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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 unspied;
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet
Some wandering spirit of Heaven by fountain
Well known from Heaven; and since meridian
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed."
Bore him slope downward to the Sun now fall'n
Beneath the Azores; whether the prime orb,
Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd
Diurnal, or this less volúbil Earth,
By shorter flight to the east, had left him there
Arraying with reflected purple and gold
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn'd. Live while ye The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
No creature thence: if spirit of other sort,
So minded, have o'er-leap'd these earthy bounds
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning 1 shall know."
So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd
No evil thing approach or enter in.
This day at height of noon came to my sphere
A spirit, zealous, as he seem'd, to know
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
God's latest image: I describ'd his way
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aery gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscur'd:
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him: one of the banish'd crew,
I fear, hath ventur'd from the deep to raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find."
To whom the wing'd warrior thus return'd.
"Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the Sun's bright circle where thou sitst,
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleas'd: now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the Moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve. "Fair consort, the
dale, his roam.
Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting Sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levell❜'d his evening rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from Earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night;
About him exercis'd heroic games
The unarmed youth of Heaven, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Hung high, with diamond flaming, and with
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste.
Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest,
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to meu
Successive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
Our eye-lids: other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemploy'd, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More bands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Mean while, as Nature wills, night bids us
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd.
"My author and disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey: so God ordains;
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and
To whom our general ancestor replied.
Daughter of God and Man, accomplish'd Eve, These have their course to finish round the Earth,
By morrow evening, and from land to land In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministring light prepar'd, they set and rise; Lest total Darkness should by night regain Her old possession, and extinguish life, In Nature, and all things; which these soft fires Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat Of various influence foment and warm, Temper or nourish, or in part shed down Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow On Earth, made hereby apter to receive Perfection from the Sun's more potent ray. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were [praise : That Heaven would want spectators, God want Millions of spiritual creatures walk the Earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep : All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Hea-
Thus talking hand in hand alone they pass'd On to their blissful bower: it was a place Chos'n by the sovran Planter, when he fram'd All things to Man's delightful use; the roof Of thickest covert was inwoven shade Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, Fenc'd up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin, Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and Mosaic; underfoot the violet, [wrought Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone
Of costliest emblem: other creature here, Bird, beast, insect, or worm, dust enter none,
Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling
And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed;
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts, and O too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnar'd
Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
Thus, at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood, The God that made both sky, air, Farth, and Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd Heaven,
Which they beheld, the Moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: "Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
Have finish'd, happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promis'd from us two a race
To fill the Earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."
Observing none, but adoration pure
This said unanimous, and other rites
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
Handed they went; and, eas'd the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear,
Straight side by side were laid; nor turn'd, I
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refus'd;
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity, and place, and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
But our destroyer, foe to God and Man?
Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
In Paradise of all things common else.
Of human offspring, sole propriety
By thee adulterous Lust was driven from men
Among the bestial herds to range; by thee
Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Of father, son, and brother, first were known
Far be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
Present, or past, as saints and patriarchs us'd.
Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc'd,
Here Love his golden shafts employs, here
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
Casual fruition; nor in court amours,
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
Mix'd dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
Or serenate, which the starv'd lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
These, lull'd by nightingales, embracing slept, And on their naked limbs the flowery roof Shower'd roses, which the morn repair'd. Sleep Blest pair; and O yet happiest, if ye seek [on, No happier state, and know to know no inore. Now had Night measur'd with her shadowy
Half way up hill this vast sublunar vault,
And from their ivory port the cherubim,
Forth issuing at the accustom'd hour, stood arm'd
To their night watches in warlike parade;
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake.
"Uzziel,half these draw off, and coast the south
With strictest watch; these other wheel the
Our circuit meets full west." As flame they part,
Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.
