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John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Book IX (1674)


THE ARGUMENT.

Satan having compast the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, enters into the Serpent sleeping.  Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to thir labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart:  Adam consents not, alledging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarn'd, should attempt her found alone: Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make tryal of her strength: Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle aproach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other Creatures.  Eve wondring to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain Tree in the Garden he attain'd both to Speech and Reason, till then void of each; Eve requires him to bring her to that Tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden: The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleas'd with the taste deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the Fruit, relates what perswaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amaz'd, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass eats also of the Fruit:  The Effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover thir nakedness;  then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

              1NO more of talk where God or Angel Guest
              2With Man, as with his Friend, familiar us'd
              3To sit indulgent, and with him partake
              4Rural repast, permitting him the while
              5Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change
              6Those Notes to Tragic; foul distrust, and breach
              7Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
              8And disobedience: On the part of Heav'n
              9Now alienated, distance and distaste,
            10Anger and just rebuke, and judgement giv'n,
            11That brought into this World a world of woe,
            12Sinne and her shadow Death, and Miserie
            13Deaths Harbinger: Sad task, yet argument
            14Not less but more Heroic then the wrauth
            15Of stern Achilles on his Foe pursu'd
            16Thrice Fugitive about Troy Wall; or rage
            17Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd,
            18Or Neptun's ire or Juno's, that so long
            19Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's Son;
            20If answerable style I can obtaine
            21Of my Celestial Patroness, who deignes
            22Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
            23And dictates to me slumbring, or inspires
            24Easie my unpremeditated Verse:
            25Since first this Subject for Heroic Song
            26Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late;
            27Not sedulous by Nature to indite
            28Warrs, hitherto the onely Argument
            29Heroic deem'd, chief maistrie to dissect
            30With long and tedious havoc fabl'd Knights
            31In Battels feign'd; the better fortitude
            32Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom
            33Unsung; or to describe Races and Games,
            34Or tilting Furniture, emblazon'd Shields,
            35Impreses quaint, Caparisons and Steeds;
            36Bases and tinsel Trappings, gorgious Knights
            37At Joust and Torneament; then marshal'd Feast
            38Serv'd up in Hall with Sewers, and Seneshals;
            39The skill of Artifice or Office mean,
            40Not that which justly gives Heroic name
            41To Person or to Poem.  Mee of these
            42Nor skilld nor studious, higher Argument
            43Remaines, sufficient of it self to raise
            44That name, unless an age too late, or cold
            45Climat, or Years damp my intended wing
            46Deprest, and much they may, if all be mine,
            47Not Hers who brings it nightly to my Ear.

            48The Sun was sunk, and after him the Starr
            49Of Hesperus, whose Office is to bring
            50Twilight upon the Earth, short Arbiter
            51Twixt Day and Night, and now from end to end
            52Nights Hemisphere had veild the Horizon round:
            53When Satan who late fled before the threats
            54Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd
            55In meditated fraud and malice, bent
            56On mans destruction, maugre what might hap
            57Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd.
            58By Night he fled, and at Midnight return'd
            59From compassing the Earth, cautious of day,
            60Since Uriel Regent of the Sun descri'd
            61His entrance, and forewarnd the Cherubim
            62That kept thir watch; thence full of anguish driv'n,
            63The space of seven continu'd Nights he rode
            64With darkness, thrice the Equinoctial Line
            65He circl'd, four times cross'd the Carr of Night
            66From Pole to Pole, traversing each Colure;
            67On the eighth return'd, and on the Coast averse
            68From entrance or Cherubic Watch, by stealth
            69Found unsuspected way.  There was a place,
            70Now not, though Sin, not Time, first wraught the change,
            71Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise
            72Into a Gulf shot under ground, till part
            73Rose up a Fountain by the Tree of Life;
            74In with the River sunk, and with it rose
            75Satan involv'd in rising Mist, then sought
            76Where to lie hid; Sea he had searcht and Land
            77From Eden over Pontus, and the Poole
            78Maotis, up beyond the River Ob;
            79Downward as farr Antartic; and in length
            80West from Orontes to the Ocean barr'd
            81At Darien, thence to the Land where flowes
            82Ganges and Indus: thus the Orb he roam'd
            83With narrow search; and with inspection deep
            84Consider'd every Creature, which of all
            85Most opportune might serve his Wiles, and found
            86The Serpent suttlest Beast of all the Field.
            87Him after long debate, irresolute
            88Of thoughts revolv'd, his final sentence chose
            89Fit Vessel, fittest Imp of fraud, in whom
            90To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
            91From sharpest sight: for in the wilie Snake,
            92Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,
            93As from his wit and native suttletie
            94Proceeding, which in other Beasts observ'd
            95Doubt might beget of Diabolic pow'r
            96Active within beyond the sense of brute.
            97Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward griefe
            98His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd:

