Page images
[blocks in formation]

Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to th' inferual pit I drag thee chain'd,
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facil gates of Hell too slightly barr'd.

Lest on the threshing floor bis hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On t'other side Satan alarm'd
Collecting all his might dilated stood,
Like Teneriff or Atlas unremov'd:
His stature reach'd the sky, and on his crest
Sat Horror plum'd; nor wanted in his grasp
What seem'd both spear and shield: now dread-
ful deeds


Turn'd fiery red, sharp'ning in mooned horns
Their phalanx, and began to hem him round
With ported spears as thick as when a field
Of Ceres ripe for harvest waving bends
Her bearded grove of ears, which way the wind
Sways them; the careful ploughman doubting

Might have ensu'd, nor only Paradise
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of Heav'n, perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wreck, disturb'd and torn
With violence of this conflict, had not soon
Th' Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray
Hung forth in Heav'n his golden scales, yet


Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sigu,
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round earth with balanc'd air
In counterpoise now ponders all events,
Battles and realins: in these he puts two

So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage reply'd :

Then when I am thy captive talk of chains,
Proud limitary cherub, but ere then
Far heavier load thyself expect to feel
From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's

Ride on thy wings, and thou with thy compeers,
Us'd to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels
In progress through the road of Heav'n star-

To trample thee as mire: for proof look up,

While thus he spake, th' angelic squadron | And read thy lot in yon celestial sign,
Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light,
how weak,

If thou resist. The Fiend look'd up, and knew
His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled
Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of


The sequel each of parting and of fight;
The latter quick up flew, and kick'd the beam;
Which Gabriel spying, thus bespake the Fiend:
Satan, I know thy strength, and thou know'st

Neither our own but giv'n; what folly then
To boast what arms can do? since thine no


Than Heav'n permits, nor mine, though doubled now





Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it not, yet comforts her; they come forth to their day labours: their morning hymn at the door of their bower. God to render Man inexcusable sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance describ'd, his coming discern'd by Adam afar off sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at table: Raphael per forms his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates, at Adam's request, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof: how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him.

Now Morn her rosy steps in th' eastern clime |
Advancing, sow'd the Earth with orient pearl,
When Adam wak'd, so custom'd, for his sleep
Was airy light from pure digestion bred,
And temp'rate vapours bland, which th' only

Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos'd, and glowing cheek,
As through unquiet rest: he on his side
Leaning half rais'd, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her band soft touching, whisper'd thus. Awake
My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
Heav'n's last best gift, my ever new delight,
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how


Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the baleny

How Nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startled


On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake :
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I see
Thy face, and morn return'd; for I this night
(Such night till this I never passed) have

Why sleep'st thou Eve? Now is the pleasant time,

By us oft seen; his dewy locks distill'd
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gaz'd;
And O! fair plaut, said he, with fruit sur-
Deigns uone to ease thy load, and taste thy
Nor God, nor Man? is knowledge so despis'd!
Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
Longer thy offer'd good, why else set here?
This said, he paus'd not, but with vent'rous


He pluck'd, he tasted; me damp horror chill'd At such bold words vouch'd with a deed so If dream'd, not as I oft am wont, of thee, bold: Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind But he thus overjoy'd, O fruit divine, Knew never till this irksome night: Methought Sweet of thysef but muca more sweet thus Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk cropt, Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit With gentle voice, I thought it thine; it said, ⠀⠀ Før gods, ¿et able to male gods of men;

The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake

Full orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing

Shadowy sets off the face of things, in vain,
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
If none regard; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment.

I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
Aud on, methought, alone I pass'd through.
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted Knowledge: fair it seem'd,
Much fairer to my faucy than by day :
And as I wond'ring look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from,

And why not gods of men, since good, the That wont to be more cheerful and serene Than when fair Morning first smiles on the world;


Communicated, more abundant grows,
The Author not impair'd, but honor'd more?
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be :
Taste this, and be benceforth among the gods
Thyself a goddess, not to earth confin'd,
But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
Ascend to Heav'n, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live

So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Ev'n to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd; the pleasant savory


So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought, Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds

And let us to our fresh employments rise Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers

Best image of myself and dearer half,
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure. But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds of all external things,
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, airy shapes,
Which Reason joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deuy, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell when Nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams,
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblance methinks I find
Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or man
May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
No spot or blame behind : which gives me hope
That what thou didst in sleep abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks

That open now their choicest bosom'd smells,
Reserv'd from night, and kept for thee in store.
So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was

But silently a gentle tear let fall

From either eye and wip'd them with her hair;
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluce, he ere they fell
Kiss'd as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.

