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Præeminent by so much odds, while thou
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, 475 485
But follow strait, invisibly thus led ?
So spake our general Mother, and with eyes
pure: aside the Devil turn!d For envy, yet with jealous leer malign Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plaind.
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 call'd Forbidden them to taste: knowledge forbidden ? Suspicious, reaspnless. 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 rețir'd, from him to draw What further would be learn'd, Live while ye may, Yet happy pair ; enjoy, till I setạrn, 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 aspect 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' unarm’d 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
To whom the winged warrior thus return'd.
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 sup now fallin Beneath th' Azores : whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither ro!l'd