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For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd, 130
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe,
In woe then; that destruction wide may range :
To me shall be the glory sole among

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Th'infernal Pow'rs, in one day to have marr’d
What he Almighty styl'd, six nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
Th' angelic name, and thinner left the throng
Of his adorers; he to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd 145
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,

150 With heav'nly spoils, our spoils : What he decreed He effected ; Man he made, and for him built Magnificent this world, and earth his seat, Him Lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity! Subjected to his service Angel wings,

ISS And flaming ministers to watch and tend Their earthly charge : Of these the vigilance I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist

Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry
In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160
The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy folds
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
O foul descent! that I who erst contended
With Gods to sit the high’est, am now constrain'd
Into a beast, and mix'd with bestial slime, 165
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the height of deity aspir’d;
But what will not ambition and revenge
Descend to? Who aspires must down as low
As high he soar'd, obnoxious first or last

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To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils;
Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new fav’rite

175 Of Heav'n, this man of clay, son of despite, Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais'd From dust : spite then with spite is best repaid.

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry, Like a black mist low creeping, he held on 180 His midnight search, where soonest he might find The serpent: him fast sleeping oon he found In labyrinth of many a round self rollid, His head the midst, well stor'd with subtle wiles : Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,

185 Nor nocent yet, but on the grassy herb Fearless unfear'd he slept : in at his mouth The Devil enter'd, and his brutal sense,

In heart or head, possessing soon inspir'd
With act intelligential; but his sleep

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Disturb’d not, waiting close th' approach of morn.
Now when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flow'rs, that breath'd
Their morning incense, when all things that breathe,
From the earth's great altar send up silent praise 195
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And join'd their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs :
Then commune how that day they best may ply
Their growing work: for much their work outgrew
The hands dispatch of two gard’ning so wide,
And Eve first to her husband thus began.
ADAM, well may we labour still to dress

205 This garden, still to tend plant, herb and flower, Our pleasant task enjoin'd, but till more hands Aid us, the work under our labour grows, Luxurious by restraint; what we by day Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind, One night or two with wanton growth derides Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present; Let us divide our labours, thou where choice Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wina The woodbine round this arbour, or direct The clasping ivy where to climb, while I In yonder spring of roses intermix'd

SIO

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With myrtle, find what to redress till noon :
For while so near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our day's work brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of supper comes unearn'd, 225

To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd.
Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear,
Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd
How we might best fulfil the work which here 230
God hath assign'd us, nor of me shalt pass
Unprais’d: for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study household good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos’d

235 Labour, as to debar us when we need Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse Of looks and smiles, for smiles from reason flow, To brute deny'd, and are of love the food,

240 Love not the lowest end of human life. For not to irksome toil, but to delight He made us, and delight to reason join'd. These paths and bow'rs doubt not but our joint hands Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 245 As we need walk, till younger hands ere long Assist us: but if much converse perhaps Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield ;

For solitude sonietimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.

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But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befal thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame

255 By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find His wish and best advantage, us asunder, Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each To other speedy aid might lend at need;

260 Whether his first design be to withdraw Our feälty from God, or to disturb Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more; Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 265 That gave thee be'ing, still shades thee and protects : The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, Who guards her, or with her the worst endures. To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,

270 As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austere composure thus reply'd.

OFFSPRING of Heav'n and Earth, and all Earth's Lord, That such an Enemy we have, who seeks Our ruin, both by thee inform'd I learn, And from the parting Angel over-heard, As in a shady nook I stood behind, Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers.

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