From these, two strong and subtle spirits he call'd
That near him stood, and gave them thus in
"Ithuriel and Zephon, with wing'd speed Search through this garden, leave unsearch'd no nook;
But chiefly where those two fair creatures lodge,
Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
This evening from the Sun's decline arriv'd,
Who tells of some infernal spirit seen
Hitherward bent (who could have thought?)
The bars of Hell, on errand bad no doubt:
Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring."
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
Dazzling the Moon; these to the bower direct
In search of whom they sought him there they
Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve, Assaying by his devilish art to reach
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
Illusions, as he list, phantasms and dreams;
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
The animal spirits, that from pure blood arise
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure, thence raise
At least distemper'd, discontented thoughts,
Vain hopes, vain aims, inordinate desires,
Blown up with high conceits engendering pride.
Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touch'd lightly; for no falsehood can endure
Touch of celestial temper, but returns
of force to its own likeness: up he starts
Discover'd and surpris'd. As when a spark
Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun some magazine to store
Against a rumour'd war, the smutty grain,
With sudden blaze diffus'd, inflames the air :
So started up in his own shape the fiend.
Back stept those two fair angels, half amaz'd
So sudden to behold the grisly king;
Yet thus, unmov'd with fear, accost him soon.
"Which of those rebel spirits adjudg'd to Hell Com'st thou, escap'd thy prison? and, transform'd, Why sat'st thou like an enemy in wait, Here watching at the head of these that sleep?" "Know ye not then," said Satan, fill'd with
Your message, like to end as much in vain." To whom thus Zephon, answering scorn with
"Think not, revolted spirit, thy shape the same, Or undiminish'd brightness to be known, As when thou stood'st in Heaven upright and pure;
"Know ye not me? ye knew me once no mate For you, there sitting where ye durst not soar: Not to know me argues yourselves unknown, The lowest of your throng; or, if ye know, Why ask ye, and superfluous begiu
That glory then, when thou no more wast good, Departed from thee; and thou resemblest now Thy sin and place of doom obscure and foul. But come, for thou, be sure, shall give account To him who sent us, whose charge is to keep This place inviolable, and these from harm.»
So spake the cherub; and his grave rebuke Severe in youthful beauty, added grace Invincible: abash'd the Devil stood, And felt how awful goodness is, and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw, and pin'd His loss; but chiefly to find here observ❜d His lustre visibly impair'd; yet seem'd Undaunted. "If I must contend," said he, "Best with the best, the sender not the sent, Or all at once; more glory will be won, Or less be lost." "Thy fear," said Zephon bold, "Will save us trial what the least can do Single against thee wicked, and thence weak."
The fiend replied not, overcome with rage; But, like a proud steed rein'd, went haughty on, Champing his iron curb: to strive or fly He held it vain; awe from above had quell'd His heart, not else dismay'd. Now drew they nigh [guards The western point, where those half-rounding Just met, and closing stood in squadron join'd, Awaiting next command. To whom their chief, Gabriël, from the front thus call'd aloud.
"O friends! I hear the tread of nimble feet Hasting this way, and now by glimpse discern Ithuriel and Zephon through the shade; And with them comes a third of regal port, But faded splendour wan; who by his gait And fierce demeanour seems the prince of Hell, Not likely to part hence without contest; Stand firm, for in his look defiance lours."
He scarce had ended, when those two approach'd, [found, And brief related whom they brought, where How busied, in what form and posture couch'd.
To whom with stern regard thus Gabriel spake. "Why hast thou, Satan, broke the bounds prescrib'd
To thy transgressions, and disturb'd the charge Of others, who approve not to trangress By thy example, but have power and right To question thy bold entrance on this place; Employ'd, it seems, to violate sleep, and those Whose dwelling God hath planted here in bliss?" To whom thus Sata with contemptuous [wise, "Gabriel! thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of And such I held thee; but this question ask'd Puts me in doubt. Lives there who loves his pain? [Hell, Who would not, finding way, break loose from Though thither doom'd? Thou wouldst thyself, no doubt,
And boldly venture to whatever place Farthest from pain, where thou mightst hope to change
"Not that I less endure or shrink from pain,
Insulting angel! well thou know'st I stood
Thy fiercest, when in battle to thy aid
The blasting vollied thunder made all speed,
And seconded thy else not dreaded spear.
