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Harmony to behold in wedded pair
More grateful than harmonious sound to th' ear.
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd,
Who meet with various objects, from the sense
Variously representing; yet, still free,
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blam'st me not, for love, thou say'st
Leads up to Heav'n, is both the way and guide:
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask:



Love not the heav'nly spi'rits, and how their love 615 Express they, by looks only', or do they mix Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?”

To whom the angel, with a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue,

Answer'd. "Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620
Us happy', and without love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body' enjoy'st
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars;
Easier than air with air, if' spi'rits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring; nor restrain❜d conveyance need,
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
Beyond the earth's green Cape and verdant isles
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart.

Be strong, live happy', and love! but, first of all,
Him, whom to love is to obey, and keep

His great command; take heed lest passion sway 635
Thy judgment to do ought, which else free will
Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons,
The weal or woe in thee is plac'd; beware!
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,

And all the blest: stand fast; to stand or fall
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.
Perfect within, no outward aid require;
And all temptation to transgress repel."




So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
Follow'd with benediction." Since to part,
Go, heav'nly guest, etherial messenger,
Sent from whose soy'reign goodness I adore!
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be' honour'd ever
With grateful memory: thou to mankind
Be good and friendly still, and oft return."

So parted they; the angel up to Heav'n
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.









Satan, having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns, as a mist, by night, into Paradise; enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone: Eve, loth to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields: the serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking; with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deli berates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her; and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit: the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.



NO more of talk, where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal, on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience; on the part of Heav'n,
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
Death's harbinger: sad task! yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous'd;
Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son;
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor'd,
And dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse:
Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleas'd me, long choosing, and beginning late;

Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument






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