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Of vegetable gold; and next to life,
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor chang’d his course, but thro' the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf’d; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden mould high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which thro' veins 227
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden: thence united fell 230
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears,
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wand’ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell, 236
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 240
Flow’rs, worthy of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning Sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierc'd shade
Imbrown’d the noontide bow'rs. Thus was this

246 A happy rural seat of various view; Groves whose rich trees wept od'rous gums and


Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, 250
If true, here only,' and of delicious taste:
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interpos’d,
Or palmy hilloc; or the flow'ry lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 255
Flow'rs of all hue, and without thorn the rose :
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant: mean while murm'ring waters fall
Down the slope hills, dispers’d, or in a lake, 261
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
The birds their choir apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 265
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on th' eternal spring. Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gath'ring flow'rs,
Herself a fairer flow'r by gloomy Dis 270
Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet

Of Daphne by Orontes, and th’inspir’d
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive; nor that Nyseian isle 275
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove,

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Hid Amalthea and a florid son
Young Bacchus from his step-dame Rhea's eye ;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard, 280
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos’d
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' head, inclos'd with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend 285
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange.
Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all, 290
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe but in true filial freedom plac'd)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;

For contemplation he and valour form’d;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him :
His fair large front and eye sublime, declar'd 300
Absolute rule: and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore

Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
As the vine curls her tendrils; which imply'd

Subjection, but requir'd with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv'd;
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, 310
And sweet reluctant amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal'd,
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have


troubl’d all mankind 315 With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banish'd from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence ! So pass’d they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill. 320 So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met; Adam the goodliest man of men since born His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve. Under a tuft of shade that on a green 325 Stood whisp’ring soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down; and after no more toil Of their sweet gard’ning labour than suffic'd To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite 330 More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline On the soft downy bank damask'd with flow'rs. The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind

335 Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream; Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles

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Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems
Fair couple link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd 340
All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chace
In wood or wilderness, forest or den.
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambol'd before them: th’unwieldy elephant, 345
To make them mirth, us'd all his might, and

His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass 350
Couch'd, and now fill’d with pasture, gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the Sun,
Declin'd, was hasting now with prone career
To th' ocean isles, and in th' ascending scale
Of Heav'n the stars that usher ev’ning rose: 355
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad:

O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'd
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps, 360
Not Spirits, yet to heav'nly Spirits bright
Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The Hand that form'd them on their shape hath

365 Q


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