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« fairest of creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form’d,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost! how on a sudden lost,
Defac'd, deflower'd, and now to death devote!
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddence, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidd'n? some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die:
How can I live without thee! how forego
Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn!
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart: no, no ! I feel
The link of nature draw me:
esh of flesh, Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. »
So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and after thoughts disturb'd
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd
« Beld deed thou hast presum'd, adventurous Eve,
And peril great provok’d, who thus hast dar'd,
Had it been only covering to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past who can recal, or done undo?
Nor God Omnipotent, nor fate; yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
Profanel first by the serpent, by him first
Made common and unhallow'd, ere our taste;
Not yet on him found deadly : he yet lives;
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as man,
Higher degree of life; inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
But to be gods, or angels, demi-gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatening will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
Set over all his works; which in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependent made; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose;
Not well conceiv'd of God, who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loath
Us to abolish, lest the adversary
Triumph, and say; Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? me first
He ruin'd, now mankind : whom whill he next?
Matter of scorn, not to be given the foe.
However I with thee have fix'd my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom: if death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
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;
Our state cannot be sever'd; we are one,
One flesh : to lose thee were to lose myself.
So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied : «O glorious trial of exceeding love, Illustrious evidence, example high ! Engaging me to emulate; but, short Of thy perfection, how shall I attain, Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, And gladly of our union hear thee speak, One heart, one soul in both ; whereof good proof This day affords, declaring thee resolv'd, Rather than death, or aught than death more dread, Shall separate us, link'd in love so dear, To undergo with me 'one guilt, one crime, If any be, of tasting this fair fruit; Whose virtue ( for of good still good proceeds, Direct, or by occasion, ) hath presented This happy trial of thy love, which else So eminently never had been known. Were it I thought death menac'd would ensue This my attempt, I would sustain alone The worst, and not persuade thee; rather die Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly, assur'd Remarkably so late of thy so true, So faithful, love unequallid : but I feel Far otherwise the event; not death, but life Augmented, open'd eyes, new hopes, new joys, Taste so divine, that what of sweet before Hath touch'd
seems to this, and harsh On my experience, Adam, freely taste, And fear of death deliver to the winds. »
So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy Tenderly wept; much won, that he his love
Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
In recompense (for such compliance bad
Such recompense best merits ), from the bough
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
With liberal hand : he scrupled not to eat,
Against his better knowledge; not deceiv'd,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
and nature gave a second groan;
Sky lour'd; and, muttering thunder, some sad drops
Wept at completing of the mortal sin
Original; while Adam took no thought,
Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate
Her former trespass fear'd, the more to sooth
Him with her loved society; that now,
As with new wine intoxicated both,
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wing
Wherewith to scorn the earth: but that false fruit
Far other operation first diplay'd,
Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve
Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him
As wantonly repaid ; in lust they burn:
Till Adam thusígan Eve to dalliance move:
« Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
And elegant, of sapience no small part;
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And palate call judicious ; I the praise
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting: if such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wish’d,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But come, so well refresh'd, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare;
For never did thy beauty, since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd
With all perfections, so inflaine my sense
With ardour to enjoy thee; fairer now
Than ever; bounty of this virtuous tree !
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent; well understood
Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.
Her hand he seiz'd; and to a shady bank,
Thick over-head with verdant roof imbower'd
He led her, nothing loath; flowers were the couch,
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,
And hyacinth; earth's freshest softest lap,
There they their fill of love and love's disport
Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal,
The solace of their sin;
Till dewy sleep Oppress'd them, wearied with their amorous play. Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, That with exhilarating vapour
bland About their-spirits had play'd, and inmost powers Made err, was now exhal'd; and grosser sleep, Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams Incumber'd, now had left them; up they rose As from unrest; and, each the other viewing, Soon found their eyes how open'd, as their minds How darken'd : Innocence, that as a veil