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To first of women Eve thus moving speech,
Turn'd him all ear to hear new utterance flow.
Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thy self than all, needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite,
That rais'd us from the dust and plac'd us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only Tree
Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life;
So near grows death to life; whate'er death is,
Somedreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st
God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:
But let us ever praise him and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task [ers;
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flow-
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou, for whom And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head, what thou hast said is just and right: For we to him indeed all praises owe, And daily thanks ; I chiefly, who enjoy So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Preeminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thy self canst no where find. That day I oft remember, when from sleep I first awak'd, and found my self repos'd Under a shade on flow'rs, much wond'ring where And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound Of waters issu'd from a cave, and spread Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd, Pure as th' expanse of heav'n ;- I thither went With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite A shape within the wat'ry gleam appear'd Bending to look on me: I started back,
451 on] The second ed. reads of flowers,' but Tickell, Fenton, Bentley, and Newton, read after the first edition.
459 lake] Compare Ov. Met. iii. 457. Newton.
161 A shape] Compare the Sarcotis of Masenius, lib. iii. p. 130, ed. Barbou, describing Sarcothea :
* stetit obvia fonti
Virgo, novasque freto miratur crescere siivas.
Ipsa etiam propriæ spectans ab imagine forniae
Luditur, et niveum veneratur in ore decorem, etc.'
It started back; but pleas'd I soon return'd,
Pleas'd it return'd as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love: there I had fix'd
Mine eyes till now, and pind with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn’d me, What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces; he
Whose image thou art, him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call’d
Mother of human race. What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus Jed?
Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platane; yet, methought, less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth wat'ry image; back I turn'd,
Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return, fair Eve,
Whom fly'st thou?whom thou fly'st, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear:
Part of my soul, I seek thee, and thee claim,
My other half. With that thy gentle hand
Seiz'd mine; I yielded, and from that time see
478 Under a platane] See Grotii Adamus Exsul. p. 36.
Adamus, platani suppositus comæ.' Tickell and Fenton read a ' plantan.'
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
So spake our general mother, and, with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd
And meek surrender, half embracing lean’d
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid : he, in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
Smild with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 500
That shed May flowers, and press'd her matron lip
With kisses pure : aside the devil turn'd
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd.
Sight hateful, sight tormenting! thus these
Imparadis'd in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss, while I to hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines.
500 impregns] See Dante Il Purgat. c. xxiv.
• L'aura di Maggio muovesi, et olezza
Tutta impregnata dall'erba, e da' fiori.' 501 matron] Meeting. Bentl. MS. 504 Ey'd them askance] See Dante Inferno, c. vi.
• Gli diritti occhi torse allora in biechi.' 669 Where] Bentley would read, “Where's' for 'W'here is,' but Pearce observes that Milton often leaves out is,' as 1. väi. 621.
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
From their own mouths : all is not theirs it seems.
One fatal tree there stands of Knowledge calld
Forbidden them to taste : knowledge forbidden.
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? can it be sin to know?
Can it be death ? and do they only stand
By ignorance? is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin ! hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
Equal with Gods; aspiring to be such,
They taste and die; what likelier can ensue ?
But first with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unspy'd ;
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530
Some wand'ring spirit of heav'n, by fountain side,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn'd. Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed. 535
So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale,
6:30 A chance] This line, I think, should be thus read :
A chance-but chance may lead where I may meet.