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To whom with healing words Adam replied: “ 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 “ The attempt itself, intended by our foe. “ For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonour foul, supposed “ Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn “ And anger wouldst resent the offered wrong,

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 the assault shall light, “ Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn,“ Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce Angels,-n

--nor think superfluous others' aid. “I, from the influence of thy looks, receive “ Access in every virtue; in thy sight More wise, more watchful; stronger, if need were “ Of outward strength: while shame, thou looking on, “ Shame to be overcome or overreached, “ Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.

Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel When I am present, and thy trial choose

With me, best witness of thy virtue tried?”

So spake domestic Adam, in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewed :

If this be our condition, thus to dwell “ In narrow circuit, straitened by a foe,

Subtle, or violent, we not endued “ 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
“ Foul on himself: then wherefore shunned or feared
“ By us? who rather double honour gain
“From his surmise proved false; find peace within,
“ Favour from Heaven, our witness from the event.
“ And what is faith, love, virtue, unassayed
“ Alone, without exterior help sustained ?
“Let us not then suspect our happy state
“ Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combined.
“ Frail is our happiness, if this be so;
“ And Eden were no Eden, thus exposed.”

To whom thus Adam fervently replied:
“O woman! blest are all things, as the will
“Of God ordained them: his creating hand
“Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created: much less Man,
“Or aught that might his happy state secure-
“Secure from outward force; within himself
“ The danger lies, yet lies within his power:

Against his will he can receive no harm: “ But God left free the will; for what obeys “Reason, is free; and reason he made right, " But bid her well be ware,

and still erect; Lest, by some fair-appearing good surprised, “ She dictate false, and misinform the will “ To do what God expressly hath forbid. “ Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins “ That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me. » Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve ; “ Since reason not impossibly may meet “Some specious object by the foe suborned, And fall into deception unaware, “Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned. “ Seek not temptation then, which to avoid “ Were better, and most likely if from me “ Thou sever not: trial will come unsought. “ Wouldst thou approve thy constancy? approve “ First thy obedience; the other who can know, “ Not seeing thee attempted? who attest?




“ But if thou think trial unsought may find

370 “ U's both securer than, thus warned, thou seemst, “Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more“ Go in thy native innocence, rely On what thou hast of virtue; summon all ! “ For God towards thee hath done his part : do thine."

So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied :

“With thy permission then, and thus forewarned,

Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words “ Touched only; but our trial, when least sought, “May find us both perhaps far less prepared ; “ The willinger I go, nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek: “ So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.”

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand
Soft she withdrew, and like a Wood-nymph light,
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train,
Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self
In gait surpassed, and goddess-like deport,
Though not, as she, with bow and quiver armed, 390
But with such gardening tools as art, yet rude,
Guiltless of fire, had formed, or angels brought.
To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorned,
Likest she seemed-Pomona, when she fled
Vertumnus-or to Ceres in her prime,
Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.

Her long, with ardent look, his eye pursued
Delighted, but desiring more her stay.
Oft he to her his charge of quick return
Repeated : she to him as oft engaged

To be returned by noon amid the bower,
And all things in best order to invite
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.

O, much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve,
Of thy presumed return! event perverse !
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose:
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades,
Waited with hellish rancour imminent



For now,


To intercept thy way, or send thee back
Despoiled of innocence-of faith—of bliss !

and since first break of dawn, the fiend,
Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come;
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find
The only two of mankind, but in them
The whole included race, his purposed prey.
In bower and field he sought, where any tuft
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,
Their tendance, or plantation for delight:
By fountain or by shady rivulet
He sought them both, but wished his hap might find
Eve separate ; he wished, but not with hope
Of what so seldom chanced; when to his wish-
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,
Veiled in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round
About her glowed, oft stooping to support
Each flower of tender stalk, whose head, though gay
Carnation, purple, azure, or specked with gold,
Hung drooping unsustained; them she upstays
Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while
Herself, though fairest unsupported flower,
From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh!
Nearer he drew, and many a walk travérsed
Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm;.
Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen,
Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers
Imbordered on each bank, the hand of Eve!
Spot more delicious than those gardens feigned,
Or of revived Adonis, or renowned
Alcinous, host of old Laërtes' son;
Or that not mystic, where the sapient king
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.

Much he the place admired, the person more.
As one who, long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe
Among the pleasant villages and farms
Adjoined, from each thing met conceives delight-




The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,

450 Or dairy-each rural sight-each rural sound; If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more ; She most, and in her look sums all delight: Such pleasure took the serpent to behold This flowery plat—the sweet recess of Eve Thus early, thus alone. Her heavenly form,-Angelic, but more soft, and feminine,Her graceful innocence, her every air Of gesture, or least action, overawed His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought : That space the evil one abstracted stood From his own evil, and for the time remained Stupidly good; of enmity disarmedOf guile--of hate—of envy-of revenge! But the hot Hell that always in him burns, Though in mid Heaven, soon ended his delight, And tortures him now more, the more he sees Of pleasure, not for him ordained : then soon

470 Fierce hate he recollects; and all his thoughts Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites:

Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what sweet

Compulsion thus transported, to forget “ What hither brought us! hate, not love; nor hope “ Of Paradise for Hell—hope here to taste “ Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy, “ Save what is in destroying : other joy “ To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass “ Occasion which now smiles : behold alone The woman, opportune to all attempts ! “ Her husband (for I view far round) not nigh, “ Whose higher intellectual more I shun,

I And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb “ Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould ; “ Foe not informidable! exempt from wound, “I not; so much hath Hell debased, and pain “ Enfeebled me to what I was in Heaven. " She fair, divinely fair, fit love for Gods!


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