            99O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd
          100More justly, Seat worthier of Gods, as built
          101With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
          102For what God after better worse would build?
          103Terrestrial Heav'n, danc't round by other Heav'ns
          104That shine, yet bear thir bright officious Lamps,
          105Light above Light, for thee alone, as seems,
          106In thee concentring all thir precious beams
          107Of sacred influence:  As God in Heav'n
          108Is Center, yet extends to all, so thou
          109Centring receav'st from all those Orbs; in thee,
          110Not in themselves, all thir known vertue appeers
          111Productive in Herb, Plant, and nobler birth
          112Of Creatures animate with gradual life
          113Of Growth, Sense, Reason, all summ'd up in Man.
          114With what delight could I have walkt thee round,
          115If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
          116Of Hill, and Vallie, Rivers, Woods and Plaines,
          117Now Land, now Sea, and Shores with Forrest crownd,
          118Rocks, Dens, and Caves; but I in none of these
          119Find place or refuge; and the more I see
          120Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
          121Torment within me, as from the hateful siege
          122Of contraries; all good to me becomes
          123Bane, and in Heav'n much worse would be my state.
          124But neither here seek I, no nor in Heav'n
          125To dwell, unless by maistring Heav'ns Supreame;
          126Nor hope to be my self less miserable
          127By what I seek, but others to make such
          128As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
          129For onely in destroying I find ease
          130To my relentless thoughts; and him destroyd,
          131Or won to what may work his utter loss,
          132For whom all this was made, all this will soon
          133Follow, as to him linkt in weal or woe,
          134In wo then; that destruction wide may range:
          135To mee shall be the glorie sole among
          136The infernal Powers, in one day to have marr'd
          137What he Almightie styl'd, six Nights and Days
          138Continu'd making, and who knows how long
          139Before had bin contriving, though perhaps
          140Not longer then since I in one Night freed
          141From servitude inglorious welnigh half
          142Th' Angelic Name, and thinner left the throng
          143Of his adorers: hee to be aveng'd,
          144And to repaire his numbers thus impair'd,
          145Whether such vertue spent of old now faild
          146More Angels to Create, if they at least
          147Are his Created, or to spite us more,
          148Determin'd to advance into our room
          149A Creature form'd of Earth, and him endow,
          150Exalted from so base original,
          151With Heav'nly spoils, our spoils: What he decreed
          152He effected; Man he made, and for him built
          153Magnificent this World, and Earth his seat,
          154Him Lord pronounc'd, and, O indignitie!
          155Subjected to his service Angel wings,
          156And flaming Ministers to watch and tend
          157Thir earthy Charge: Of these the vigilance
          158I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist
          159Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and prie
          160In every Bush and Brake, where hap may finde
          161The Serpent sleeping, in whose mazie foulds
          162To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.
          163O foul descent! that I who erst contended
          164With Gods to sit the highest, am now constraind
          165Into a Beast, and mixt with bestial slime,
          166This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
          167That to the hight of Deitie aspir'd;
          168But what will not Ambition and Revenge
          169Descend to? who aspires must down as low
          170As high he soard, obnoxious first or last
          171To basest things.  Revenge, at first though sweet,
          172Bitter ere long back on it self recoiles;
          173Let it; I reck not, so it light well aim'd,
          174Since higher I fall short, on him who next
          175Provokes my envie, this new Favorite
          176Of Heav'n, this Man of Clay, Son of despite,
          177Whom us the more to spite his Maker rais'd
          178From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

          179So saying, through each Thicket Danck or Drie,
          180Like a black mist low creeping, he held on
          181His midnight search, where soonest he might finde
          182The Serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
          183In Labyrinth of many a round self-rowld,
          184His head the midst, well stor'd with suttle wiles:
          185Not yet in horrid Shade or dismal Den,
          186Nor nocent yet, but on the grassie Herbe
          187Fearless unfeard he slept: in at his Mouth
          188The Devil enterd, and his brutal sense,
          189In heart or head, possessing soon inspir'd
          190With act intelligential, but his sleep
          191Disturbd not, waiting close th' approach of Morn.
          192Now when as sacred Light began to dawne
          193In Eden on the humid Flours, that breathd
          194Thir morning incense, when all things that breath,
          195From th' Earths great Altar send up silent praise
          196To the Creator, and his Nostrils fill
          197With grateful Smell, forth came the human pair
          198And joind thir vocal Worship to the Quire
          199Of Creatures wanting voice, that done, partake
          200The season, prime for sweetest Sents and Aires:
          201Then commune how that day they best may ply
          202Thir growing work: for much thir work outgrew
          203The hands dispatch of two Gardning so wide.
          204And Eve first to her Husband thus began.

          205Adam, well may we labour still to dress
          206This Garden, still to tend Plant, Herb and Flour,
          207Our pleasant task enjoyn'd, but till more hands
          208Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
          209Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
          210Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
          211One night or two with wanton growth derides
          212Tending to wilde.  Thou therefore now advise
          213Or hear what to my minde first thoughts present,
          214Let us divide our labours, thou where choice
          215Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
          216The Woodbine round this Arbour, or direct
          217The clasping Ivie where to climb, while I
          218In yonder Spring of Roses intermixt
          219With Myrtle, find what to redress till Noon:
          220For while so near each other thus all day
          221Our taske we choose, what wonder if so near
          222Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
          223Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
          224Our dayes work brought to little, though begun
          225Early, and th' hour of Supper comes unearn'd.

          226To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd.
          227Sole Eve, Associate sole, to me beyond
          228Compare above all living Creatures deare,
          229Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts imployd
          230How we might best fulfill the work which here
          231God hath assign'd us, nor of me shalt pass
          232Unprais'd: for nothing lovelier can be found
          233In Woman, then to studie houshold good,
          234And good workes in her Husband to promote.
          235Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
          236Labour, as to debarr us when we need
          237Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
          238Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
          239Of looks and smiles, for smiles from Reason flow,
          240To brute deni'd, and are of Love the food,
          241Love not the lowest end of human life.
          242For not to irksom toile, but to delight
          243He made us, and delight to Reason joyn'd.
          244These paths & Bowers doubt not but our joynt hands
          245Will keep from Wilderness with ease, as wide
          246As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
          247Assist us: But if much converse perhaps
          248Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield.
          249For solitude somtimes is best societie,
          250And short retirement urges sweet returne.
          251But other doubt possesses me, least harm
          252Befall thee sever'd from me; for thou knowst
          253What hath bin warn'd us, what malicious Foe
          254Envying our happiness, and of his own
          255Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
          256By sly assault; and somwhere nigh at hand
          257Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
          258His wish and best advantage, us asunder,
          259Hopeless to circumvent us joynd, where each
          260To other speedie aide might lend at need;
          261Whether his first design be to withdraw
          262Our fealtie from God, or to disturb
          263Conjugal Love, then which perhaps no bliss
          264Enjoy'd by us excites his envie more;
          265Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
          266That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects.
          267The Wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
          268Safest and seemliest by her Husband staies,
          269Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.

          270To whom the Virgin Majestie of Eve,
          271As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
          272With sweet austeer composure thus reply'd,

          273Ofspring of Heav'n and Earth, and all Earths Lord,
          274That such an Enemie we have, who seeks
          275Our ruin, both by thee informd I learne,
          276And from the parting Angel over-heard
          277As in a shadie nook I stood behind,
          278Just then returnd at shut of Evening Flours.
          279But that thou shouldst my firmness therfore doubt
          280To God or thee, because we have a foe
          281May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
          282His violence thou fearst not, being such,
          283As wee, not capable of death or paine,
          284Can either not receave, or can repell.
          285His fraud is then thy fear, which plain inferrs
          286Thy equal fear that my firm Faith and Love
          287Can by his fraud be shak'n or seduc't;
          288Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy brest
          289Adam, missthought of her to thee so dear?

