Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe,
More 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 enter’d; yet no purpos’d foe Το you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,

Though I unpity’d: League with you I seek, 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 gave

it me, 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 num'rous 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 Melt, as I do, yet public reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlarg’d, 390 By conqu’ring this new world, compels me now To do what else, tho' damn'd, I should abhor.

So spake the Fiend, and, with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excus’d his dev'lish deeds.

Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 395
Down he alights among 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, Straight 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 utt'rance flow:

Sole partner, and sole part of all these joys, 411 Dearer thyself than all ; needs must the Pow'r That made us, and for us this ample world, Be infinitely good, and of his good As liberal and free as infinite;

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

know'st God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree, The only sign of our obedience left Among so many signs of pow'r and rule Conferr’d upon us, and dominion giv'n

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

flow'rs; Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve reply'd: 0 thou for whom And from whom I was form’d flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide 442 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 Pre-eminent 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

how.

[ocr errors]

Cortould del!

Whire sculp!

als i ben denn to look jusí opposite?
e Shape within the watry Gleem appeare,
Bending w look en me

Book 1. line 460.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »