Imatges de pàgina
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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 flowers, that breath'd
Their morning incense, when all things that breathe,
From th' Earth's great alıar send up silent praise
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 outgiew
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
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower,
Our pleasant task injoin'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 crop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
Or bear what to my mind first thoughts present;
Let us divide our labours, thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind

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The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,
In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon:
For while so near each other thus all day
Our task we chuse, 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.

To whom mild answer Adam :hus 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 besi fulfil the work which here 2 jo
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
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 bowers doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide

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 sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return. 250
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befal thee sever'd from me ; for tlou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and some where 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;

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Whether his first design be 10 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
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.
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe

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May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd; [breast,
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear ?

To whom with healing words Adam reply'd: 290 Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve, For such thou art, from sin and blame entire: Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid Th’ attempt itself, intended by our foe. For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonour foul, supposid Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Against temptation: thou thy self with scorn And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong, 300 Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then, If such affront I labour to avert From thee alone, which on us both at once The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare, Or daring, first on me th' assault shall light,

Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others aid.
I from the influence of ihy looks receive
Access in every virtue, in thy sight

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More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd
Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial chuse
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd ?

So spake domestic Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,

320 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd:

If this be our condition, thus to dwell In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe, Subtle or violent, we not indued Single with like defence, wherever met, How are we happy, still in fear of harm? But harm precedes not sin: only our foe Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem Of our integrity: his foul esteem Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 330 Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or fear'd By us ? who rather double honour gain From his surmise proy'd false, find peace within, Favour from Heav!n, our witness from th' event,

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