          290To whom with healing words Adam replyd.
          291Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve,
          292For such thou art, from sin and blame entire:
          293Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
          294Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
          295Th' attempt it self, intended by our Foe.
          296For hee who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
          297The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd
          298Not incorruptible of Faith, not prooff
          299Against temptation: thou thy self with scorne
          300And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
          301Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
          302If such affront I labour to avert
          303From thee alone, which on us both at once
          304The Enemie, though bold, will hardly dare,
          305Or daring, first on mee th' assault shall light.
          306Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
          307Suttle he needs must be, who could seduce
          308Angels, nor think superfluous others aid.
          309I from the influence of thy looks receave
          310Access in every Vertue, in thy sight
          311More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
          312Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
          313Shame to be overcome or over-reacht
          314Would utmost vigor raise, and rais'd unite.
          315Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
          316When I am present, and thy trial choose
          317With me, best witness of thy Vertue tri'd.

          318So spake domestick Adam in his care
          319And Matrimonial Love; but Eve, who thought
          320Less attributed to her Faith sincere,
          321Thus her reply with accent sweet renewd.

          322If this be our condition, thus to dwell
          323In narrow circuit strait'nd by a Foe,
          324Suttle or violent, we not endu'd
          325Single with like defence, wherever met,
          326How are we happie, still in fear of harm?
          327But harm precedes not sin: onely our Foe
          328Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
          329Of our integritie: his foul esteeme
          330Sticks no dishonour on our Front, but turns
          331Foul on himself; then wherefore shund or feard
          332By us? who rather double honour gaine
          333From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within,
          334Favour from Heav'n, our witness from th' event.
          335And what is Faith, Love, Vertue unassaid
          336Alone, without exterior help sustaind?
          337Let us not then suspect our happie State
          338Left so imperfet by the Maker wise,
          339As not secure to single or combin'd.
          340Fraile is our happiness, if this be so,
          341And Eden were no Eden thus expos'd.

          342To whom thus Adam fervently repli'd.
          343O Woman, best are all things as the will
          344Of God ordain'd them, his creating hand
          345Nothing imperfet or deficient left
          346Of all that he Created, much less Man,
          347Or aught that might his happie State secure,
          348Secure from outward force; within himself
          349The danger lies, yet lies within his power:
          350Against his will he can receave no harme.
          351But God left free the Will, for what obeyes
          352Reason, is free, and Reason he made right,
          353But bid her well beware, and still erect,
          354Least by some faire appeering good surpris'd
          355She dictate false, and misinforme the Will
          356To do what God expressly hath forbid.
          357Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoynes,
          358That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.
          359Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
          360Since Reason not impossibly may meet
          361Some specious object by the Foe subornd,
          362And fall into deception unaware,
          363Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd.
          364Seek not temptation then, which to avoide
          365Were better, and most likelie if from mee
          366Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought.
          367Wouldst thou approve thy constancie, approve
          368First thy obedience; th' other who can know,
          369Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
          370But if thou think, trial unsought may finde
          371Us both securer then thus warnd thou seemst,
          372Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;
          373Go in thy native innocence, relie
          374On what thou hast of vertue, summon all,
          375For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.
          376So spake the Patriarch of Mankinde, but Eve
          377Persisted, yet submiss, though last, repli'd.

          378With thy permission then, and thus forewarnd
          379Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words
          380Touchd onely, that our trial, when least sought,
          381May finde us both perhaps farr less prepar'd,
          382The willinger I goe, nor much expect
          383A Foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
          384So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.
          385Thus saying, from her Husbands hand her hand
          386Soft she withdrew, and like a Wood-Nymph light
          387Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's Traine,
          388Betook her to the Groves, but Delia's self
          389In gate surpass'd and Goddess-like deport,
          390Though not as shee with Bow and Quiver armd,
          391But with such Gardning Tools as Art yet rude,
          392Guiltless of fire had formd, or Angels brought.
          393To Pales, or Pomona thus adornd,
          394Likeliest she seemd, Pomona when she fled
          395Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her Prime,
          396Yet Virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
          397Her long with ardent look his Eye pursu'd
          398Delighted, but desiring more her stay.
          399Oft he to her his charge of quick returne
          400Repeated, shee to him as oft engag'd
          401To be returnd by Noon amid the Bowre,
          402And all things in best order to invite
          403Noontide repast, or Afternoons repose.
          404O much deceav'd, much failing, hapless Eve,
          405Of thy presum'd return! event perverse!
          406Thou never from that houre in Paradise
          407Foundst either sweet repast, or sound repose;
          408Such ambush hid among sweet Flours and Shades
          409Waited with hellish rancour imminent
          410To intercept thy way, or send thee back
          411Despoild of Innocence, of Faith, of Bliss.
          412For now, and since first break of dawne the Fiend,
          413Meer Serpent in appearance, forth was come,
          414And on his Quest, where likeliest he might finde
          415The onely two of Mankinde, but in them
          416The whole included Race, his purposd prey.
          417In Bowre and Field he sought, where any tuft
          418Of Grove or Garden-Plot more pleasant lay,
          419Thir tendance or Plantation for delight,
          420By Fountain or by shadie Rivulet
          421He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find
          422Eve separate, he wish'd, but not with hope
          423Of what so seldom chanc'd, when to his wish,
          424Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,
          425Veild in a Cloud of Fragrance, where she stood,
          426Half spi'd, so thick the Roses bushing round
          427About her glowd, oft stooping to support
          428Each Flour of slender stalk, whose head though gay
          429Carnation, Purple, Azure, or spect with Gold,
          430Hung drooping unsustaind, them she upstaies
          431Gently with Mirtle band, mindless the while,
          432Her self, though fairest unsupported Flour,
          433From her best prop so farr, and storm so nigh.
          434Neerer he drew, and many a walk travers'd
          435Of stateliest Covert, Cedar, Pine, or Palme,
          436Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen
          437Among thick-wov'n Arborets and Flours
          438Imborderd on each Bank, the hand of Eve:
          439Spot more delicious then those Gardens feign'd
          440Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renownd
          441Alcinous, host of old Laertes Son,
          442Or that, not Mystic, where the Sapient King
          443Held dalliance with his faire Egyptian Spouse.
          444Much hee the Place admir'd, the Person more.
          445As one who long in populous City pent,
          446Where Houses thick and Sewers annoy the Aire,
          447Forth issuing on a Summers Morn to breathe
          448Among the pleasant Villages and Farmes
          449Adjoynd, from each thing met conceaves delight,
          450The smell of Grain, or tedded Grass, or Kine,
          451Or Dairie, each rural sight, each rural sound;
          452If chance with Nymphlike step fair Virgin pass,
          453What pleasing seemd, for her now pleases more,
          454She most, and in her look summs all Delight.
          455Such Pleasure took the Serpent to behold
          456This Flourie Plat, the sweet recess of Eve
          457Thus earlie, thus alone; her Heav'nly forme
          458Angelic, but more soft, and Feminine,
          459Her graceful Innocence, her every Aire
          460Of gesture or lest action overawd
          461His Malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd
          462His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
          463That space the Evil one abstracted stood
          464From his own evil, and for the time remaind
          465Stupidly good, of enmitie disarm'd,
          466Of guile, of hate, of envie, of revenge;
          467But the hot Hell that alwayes in him burnes,
          468Though in mid Heav'n, soon ended his delight,
          469And tortures him now more, the more he sees
          470Of pleasure not for him ordain'd: then soon
          471Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts
          472Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.

