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Præeminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awak’d, and found myself repos'd 450
Under a shade on flow'rs, much wond'ring where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and

Not distant far from thence a murm’ring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd 455
Pure as th' expanse of Heav'n; I thither went
With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite 460
A shape within the wat’ry gleam appear’d,
Bending to look on me : I started back,
It started back; but pleas’d I soon return’d,
Pleas'd it return’d as soon with answ'ring looks
Of sympathy and love : there I had fix'd 465
Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn’d me, What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 170
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call’d
Mother of Human Race. What could I do, 475
But follow strait, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platan ; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild, 479
Than that smooth watry image: back I turn'd;
Thou following cryd'st aloud, Return fair Eve,
Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly’st, of him thou
His flesh, his bone; to give thee be'ing I lent [art,
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side 485
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half: with that thy gentle hand
Seiz'd mine ; I yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excell’d by manly grące 490
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general Mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meck surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first Father; half her swelling breast 495
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms
Smild with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 500
That shed May flow?rs; and prçss'd her matron lip
With kisses purę: aside the Devil turn?d
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain’d.

Sight hateful, sight tormenting ! thus these two

Imparadis'd in one another's arms,

506 The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust, Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, Among our other torments not the least 510 Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines. Yet let me not forget what I have gain’d From their own mouths : all is not theirs it seems ; One fatal tree there stands of Knowledge callid Forbidden them to tastę: knowledge forbidden ? Suspicious, reasonless, Why should their Lord Envy them that? can it be sịn to know? Can it be death ? and do they only stand By ignorance ? is that their happy state, , The proof of their obedience and their faith ? 520 O fair foundation laid whereon to build Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds With more desire to know, and to reject Envious commands, invented with design 524 To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt Equal with gods : aspiring to be such, They taste and die: what likelier can ensue ? But first with narrow search I must walk round This garden, and no corner leave unspy'd ; 529 A chance but Chance may lead where I may meet Some wand'ring spi'rit of Heav'n by foụntain side, Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw What further would be learn'd, Live while ye may, Yet happy pair ; enjoy, till I return, Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed. 533

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd, But with sly circumspection, and began Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale,

his roam.
Mean while in utmost longitude, where heav'n
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun 540
Slowly descended, and with right aspéct
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levell’d his evening rays :"it was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 545
Accessible from earth, one entrance high ;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of th' angelic guards, awaiting night; 550
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th' unarmd youth of Heav'n, but nigh at hand
Celestial armory, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even 555
On a sun beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapors fir'd
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds : he thus began in haste. 560

Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at highth of noon came to my sphere

A spirit, zealous, as he seem'd, to know 565
More of th’ Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
God's latest image: I describd his way
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aëry gait ;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north, 569
Where he first lighted, sgon discern'd his looks
Alien from Heav'n, with passions foul obscur'd:
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him; one of the barish'd crew,
I fear, hath ventur'd from the Deep, to raise
New troubles; bịin thy care must be to find. 575

To whom the winged warrior thus return'd.
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst,
See far and wide; in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac’d, but such as come 580
Well known from Heav'n; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: if spi'rit of other sort,
So minded, have o'er-leap'd these earthy bounds
On purpose, hard thou knowost it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar. 585
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tell'șt, by morrow dawning I shall know,

So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge Return’d on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd

590 Bore him slope downward to the sun now fall'n Beneath th? Azores : whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd

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