So all was clear'd, and to the field they haste.
But first, from under shady arborous roof
Soon as they forth were come to open sight
Of day-spring, and the sun, who scarce up

With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect
And various wond'ring at my flight and
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk Lowly they bow'd adoring, and began


And fell asleep; but O how glad I wak'd
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answer'd sad :

With wheels yet hovering o'er the ocean brim,
Shot parallel to the earth his dewy ray,
Discovering in wide laudskip all the east
Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains,

Their orisons, each morning duly paid
In various stile; for neither various stile
Nor holy rapture wanted they to praise
Their Maker, in fit strains pronounc'd or sung
Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence
Flow'd from their lips in prose or numerous

[blocks in formation]

Thou Sun, of this great world both eye and To wed her eim; she spous'd about him soul,


Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dow'r th' adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ`d be-

Acknowledge him thy greater, sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gain'd, and when
thou fall'st.

Moon that now meets the orient sun, now

With the fix'd stars, fix'd in their orb that flies,
And ye five other wand'ring fires that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up

Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth

Of nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless

Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye Mists and Exhalations that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with

In honour to the world's great Author rise, Whether to deck with clouds the uncolour'd sky,

Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye Winds, that from four quarters
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops ye

[ocr errors]

With every plaut, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices all ye living Souls; ye Birds,
That singing up to Heaven gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes his

Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread, or slowly creep;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill, or valley, fountain, or fresh shade
Made vocal by my song, and taught


Hail! universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gather'd thought of evil or conceal'd,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.

So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts

Firm peace recover'd soon and wonted calm. On to their morning's rural work they haste Among sweet dews and flow'rs; where any

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]


But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforwarn'd.

So spake the eternal Father, and fulfill'd
All justice: nor delay'd the wing'd Saint
After his charge receiv'd; but from among
Thousand celestial Ardors, where he stood
Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, up springing

Flew through the midst of Heav'n; th'angelic quires,

On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate

Of Heav'n arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sov'reign Architect had fram'd.
From hence, no cloud, or to obstruct his


Star interpos'd, however small he sees,
Not unconforms to other shining globes,

Earth and the gard'n of God, with cedars crown'd

Above all bills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assur'd, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon:
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady

Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air: till within soar
Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A Phoenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to enshrine his reliques in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns
A Seraph wing'd; six wings he wore, to shade Of God inspir'd, small store will serve, where
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his

With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipt in Heav'n; the third his
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he

Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold

Eastward among those trees, what glorious

Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Ris'n on mid-noon; some great behest from

To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And what our stores contain, bring forth and

And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance fill'd

And Eve within, due at her hour prepar'd
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst,
Of nectarous draughts between, from milky


Berry or grape; to whom thus Adam call'd:

[ocr errors]

Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heav'nly stranger: well may we afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestow'd, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburd'ning grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve: Adam, Earth's hallow'd


To entertain our angel guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on earth
God hath dispens'd his bounties as in Heav'n.
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent


Of Angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high in honour rise;
For on some message high they guess'd him

The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the What choice to chuse for delicacy best,
What order so contriv'd as not to mix
Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever Earth all-bearing mother yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where
Alcinus reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough or smooth rin'd, or bearded husk, or

Their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is



Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discern'd, as at the door he sat
Of his cool bow'r, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb,more warmth than Adam


All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and

Each plant and juciest gourd, will pluck such

She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the


She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths From many a berry, and from sweet kernels press'd

She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure, then strows the ground

With rose and odors from the shrub unfum'd. Mean while our primitive great Sire, to meet

|| His god-like guest walks forth, without more


Accompanied than with his own complete

« PreviousContinue »