          473Thoughts, whither have ye led me, with what sweet
          474Compulsion thus transported to forget
          475What hither brought us, hate, not love, nor hope
          476Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
          477Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy,
          478Save what is in destroying, other joy
          479To me is lost.  Then let me not let pass
          480Occasion which now smiles, behold alone
          481The Woman, opportune to all attempts,
          482Her Husband, for I view far round, not nigh,
          483Whose higher intellectual more I shun,
          484And strength, of courage hautie, and of limb
          485Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould,
          486Foe not informidable, exempt from wound,
          487I not; so much hath Hell debas'd, and paine
          488Infeebl'd me, to what I was in Heav'n.
          489Shee fair, divinely fair, fit Love for Gods,
          490Not terrible, though terrour be in Love
          491And beautie, not approacht by stronger hate,
          492Hate stronger, under shew of Love well feign'd,
          493The way which to her ruin now I tend.

          494So spake the Enemie of Mankind, enclos'd
          495In Serpent, Inmate bad, and toward Eve
          496Address'd his way, not with indented wave,
          497Prone on the ground, as since, but on his reare,
          498Circular base of rising foulds, that tour'd
          499Fould above fould a surging Maze, his Head
          500Crested aloft, and Carbuncle his Eyes;
          501With burnisht Neck of verdant Gold, erect
          502Amidst his circling Spires, that on the grass
          503Floted redundant: pleasing was his shape,
          504And lovely, never since of Serpent kind
          505Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
          506Hermione and Cadmus, or the God
          507In Epidaurus; nor to which transformd
          508Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen,
          509Hee with Olympias, this with her who bore
          510Scipio the highth of Rome.  With tract oblique
          511At first, as one who sought access, but feard
          512To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
          513As when a Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought
          514Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland, where the Wind
          515Veres oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her Saile;
          516So varied hee, and of his tortuous Traine
          517Curld many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,
          518To lure her Eye; shee busied heard the sound
          519Of rusling Leaves, but minded not, as us'd
          520To such disport before her through the Field,
          521From every Beast, more duteous at her call,
          522Then at Circean call the Herd disguis'd.
          523Hee boulder now, uncall'd before her stood;
          524But as in gaze admiring: Oft he bowd
          525His turret Crest, and sleek enamel'd Neck,
          526Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon she trod.
          527His gentle dumb expression turnd at length
          528The Eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad
          529Of her attention gaind, with Serpent Tongue
          530Organic, or impulse of vocal Air,
          531His fraudulent temptation thus began.

          532Wonder not, sovran Mistress, if perhaps
          533Thou canst, who art sole Wonder, much less arm
          534Thy looks, the Heav'n of mildness, with disdain,
          535Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze
          536Insatiate, I thus single, nor have feard
          537Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir'd.
          538Fairest resemblance of thy Maker faire,
          539Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine
          540By gift, and thy Celestial Beautie adore
          541With ravishment beheld, there best beheld
          542Where universally admir'd; but here
          543In this enclosure wild, these Beasts among,
          544Beholders rude, and shallow to discerne
          545Half what in thee is fair, one man except,
          546Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen
          547A Goddess among Gods, ador'd and serv'd
          548By Angels numberless, thy daily Train.

          549So gloz'd the Tempter, and his Proem tun'd;
          550Into the Heart of Eve his words made way,
          551Though at the voice much marveling; at length
          552Not unamaz'd she thus in answer spake.
          553What may this mean?  Language of Man pronounc't
          554By Tongue of Brute, and human sense exprest?
          555The first at lest of these I thought deni'd
          556To Beasts, whom God on thir Creation-Day
          557Created mute to all articulat sound;
          558The latter I demurre, for in thir looks
          559Much reason, and in thir actions oft appeers.
          560Thee, Serpent, suttlest beast of all the field
          561I knew, but not with human voice endu'd;
          562Redouble then this miracle, and say,
          563How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how
          564To me so friendly grown above the rest
          565Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight?
          566Say, for such wonder claims attention due.

          567To whom the guileful Tempter thus reply'd.
          568Empress of this fair World, resplendent Eve,
          569Easie to mee it is to tell thee all
          570What thou commandst, and right thou shouldst be obeyd:
          571I was at first as other Beasts that graze
          572The trodden Herb, of abject thoughts and low,
          573As was my food, nor aught but food discern'd
          574Or Sex, and apprehended nothing high:
          575Till on a day roaving the field, I chanc'd
          576A goodly Tree farr distant to behold
          577Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mixt,
          578Ruddie and Gold: I nearer drew to gaze;
          579When from the boughes a savorie odour blow'n,
          580Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense
          581Then smell of sweetest Fenel or the Teats
          582Of Ewe or Goat dropping with Milk at Eevn,
          583Unsuckt of Lamb or Kid, that tend thir play.
          584To satisfie the sharp desire I had
          585Of tasting those fair Apples, I resolv'd
          586Not to deferr; hunger and thirst at once,
          587Powerful perswaders, quick'nd at the scent
          588Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keene.
          589About the mossie Trunk I wound me soon,
          590For high from ground the branches would require
          591Thy utmost reach or Adams: Round the Tree
          592All other Beasts that saw, with like desire
          593Longing and envying stood, but could not reach.
          594Amid the Tree now got, where plenty hung
          595Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
          596I spar'd not, for such pleasure till that hour
          597At Feed or Fountain never had I found.
          598Sated at length, ere long I might perceave
          599Strange alteration in me, to degree
          600Of Reason in my inward Powers, and Speech
          601Wanted not long, though to this shape retain'd.
          602Thenceforth to Speculations high or deep
          603I turnd my thoughts, and with capacious mind
          604Considerd all things visible in Heav'n,
          605Or Earth, or Middle, all things fair and good;
          606But all that fair and good in thy Divine
          607Semblance, and in thy Beauties heav'nly Ray
          608United I beheld; no Fair to thine
          609Equivalent or second, which compel'd
          610Mee thus, though importune perhaps, to come
          611And gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd
          612Sovran of Creatures, universal Dame.