But still thy words at random, as before,
Argue thy inexperience what behoves
From hard assays and ill successes past
A faithful leader, not to hazard all
Through ways of danger by himself untried:
1, therefore, I alone first undertook
To wing the desolate abyss, and spy
This new created world, whereof in Hell
Fame is not silent, here in hope to find
Better abode, and my afflicted powers
To settle here on Earth, or in mid air;
Though for possession put to try once inore
What thou and thy gay legions dare against;
Whose easier business were to serve their Lord
High up in Heaven, with songs to hymn his
And practis'd distances to cringe, not fight."
To whom the warrior-angel soon replied.
"To say and straight unsay, pretending first
Wise to fly pain, professing next the spy,
Argues no leader but a liar trac'd,
Satan, and couldst thou faithful add? O name,
O sacred name of faithfulness profan'd!
Faithful to whom? to thy rebellious crew?
Army of fiends, fit body to fit head.
Was this your discipline and faith engag'd,
Your military obedience, to dissolve
Allegiance to the acknowledg'd Power supreme?
And thou, sly hypocrite, who now wouldst seem
Within these hallow'd limits thou appear,
Back to the infernal pit I drag thoe chain'd,
And seal thee so, as henceforth not to scorn
The facile gates of Hell too slightly barr'd."
So threaten'd he; but Satan to no threats
Gave heed, but waxing more in rage replied.
"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 King 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 Heaven star-
While thus he spake, the angelic squadron
Turn'd fiery red, sharpening 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
Lest on the threshing floor his hopeful sheaves
Prove chaff. On the 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 Horrour plum'd; nor wanted in his grasp
What seem'd both spear and shield: now dreadful
Might have ensued, nor only Paradise
In this commotion, but the starry cope
Of Heaven perhaps, or all the elements
At least had gone to wrack, disturb'd and torn
With violence of this conflict, had not soon
The Eternal, to prevent such horrid fray,
Hung forth in Heaven his golden scales, yet seen
Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,
Wherein all things created first he weigh'd,
The pendulous round Earth with balanc'd air
In counterpoise, now ponders all events,
Battles and realms: in these he put two weights,
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 mine; Neither our own, but given: what folly then To boast what arms can do? since thine no
Than Heaven permits, nor mine, though doubled now
To trample thee as mire: for proof look up,
And read thy lot in yon celestial sign;
Where thou art weigh'd, and shown how light,
If thou resist." The fiend look'd up, and knew
His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled
Murmuring, and with him fled the shades of
Knew never till this irksome night: methought
Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice; I thought it thine: it said,
'Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant
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 described; his coming discerned 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 performs 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.
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now
Full-orb'd the Moon, and with more pleasing
Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard; Heaven wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.'
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seem❜d,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from
Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam wak'd, so custom'd; for his sleep
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred,
And temperate vapours bland, which the 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 discomposed, 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 hand soft touching, whisper'd thus. "Awake,
My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
Heaven'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 spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How Nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet."
Such whispering 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 pass'd) have dream'd, If dream'd, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind
By us oft seen: his dewy locks distill'd
Ambrosia ; on that tree he also gaz'd; [charg'd,
And O fair plant,' said he, with fruit sur-
Deigns none 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 venturous
He pluck'd, he tasted; ine damp horrour chill'da
At such bold words vouch'd with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoy'd; 'O fruit divine,
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of men:
And why not gods of men; since good, the
Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair'd but honour'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 henceforth among the gods
Thyself a goddess, not to Earth confin'd,
But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
Ascend to Heaven, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd: the pleasant savoury
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The Earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide
And various wondering at my flight and
To this high exaltation; suddenly [change
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk
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.
"Best image of myself, and dearer half,