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From large bestow'd, where Nature multiplies 818 Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare. To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth's hallow'd mould, Of God inspir'd small store will serve, where store, All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk; Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice To entertain our Angel-guest, as he, Beholding, shall confess, that here on Earth God hath dispens'd his bounties as in Heaven. 330 So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, o What order, so contriv'd as not to mix Tastes not well join'd, inelegant, but bring Taste after taste, upheld with kindliest change; Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields In India East or West, or middle shore In Pontusl or the Punick” coast, or where 340 Alcinous reign'd,” fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell, She gathers, tribute large, and on the board Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink, the grape She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths" From many a berry, and from sweet kernels press'd She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground

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Meanwhile our primitive greatsire, to meet
His Godlike guest, walks forth without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections; in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold,
Dazzles the croud, and sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw’d,
Yet with submiss approach, and reverence meek,
As to a superiour nature, bowing low,
Thus said. Native of heaven, for other place
None can than Heaven such glorious shape contain ;
Since, by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest; and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline.

Whom thus the Angelick Virtue answer'd mild.
Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
As may not oft invite, though Spirits of Heaven,
To visit thee; lead on, then, where thy bower
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's" arbour smiled,
With flowerets deck'd, and fragrant smells; but Eve,
Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair
Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest goddess feign'd

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Of threel that in mount Ida naked strove, 382
Stood to entertain her guest from Heaven; no veil
She needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirm
Alter'd her cheek. On whom the angel, Hail
Bestow'd, the holy salutation us'd
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.
Hail, Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,
Than with these various fruits the trees of God 390
Have heap'd this table ! Rais'd of grassy turf
Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
And on her ample square from side to side,
All autumn pil'd, though spring and autumn here
Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold ;
Nor fear lest dinner cool; when thus began
Our author. Heavenly stranger, please to taste
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends,
To us for food and for delight hath caus'd 400
The earth to yield; unsavoury food, perhaps,
To spiritual natures: only this I know,
That one Celestial Father gives to all.
To whom the Angel. Therefore what He gives
(Whose praise be ever sung) to Man in part
Spiritual, may of purest Spirits be found
No ingrateful food : And food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty 410
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.

''Three: 'Wenus, Juno, and Minerva, for the golden apple, given by Paris to Venus.

For know, whatever was created needs 414
To be sustain’d and fed : Of elements
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and, as lowest first the moon ;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd
Vapours not yet into her substance turn'd. 420
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompence
In humid exhalations, and at even
Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; though from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd with pearly grain : Yet God hath here 430
Varied his bounty so with new delights,
As may compare with Heaven; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell; nor seemingly
The Angel, nor in mist, the common gloss
Of Theologians; but with keen despatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate : What redounds, transpires
Through Spirits with ease; nor wonder; if by fire
Of sooty coal the empirick alchemist 440
Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquours crown'd : 0 innocence
Deserving Paradise ! if ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been

Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts 448
Love unlibidinous reign'd, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injur'd lover's hell.
Thus when with meats and drinks they had suffic'd,
Not burden’d nature, sudden mind arose
In Adam, not to let the occasion pass
Given him by this great conference to know
Of things above his world, and of their being
Who dwell in Heaven, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far ; whose radiant forms,
Divine effulgence, whose high power, so far
Exceeded human : and his wary speech,
Thus to the empyreal minister he fram'd : 460
Inhabitant with God, now know I well,
Thy favour, in this honour done to Man;
Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsafd
To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste,
Food not of Angels, yet accepted so,
As that more willingly thou could'st not seem
At Heaven's high feasts to have fed: yet what compare"
To whom the winged Hierarch replied.
O Adam, One Almighty is, from whom
All things proceed, and up to him return, 470
If not deprav'd from good, created all
Such to perfection, one first matter all,
Endued with various forms, various degrees
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life;
But more refin'd, more spirituous and pure,
As nearer to him plac'd, or nearer tending
Each in their several active spheres assign'd,
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds
Proportion'd to each kind. So, from the root 479
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves
More aery, last the bright consummate flower

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