          613So talk'd the spirited sly Snake; and Eve
          614Yet more amaz'd unwarie thus reply'd.

          615Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt
          616The vertue of that Fruit, in thee first prov'd:
          617But say, where grows the Tree, from hence how far?
          618For many are the Trees of God that grow
          619In Paradise, and various, yet unknown
          620To us, in such aboundance lies our choice,
          621As leaves a greater store of Fruit untoucht,
          622Still hanging incorruptible, till men
          623Grow up to thir provision, and more hands
          624Help to disburden Nature of her Bearth.

          625To whom the wilie Adder, blithe and glad.
          626Empress, the way is readie, and not long,
          627Beyond a row of Myrtles, on a Flat,
          628Fast by a Fountain, one small Thicket past
          629Of blowing Myrrh and Balme; if thou accept
          630My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon.

          631Lead then, said Eve.  Hee leading swiftly rowld
          632In tangles, and made intricate seem strait,
          633To mischief swift.  Hope elevates, and joy
          634Bright'ns his Crest, as when a wandring Fire,
          635Compact of unctuous vapor, which the Night
          636Condenses, and the cold invirons round,
          637Kindl'd through agitation to a Flame,
          638Which oft, they say, some evil Spirit attends
          639Hovering and blazing with delusive Light,
          640Misleads th' amaz'd Night-wanderer from his way
          641To Boggs and Mires, and oft through Pond or Poole,
          642There swallow'd up and lost, from succour farr.
          643So glister'd the dire Snake, and into fraud
          644Led Eve our credulous Mother, to the Tree
          645Of prohibition, root of all our woe;
          646Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake.

          647Serpent, we might have spar'd our coming hither,
          648Fruitless to mee, though Fruit be here to excess,
          649The credit of whose vertue rest with thee,
          650Wondrous indeed, if cause of such effects.
          651But of this Tree we may not taste nor touch;
          652God so commanded, and left that Command
          653Sole Daughter of his voice; the rest, we live
          654Law to our selves, our Reason is our Law.

          655To whom the Tempter guilefully repli'd.
          656Indeed? hath God then said that of the Fruit
          657Of all these Garden Trees ye shall not eate,
          658Yet Lords declar'd of all in Earth or Aire?

          659To whom thus Eve yet sinless. Of the Fruit
          660Of each Tree in the Garden we may eate,
          661But of the Fruit of this fair Tree amidst
          662The Garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eate
          663Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, least ye die.

          664She scarse had said, though brief, when now more bold
          665The Tempter, but with shew of Zeale and Love
          666To Man, and indignation at his wrong,
          667New part puts on, and as to passion mov'd,
          668Fluctuats disturbd, yet comely and in act
          669Rais'd, as of som great matter to begin.
          670As when of old som Orator renound
          671In Athens or free Rome, where Eloquence
          672Flourishd, since mute, to som great cause addrest,
          673Stood in himself collected, while each part,
          674Motion, each act won audience ere the tongue,
          675Somtimes in highth began, as no delay
          676Of Preface brooking through his Zeal of Right.
          677So standing, moving, or to highth upgrown
          678The Tempter all impassiond thus began.

          679O Sacred, Wise, and Wisdom-giving Plant,
          680Mother of Science, Now I feel thy Power
          681Within me cleere, not onely to discerne
          682Things in thir Causes, but to trace the wayes
          683Of highest Agents, deemd however wise.
          684Queen of this Universe, doe not believe
          685Those rigid threats of Death; ye shall not Die:
          686How should ye? by the Fruit? it gives you Life
          687To Knowledge? By the Threatner, look on mee,
          688Mee who have touch'd and tasted, yet both live,
          689And life more perfet have attaind then Fate
          690Meant mee, by ventring higher then my Lot.
          691Shall that be shut to Man, which to the Beast
          692Is open? or will God incense his ire
          693For such a petty Trespass, and not praise
          694Rather your dauntless vertue, whom the pain
          695Of Death denounc't, whatever thing Death be,
          696Deterrd not from atchieving what might leade
          697To happier life, knowledge of Good and Evil;
          698Of good, how just? of evil, if what is evil
          699Be real, why not known, since easier shunnd?
          700God therefore cannot hurt ye, and be just;
          701Not just, not God; not feard then, nor obeyd:
          702Your feare it self of Death removes the feare.
          703Why then was this forbid?  Why but to awe,
          704Why but to keep ye low and ignorant,
          705His worshippers; he knows that in the day
          706Ye Eate thereof, your Eyes that seem so cleere,
          707Yet are but dim, shall perfetly be then
          708Op'nd and cleerd, and ye shall be as Gods,
          709Knowing both Good and Evil as they know.
          710That ye should be as Gods, since I as Man,
          711Internal Man, is but proportion meet,
          712I of brute human, yee of human Gods.
          713So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off
          714Human, to put on Gods, death to be wisht,
          715Though threat'nd, which no worse then this can bring.
          716And what are Gods that Man may not become
          717As they, participating God-like food?
          718The Gods are first, and that advantage use
          719On our belief, that all from them proceeds;
          720I question it, for this fair Earth I see,
          721Warm'd by the Sun, producing every kind,
          722Them nothing: If they all things, who enclos'd
          723Knowledge of Good and Evil in this Tree,
          724That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains
          725Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies
          726Th' offence, that Man should thus attain to know?
          727What can your knowledge hurt him, or this Tree
          728Impart against his will if all be his?
          729Or is it envie, and can envie dwell
          730In heav'nly breasts? these, these and many more
          731Causes import your need of this fair Fruit.
          732Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste.

          733He ended, and his words replete with guile
          734Into her heart too easie entrance won:
          735Fixt on the Fruit she gaz'd, which to behold
          736Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound
          737Yet rung of his perswasive words, impregn'd
          738With Reason, to her seeming, and with Truth;
          739Mean while the hour of Noon drew on, and wak'd
          740An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell
          741So savorie of that Fruit, which with desire,
          742Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,
          743Sollicited her longing eye; yet first
          744Pausing a while, thus to her self she mus'd.

