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SATAN having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns

as a mist by night into Paradise, enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart : Adam consents not, alleging the danger, least that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her, found alone : Eve loath to be found not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields : the serpent finds her alone ; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech, and such understanding not till now; the serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden,

he attained both to speech and reą. son, till then void of both: Evé requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: the ser. pent now grown holder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof Adam at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit; the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.



No more of talk where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience; on the part of heav'n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world of wo,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
Death's harbinger : sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd,
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's son ;
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
And dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
Since first this subject for heroic song

To me inferior, infinite descents
Beneath what other creatures are to thee?

He ceas'd, I lowly answer'd: To attain
The height and depth of thy eternal ways
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things,
Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee
Is no deficience found ; not so is man,
But in degree, the cause of his desire
By conversation with his like to help,
Or solace his defects. No need that thou
Should'st propagate, already infinite,
And through all numbers absolute, though one;
But man by number is to manifest
His single imperfection, and beget
Like of his like, his image multiply'd,
In unity defective, which requires
Collateral love, and dearest amity.
Thou in thy secrecy although alone,
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not
Social communication, yet so pleasd,
Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt
Of union or communion, deify'd;
I by conversing cannot these erect
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find.
Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom us'd
Permissive, and acceptance found, which gain'd
This answer from the gracious voice divine :

Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleas'd,
And find thee knowing not of beasts alone,
Which thou has rightly nam'd, but of thyself,
Expressing well the spirit within thee free,
My image, not imparted to the brute,
Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee,
Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike,
And be so minded still; I, ere thou spak'st,
Knew it not good for man to be alone,
And no such eompany as then thou saw'st
Intended thee, for trial only brought,
To see how thou couldst judge of fit and meet :

Mine eyes

What next I bring shall please thee, be assurd,
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.

He ended, or I heard no more, for now
My earthly by his heav'nly over-power'd :
Which it had long stood under, strain'd to th' height
In that celestial colloquy sublime,
As with an object that excels the sense,
Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, callid
By nature as in aid, and clos'd mine eyes.

he closd, but open left the cell Of fancy my internal sight, by which Abstract as in a trance methought I saw, Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape Still glorious before whom awake I stood; Who stooping open'd my left side, and took From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound, But suddenly with flesh fill'd up

and heal'd : The rib he form'd and fashion'd with his hand; Under his forming hands a creature grew, Manlike but different sex, so lovely fair, That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd And in her looks, which from that time infus'd Sweetness into


heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspir'd
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappear'd, and left me dark; I wak'd
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
When out of hope, behold her, not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorn'd
With what all earth or heav'n could bestow
To make her amiable : on she came,
Led by her heav'nly Maker, though unseen,
And guided by his voice, nor uninform'd
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites

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