Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

"As high he soared;

"To basest things.

obnoxious, first or last,
Revenge, at first though sweet,

"Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :
"Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed
"(Since higher I fall short) on him who next
"Provokes my envy-this new favourite
"Of Heaven-this man of clay-son of despite;
"Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
"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
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,

His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth
The devil entered; and his brutal sense,

In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.
Now, when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And joined 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, gardening 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 enjoined; but, till more hands
"Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
"Luxurious by restraint: what we by day

170

180

190

200

“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 wind
"The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
"The clasping ivy where to climb; while I,
"In yonder spring of roses intermixed
"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 the hour of supper comes unearned?"
To whom mild answer Adam thus returned:
"Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond

66

Compare above all living creatures dear!

"Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed

"How we might best fulfil the work which here

"God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass

66

Unpraised; 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 imposed "Labour as to debar us, when we need, "Refreshment, whether food, or talk between"Food of the mind-or this sweet intercourse "Of looks or smiles; for smiles from reason flow, "To brute denied, and are of love the food"Love, not the lowest end of human life.

210

220

230

240

"For not to irksome toil, but to delight,

"He made us, and delight to reason joined.

"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.
"But other doubt possesses me, lest harm

"Befall thee severed from me; for thou knowst
"What hath been warned us; what malicious foe,
Envying our happiness, and of his own

66

66

66

'Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame "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 joined, where each "To other speedy aid might lend at need: "Whether his first design be to withdraw "Our feälty from God; or to disturb

66

66

Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss 66 'Enjoyed by us excites his envy more;

"Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side

"That gave thee being, 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,

250

260

270

As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,

With sweet austere composure thus replied:

66

Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's lord!

"That such an enemy we have, who seeks

"Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn, "And from the parting Angel overheard, "As in a shady nook I stood behind,

66

Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. "But that thou shouldst my firmness doubt

"To God, or thee, because we have a foe

66

May tempt it, I expected not to hear.

"His violence thou fearest 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

66

Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love

"Can by his fraud be shaken, or seduced:

66

66

280

Thoughts, which, how found they harbour in thy breast, 'Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?"

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

66

Thy absence from my sight; but to avoid "The attempt itself, intended by our foe.

290

"For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses "The tempted with dishonour foul, supposed

"Not incorruptible of faith, not proof

66

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

66

"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,
-nor think superfluous others' aid.

"I, from the influence of thy looks, receive

300

"Access in every virtue; in thy sight

310

"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 attribúted 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

66

Single with like defence wherever met; "How are we happy, still in fear of harm?

"But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,

66

Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem "Of our integrity: his foul esteem

320

"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

66

"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:

66

Against his will he can receive no harm:

"But God left free the will; for what obeys

66

'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.

330

340

350

"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

360

"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?

« PredošláPokračovať »