          745Great are thy Vertues, doubtless, best of Fruits,
          746Though kept from Man, and worthy to be admir'd,
          747Whose taste, too long forborn, at first assay
          748Gave elocution to the mute, and taught
          749The Tongue not made for Speech to speak thy praise:
          750Thy praise hee also who forbids thy use,
          751Conceales not from us, naming thee the Tree
          752Of Knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil;
          753Forbids us then to taste, but his forbidding
          754Commends thee more, while it inferrs the good
          755By thee communicated, and our want:
          756For good unknown, sure is not had, or had
          757And yet unknown, is as not had at all.
          758In plain then, what forbids he but to know,
          759Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise?
          760Such prohibitions binde not.  But if Death
          761Bind us with after-bands, what profits then
          762Our inward freedom?  In the day we eate
          763Of this fair Fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
          764How dies the Serpent? hee hath eat'n and lives,
          765And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns,
          766Irrational till then.  For us alone
          767Was death invented? or to us deni'd
          768This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd?
          769For Beasts it seems: yet that one Beast which first
          770Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy
          771The good befall'n him, Author unsuspect,
          772Friendly to man, farr from deceit or guile.
          773What fear I then, rather what know to feare
          774Under this ignorance of good and Evil,
          775Of God or Death, of Law or Penaltie?
          776Here grows the Cure of all, this Fruit Divine,
          777Fair to the Eye, inviting to the Taste,
          778Of vertue to make wise: what hinders then
          779To reach, and feed at once both Bodie and Mind?

          780So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
          781Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck'd, she eat:
          782Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
          783Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
          784That all was lost.  Back to the Thicket slunk
          785The guiltie Serpent, and well might, for Eve
          786Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else
          787Regarded, such delight till then, as seemd,
          788In Fruit she never tasted, whether true
          789Or fansied so, through expectation high
          790Of knowledg, nor was God-head from her thought.
          791Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
          792And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length,
          793And hight'nd as with Wine, jocond and boon,
          794Thus to her self she pleasingly began.

          795O Sovran, vertuous, precious of all Trees
          796In Paradise, of operation blest
          797To Sapience, hitherto obscur'd, infam'd,
          798And thy fair Fruit let hang, as to no end
          799Created; but henceforth my early care,
          800Not without Song, each Morning, and due praise
          801Shall tend thee, and the fertil burden ease
          802Of thy full branches offer'd free to all;
          803Till dieted by thee I grow mature
          804In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know;
          805Though others envie what they cannot give;
          806For had the gift bin theirs, it had not here
          807Thus grown.  Experience, next to thee I owe,
          808Best guide; not following thee, I had remaind
          809In ignorance, thou op'nst Wisdoms way,
          810And giv'st access, though secret she retire.
          811And I perhaps am secret; Heav'n is high,
          812High and remote to see from thence distinct
          813Each thing on Earth; and other care perhaps
          814May have diverted from continual watch
          815Our great Forbidder, safe with all his Spies
          816About him.  But to Adam in what sort
          817Shall I appeer? shall I to him make known
          818As yet my change, and give him to partake
          819Full happiness with mee, or rather not,
          820But keep the odds of Knowledge in my power
          821Without Copartner? so to add what wants
          822In Femal Sex, the more to draw his Love,
          823And render me more equal, and perhaps,
          824A thing not undesireable, somtime
          825Superior; for inferior who is free?
          826This may be well: but what if God have seen,
          827And Death ensue? then I shall be no more,
          828And Adam wedded to another Eve,
          829Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;
          830A death to think.  Confirm'd then I resolve;
          831Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
          832So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
          833I could endure, without him live no life.

          834So saying, from the Tree her step she turnd,
          835But first low Reverence don, as to the power
          836That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd
          837Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd
          838From Nectar, drink of Gods.  Adam the while
          839Waiting desirous her return, had wove
          840Of choicest Flours a Garland to adorne
          841Her Tresses, and her rural labours crown,
          842As Reapers oft are wont thir Harvest Queen.
          843Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new
          844Solace in her return, so long delay'd;
          845Yet oft his heart, divine of somthing ill,
          846Misgave him; hee the faultring measure felt;
          847And forth to meet her went, the way she took
          848That Morn when first they parted; by the Tree
          849Of Knowledge he must pass, there he her met,
          850Scarse from the Tree returning; in her hand
          851A bough of fairest fruit that downie smil'd,
          852New gatherd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
          853To him she hasted, in her face excuse
          854Came Prologue, and Apologie to prompt,
          855Which with bland words at will she thus addrest.

          856Hast thou not wonderd, Adam, at my stay?
          857Thee I have misst, and thought it long, depriv'd
          858Thy presence, agonie of love till now
          859Not felt, nor shall be twice, for never more
          860Mean I to trie, what rash untri'd I sought,
          861The pain of absence from thy sight.  But strange
          862Hath bin the cause, and wonderful to heare:
          863This Tree is not as we are told, a Tree
          864Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown
          865Op'ning the way, but of Divine effect
          866To open Eyes, and make them Gods who taste;
          867And hath bin tasted such: the Serpent wise,
          868Or not restraind as wee, or not obeying,
          869Hath eat'n of the fruit, and is become,
          870Not dead, as we are threatn'd, but thenceforth
          871Endu'd with human voice and human sense,
          872Reasoning to admiration, and with mee
          873Perswasively hath so prevaild, that I
          874Have also tasted, and have also found
          875Th' effects to correspond, opener mine Eyes,
          876Dimm erst, dilated Spirits, ampler Heart,
          877And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
          878Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
          879For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss,
          880Tedious, unshar'd with thee, and odious soon.
          881Thou therefore also taste, that equal Lot
          882May joyne us, equal joy, as equal Love;
          883Least thou not tasting, different degree
          884Disjoyne us, and I then too late renounce
          885Deitie for thee, when Fate will not permit.

          886Thus Eve with Countnance blithe her storie told;
          887But in her Cheek distemper flushing glowd.
          888On th' other side, Adam, soon as he heard
          889The fatal Trespass don by Eve, amaz'd,
          890Astonied stood and Blank, while horror chill
          891Ran through his veins, and all his joynts relax'd;
          892From his slack hand the Garland wreath'd for Eve
          893Down drop'd, and all the faded Roses shed:
          894Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length
          895First to himself he inward silence broke.

