Page images

His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd 300
Absolute rule; and hyacinthin locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She as a veil down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore

Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
As the vine curls her tendrils, which imply'd
Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv’d,
Yielded with

соу submission, modest pride, 310 And sweet reluctant amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal’d, Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of Nature's works, honor dishonorable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind 315 With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banish'd from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence ! So pass’d they naked on, nor shunnid the sight Of God or angel, for they thought no ill: 320 So hand in hand they pass’d, the loveliest pair That ever since in Love's embraces met; Adam the goodliest man of men since born His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. Under a tuft of shade that on a green

325 Stood whisp'ring soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down; and after no more toil Of their sweet gard’ning labor then suffic'd To recommend cool Zephyr, and made east

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 330
More grateful, to their supper fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damask'd with flowers :
The sav'ry pulp they chew, and in the rind 335
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream ;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd 340
All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambol'd before them; th' unwieldy elephant 345
To make them mirth us'd all his might, and
His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly [wreath'd
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unbeeded; others on the grass 350
Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun
Declin'd was hasting now with prone career
To th' ocean isles, and in th' ascending scale
Of Heav'n the stars that usher evening róse: 353
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad.

O Hell ! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanç'd

VOL. 1.



More woe,

Creatures of other mold, Earth-born perhaps, 360
Not spirits, yet to heav'nly spirits bright
Little inferior ; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The Hand that form'd them on their shape hath

Ah, gentle Pair ! ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe,

the more your taste is now of joy; Happy, but for so happy ill secur'd

370 Long to continue, and this high seat your heav'n Ill fenc'd for Heav'n to keep out such a foe As now is enterd; yet no purpos’d foe To

you, whom I could pity thus forlorn, Though I unpitied : league with you I seck, 375 And mutual amity so strait, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me Henceforth ; my dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense, yet such Accept your Maker's work; he

380 Which I as freely give; Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your numerous offspring; if no better place, 385 Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge On you who wrong me not for him who wrong'd. And should I at your harmless innocence


it me,

Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
Honor and empire with revenge inlarg'd, 390
By conqu’ring this new world, compels me now
To do what else though damn'd I should abhor.

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
The tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds.
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 395
Down he alights ainong the sportful herd
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
Now other, as their shape serv'd best his end,
Nearer to view his prey, and unespy'd
To mark what of their state he more might learn
By word or action mark'd: about them round 401
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare ;
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
Strait couches close, then rising changes oft 405
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
Grip'd in each paw: when Adam first of men
To first of women Eve thus moving speech,
Turn'd him all ear to hear new utterance flow. 410

Sole Partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;

That rais'd us from the dust and plac'd us here
Iur all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform

Ought whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service than to keep 420
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of Knowledge, planted by the tree of Life;
So near grows death to life, whate’er death is, 425
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou

God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion given 430
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:

435 But let us ever praise him, and extol His bounty, following our delightful task To prune these growing plants, and tend these

flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet,

To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou for whom And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head, what thou hast said is just and right. For we to him indeed all praises owe, And daily thanks; I chiefly who enjoy

445 So far the happier lot, enjoying thee

« PreviousContinue »