plum'd: nor wanted in his grasp What seem'd both spear and shield : now dreadful
deeds Might have ensued, nor only Paradise In this commotion, but the starry cope
“Proud limitary cherub:' limitary means guarding the limits.