          896O fairest of Creation, last and best
          897Of all Gods works, Creature in whom excell'd
          898Whatever can to sight or thought be formd,
          899Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
          900How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
          901Defac't, deflourd, and now to Death devote?
          902Rather how hast thou yeelded to transgress
          903The strict forbiddance, how to violate
          904The sacred Fruit forbidd'n! som cursed fraud
          905Of Enemie hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown,
          906And mee with thee hath ruind, for with thee
          907Certain my resolution is to Die;
          908How can I live without thee, how forgoe
          909Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn'd,
          910To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn?
          911Should God create another Eve, and I
          912Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee
          913Would never from my heart; no no, I feel
          914The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
          915Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
          916Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.
          917So having said, as one from sad dismay
          918Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbd
          919Submitting to what seemd remediless,
          920Thus in calm mood his Words to Eve he turnd.

          921Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventrous Eve,
          922And peril great provok't, who thus hath dar'd
          923Had it been onely coveting to Eye
          924That sacred Fruit, sacred to abstinence,
          925Much more to taste it under banne to touch.
          926But past who can recall, or don undoe?
          927Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate, yet so
          928Perhaps thou shalt not Die, perhaps the Fact
          929Is not so hainous now, foretasted Fruit,
          930Profan'd first by the Serpent, by him first
          931Made common and unhallowd ere our taste;
          932Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,
          933Lives, as thou saidst, and gaines to live as Man
          934Higher degree of Life, inducement strong
          935To us, as likely tasting to attaine
          936Proportional ascent, which cannot be
          937But to be Gods, or Angels Demi-gods.
          938Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
          939Though threatning, will in earnest so destroy
          940Us his prime Creatures, dignifi'd so high,
          941Set over all his Works, which in our Fall,
          942For us created, needs with us must faile,
          943Dependent made; so God shall uncreate,
          944Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour loose,
          945Not well conceav'd of God, who though his Power
          946Creation could repeate, yet would be loath
          947Us to abolish, least the Adversary
          948Triumph and say; Fickle their State whom God
          949Most Favors, who can please him long; Mee first
          950He ruind, now Mankind; whom will he next?
          951Matter of scorne, not to be given the Foe,
          952However I with thee have fixt my Lot,
          953Certain to undergoe like doom, if Death
          954Consort with thee, Death is to mee as Life;
          955So forcible within my beart I feel
          956The Bond of Nature draw me to my owne,
          957My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
          958Our State cannot be severd, we are one,
          959One Flesh; to loose thee were to loose my self.

          960So Adam, and thus Eve to him repli'd.
          961O glorious trial of exceeding Love,
          962Illustrious evidence, example high!
          963Ingaging me to emulate, but short
          964Of thy perfection, how shall I attaine,
          965Adam, from whose deare side I boast me sprung,
          966And gladly of our Union heare thee speak,
          967One Heart, one Soul in both; whereof good prooff
          968This day affords, declaring thee resolvd,
          969Rather then Death or aught then Death more dread
          970Shall separate us, linkt in Love so deare,
          971To undergoe with mee one Guilt, one Crime,
          972If any be, of tasting this fair Fruit,
          973Whose vertue, for of good still good proceeds,
          974Direct, or by occasion hath presented
          975This happie trial of thy Love, which else
          976So eminently never had bin known.
          977Were it I thought Death menac't would ensue
          978This my attempt, I would sustain alone
          979The worst, and not perswade thee, rather die
          980Deserted, then oblige thee with a fact
          981Pernicious to thy Peace, chiefly assur'd
          982Remarkably so late of thy so true,
          983So faithful Love unequald; but I feel
          984Farr otherwise th' event, not Death, but Life
          985Augmented, op'nd Eyes, new Hopes, new Joyes,
          986Taste so Divine, that what of sweet before
          987Hath toucht my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh.
          988On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
          989And fear of Death deliver to the Windes.

          990So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy
          991Tenderly wept, much won that he his Love
          992Had so enobl'd, as of choice to incurr
          993Divine displeasure for her sake, or Death.
          994In recompence (for such compliance bad
          995Such recompence best merits) from the bough
          996She gave him of that fair enticing Fruit
          997With liberal hand: he scrupl'd not to eat
          998Against his better knowledge, not deceav'd,
          999But fondly overcome with Femal charm.
        1000Earth trembl'd from her entrails, as again
        1001In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan,
        1002Skie lowr'd and muttering Thunder, som sad drops
        1003Wept at compleating of the mortal Sin
        1004Original; while Adam took no thought,
        1005Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate
        1006Her former trespass fear'd, the more to soothe
        1007Him with her lov'd societie, that now
        1008As with new Wine intoxicated both
        1009They swim in mirth, and fansie that they feel
        1010Divinitie within them breeding wings
        1011Wherewith to scorne the Earth: but that false Fruit
        1012Farr other operation first displaid,
        1013Carnal desire enflaming, hee on Eve
        1014Began to cast lascivious Eyes, she him
        1015As wantonly repaid; in Lust they burne:
        1016Till Adam thus'gan Eve to dalliance move,

        1017Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
        1018And elegant, of Sapience no small part,
        1019Since to each meaning savour we apply,
        1020And Palate call judicious; I the praise
        1021Yeild thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
        1022Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
        1023From this delightful Fruit, nor known till now
        1024True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
        1025In things to us forbidden, it might be wish'd,
        1026For this one Tree had bin forbidden ten.
        1027But come, so well refresh't, now let us play,
        1028As meet is, after such delicious Fare;
        1029For never did thy Beautie since the day
        1030I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd
        1031With all perfections, so enflame my sense
        1032With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now
        1033Then ever, bountie of this vertuous Tree.

        1034So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
        1035Of amorous intent, well understood
        1036Of Eve, whose Eye darted contagious Fire.
        1037Her hand he seis'd, and to a shadie bank,
        1038Thick overhead with verdant roof imbowr'd
        1039He led her nothing loath; Flours were the Couch,
        1040Pansies, and Violets, and Asphodel,
        1041And Hyacinth, Earths freshest softest lap.
        1042There they thir fill of Love and Loves disport
        1043Took largely, of thir mutual guilt the Seale,
        1044The solace of thir sin, till dewie sleep
        1045Oppress'd them, wearied with thir amorous play.
        1046Soon as the force of that fallacious Fruit,
        1047That with exhilerating vapour bland
        1048About thir spirits had plaid, and inmost powers
        1049Made erre, was now exhal'd, and grosser sleep
        1050Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
        1051Encumberd, now had left them, up they rose
        1052As from unrest, and each the other viewing,
        1053Soon found thir Eyes how op'nd, and thir minds
        1054How dark'nd; innocence, that as a veile
        1055Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gon,
        1056Just confidence, and native righteousness
        1057And honour from about them, naked left
        1058To guiltie shame hee cover'd, but his Robe
        1059Uncover'd more, so rose the Danite strong
        1060Herculean Samson from the Harlot-lap
        1061Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd
        1062Shorn of his strength, They destitute and bare
        1063Of all thir vertue: silent, and in face
        1064Confounded long they sate, as struck'n mute,
        1065Till Adam, though not less then Eve abash't,
        1066At length gave utterance to these words constraind.

