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My fairest, my espous'd, my latest found,
Heav'n's last best gift, my ever new delight, 19
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark how spring
Our tended 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 whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startl'd eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake:
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection, glad I see 29 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 have wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night. Methought, Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk, 36 With gentle voice; I thought it thine: it said, Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake 40 Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song; now reigns Full orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing light Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain, If none regard; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes, Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire? 45 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 wond'ring look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd, like one of those from
By us oft seen. His dewy locks distill'd
Ambrosia on that tree he also gaz'd;
And O fair plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd,
Deigns none to ease thy load and taste thy sweet,
Nor God, nor Man? is knowledge so despis'd?
Or envy', or what reserve forbids to taste? 61
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 arm
He pluck'd, he tasted! Me damp horror chill'd
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 more
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, 75
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 Heav'n, by merit thine, and see
What life the Gods live there, and such live thou.
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 sav'ry smell
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought, 85
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; wond'ring at my flight and change
To this high exaltation; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
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, 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, aery shapes ; Which Reason joining or disjoining, frames
All what we' affirm or what deny, 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 resemblances methinks I find
Of our last ev'ning's talk, in this thy dream, 115
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 in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never wilt consent to do.
Be not dishearten'd then, nor cloud those looks
That wont to be more cheerful and serene
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flow'rs
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 sluice, he ere they fell
Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended. 135
So all was clear'd, and to the field they haste. But first, from under shady arb'rous roof Soon as they forth were come to open sight Of day-spring, and the Sun, who scarce up ris'n, With wheels yet hov'ring o'er the ocean brim, Shot parallel to th' earth his dewy ray, Discovering in wide landskip all the east Of Paradise and Eden's happy plains, Lowly they bow'd, adoring, and began 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 num'rous verse,
More tuneable than needed lute or harp
To add more sweetness; and they thus began:
These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good,
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wond'rous fair; thyself how wond'rous then!
Unspeakable, who sit'st above these Heav'ns
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and pow'r divine.
Speak ye who best can tell, ye sons of light, 160
Angels; for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing! ye in Heav'n,
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extol