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When God hath show'rd the earth; so lovely That landskip: and of pure now purer air (seem'd Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive

155 All sadness but despair: now gentle gales Fanning their odoriferous wings dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160 Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow Sabean odors from the spicy shore Of Araby the Blest; with such delay Well pleas’d they slack their course, and many a league

164 Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles : So entertain'd those odorous sweets the Fiend Who came their hane, though with them better Than Asmodëus with the fishy fume [pleas'd That drove him, though enamor’d, from the spouse Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent

170 From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.

Now to th’ ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journey'd on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick intwin'd,
As one continued brake, the undergrowth

175
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex’d
All path of man or beast that pass’d that way:
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On the other side: which when the Arch-felon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt, 180

At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunts for pres,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure, 186
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand Thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of Life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,

195
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain’d, but sat devising death
To the who liv’d; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only us’d
For

prospect, what well us'd had been the pledge Of immortality. So little knows

201 Any but God alone, to value right The good before him, but perverts best things To worse abuse, or to their meanest use. Beneath him with new wonder now he views 205 To all delight of human sense expos'd In narrow room Nature's whole wealth, yea more, A heav'n on earth: for blissful Paradise Of God the garden was, by him in th' east Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line

210

From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar: in this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd;

215
Out of the fertile ground he caus’d to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the tree of Life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold; and next to Life,

220 Our death the tree of Knowledge grew fast by, Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill. Southward through Eden went a river large, Nor chang’d his course, but through the shaggy hill Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown That mountain as his garden mould high rais'd Upon the rapid current, which through veins Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn, Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill Water’d the garden; thence united fell 230 Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood, Which from his darksome passage now appears, And now divided into four main streams, Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm And country, whereof here needs no account; 235 But rather to tell how, if Art could tell, How from that saphir fount the crisped brooks, Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold, With mazy error under pendent shades Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 240

1

Flow'rs, worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill and dale and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade 245
Imbrown'd the noontide bow'rs: thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and

balm,
Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,

250 If true, here only', and of delicious taste: Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interpos’d, Or palmy hilloc; or the flow'ry lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store,

255 Flow'rs of all hue, and without thorn the rose : Another side, umbrageous grots and caves Of cool recess, o’er which the mantling vine Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps Luxuriant; mean while murm'ring waters fall 260 Down the slope hills, dispers’d, or in a lake, That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams. The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 265 The trembling leaves, while universal Pan Knit with the Graces and the Hours' in dance Led on th' eternal Spring Not that fair field Of Enna, where Proserpin gath'ring flowers,

276

Herself a fairer flow'r by gloomy Dis 270
Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet
Of Daphne by Orontes, and th' inspir'd (grove
Castalian spring, might with this paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove,
Hid Amalthea and her florid son
Young Bacchus from his stepdame Rhea's

eye ;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 28%
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos'd
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' head, inclos'd with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 285
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living creatures new to sight and strange.
Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honor clad
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all, 290
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their giorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe but in true filial freedom plac'd)
Whence true authority in men; though both 295
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem’d;
For contemplation he and valor formid,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace ;
He for God only, she for God in him :

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