        1067Eve, in evil hour thou didst give eare
        1068To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught
        1069To counterfet Mans voice, true in our Fall,
        1070False in our promis'd Rising; since our Eyes
        1071Op'nd we find indeed, and find we know
        1072Both Good and Evil, Good lost, and Evil got,
        1073Bad Fruit of Knowledge, if this be to know,
        1074Which leaves us naked thus, of Honour void,
        1075Of Innocence, of Faith, of Puritie,
        1076Our wonted Ornaments now soild and staind,
        1077And in our Faces evident the signes
        1078Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store;
        1079Even shame, the last of evils; of the first
        1080Be sure then.  How shall I behold the face
        1081Henceforth of God or Angel, earst with joy
        1082And rapture so oft beheld? those heav'nly shapes
        1083Will dazle now this earthly, with thir blaze
        1084Insufferably bright.  O might I here
        1085In solitude live savage, in some glade
        1086Obscur'd, where highest Woods impenetrable
        1087To Starr or Sun-light, spread thir umbrage broad
        1088And brown as Evening: Cover me ye Pines,
        1089Ye Cedars, with innumerable boughs
        1090Hide me, where I may never see them more.
        1091But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
        1092What best may from the present serve to hide
        1093The Parts of each for other, that seem most
        1094To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen,
        1095Some Tree whose broad smooth Leaves together sowd,
        1096And girded on our loyns, may cover round
        1097Those middle parts, that this new commer, Shame,
        1098There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.

        1099So counsel'd hee, and both together went
        1100Into the thickest Wood, there soon they chose
        1101The Figtree, not that kind for Fruit renown'd,
        1102But such as at this day to Indians known
        1103In Malabar or Decan spreds her Armes
        1104Braunching so broad and long, that in the ground
        1105The bended Twigs take root, and Daughters grow
        1106About the Mother Tree, a Pillard shade
        1107High overarch't, and echoing Walks between;
        1108There oft the Indian Herdsman shunning heate
        1109Shelters in coole, and tends his pasturing Herds
        1110At Loopholes cut through thickest shade: Those Leaves
        1111They gatherd, broad as Amazonian Targe,
        1112And with what skill they had, together sowd,
        1113To gird thir waste, vain Covering if to hide
        1114Thir guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike
        1115To that first naked Glorie.  Such of late
        1116Columbus found th' American so girt
        1117With featherd Cincture, naked else and wilde
        1118Among the Trees on Iles and woodie Shores.
        1119Thus fenc't, and as they thought, thir shame in part
        1120Coverd, but not at rest or ease of Mind,
        1121They sate them down to weep, nor onely Teares
        1122Raind at thir Eyes, but high Winds worse within
        1123Began to rise, high Passions, Anger, Hate,
        1124Mistrust, Suspicion, Discord, and shook sore
        1125Thir inward State of Mind, calm Region once
        1126And full of Peace, now tost and turbulent:
        1127For Understanding rul'd not, and the Will
        1128Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
        1129To sensual Appetite, who from beneathe
        1130Usurping over sovran Reason claimd
        1131Superior sway: from thus distemperd brest,
        1132Adam, estrang'd in look and alterd stile,
        1133Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewd.

        1134Would thou hadst heark'nd to my words, and stai'd
        1135With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
        1136Desire of wandring this unhappie Morn,
        1137I know not whence possessd thee; we had then
        1138Remaind still happie, not as now, despoild
        1139Of all our good, sham'd, naked, miserable.
        1140Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve
        1141The Faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
        1142Such proof, conclude, they then begin to faile.

        1143To whom soon mov'd with touch of blame thus Eve.
        1144What words have past thy Lips, Adam severe,
        1145Imput'st thou that to my default, or will
        1146Of wandring, as thou call'st it, which who knows
        1147But might as ill have happ'nd thou being by,
        1148Or to thy self perhaps: hadst thou been there,
        1149Or here th' attempt, thou couldst not have discernd
        1150Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake;
        1151No ground of enmitie between us known,
        1152Why hee should mean me ill, or seek to harme,
        1153Was I to have never parted from thy side?
        1154As good have grown there still a liveless Rib.
        1155Being as I am, why didst not thou the Head
        1156Command me absolutely not to go,
        1157Going into such danger as thou saidst?
        1158Too facil then thou didst not much gainsay,
        1159Nay didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
        1160Hadst thou bin firm and fixt in thy dissent,
        1161Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with mee.

        1162To whom then first incenst Adam repli'd,
        1163Is this the Love, is this the recompence
        1164Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, exprest
        1165Immutable when thou wert lost, not I,
        1166Who might have liv'd and joyd immortal bliss,
        1167Yet willingly chose rather Death with thee:
        1168And am I now upbraided, as the cause
        1169Of thy transgressing? not enough severe,
        1170It seems, in thy restraint: what could I more?
        1171I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
        1172The danger, and the lurking Enemie
        1173That lay in wait; beyond this had bin force,
        1174And force upon free will hath here no place.
        1175But confidence then bore thee on, secure
        1176Either to meet no danger, or to finde
        1177Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
        1178I also err'd in overmuch admiring
        1179What seemd in thee so perfet, that I thought
        1180No evil durst attempt thee, but I rue
        1181That errour now, which is become my crime,
        1182And thou th' accuser.  Thus it shall befall
        1183Him who to worth in Women overtrusting
        1184Lets her will rule; restraint she will not brook,
        1185And left to her self, if evil thence ensue,
        1186Shee first his weak indulgence will accuse.

        1187Thus they in mutual accusation spent
        1188The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,
        1189And of thir vain contest appeer'd no end.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
First publication date: 1667
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2002
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/9

Composition date: 1650 - 1665
Composition date note: Transcription courtesy of Roy Flannagan.
Rhyme: unrhyming


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