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More sacred, and sequestered, though but feigned,
12. Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
13. "But thou hast promised from us two a race
The Dream of Eve. MILTON.
1. WHEN Adam waked, so customed, for his sleep Was airy-light, from pure digestion bred, * His wonder was to find unwakened Eve, With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek, As through unquiet rest. He * Her soft hand touching, whispered thus: "Awake, My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, Heaven's last best gift, my ever-new delight! Awake! * *
2. Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye 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 returned; for I this night. (Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed If dreamed - not, as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design,
But of offense and trouble, which my mind
Close at mine-ear one called me forth to walk,
4. "Now reigns
Full-orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light
5. "I rose as at thy call, but found thee not:
6. "His dewy locks distilled
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed;
And, O fair plant,' said he, with fruit surcharged,
7. "This said, he paused not, but with vent'rous arm He plucked, he tasted; me damp horror chilled, At such bold words, vouched with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed: O fruit divine!
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropped, 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
Partake thou also; happy though thou art,
9. "So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
10. "Wondering at my flight and change To this high exaltation, suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep; but oh, how glad I waked
To find this but a dream!" Thus Eve her night Related, and thus Adam answered, sad:
11. "Best image of myself and dearer half,
12. "But know, that in the soul
13. "Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes
But with addition strange: yet be not sad:
May come and go, so unapproved, and leave
14. Be not disheartened, then, nor cloud those looks,
15. So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered; But silently a gentle tear let fall From either eye, and wiped them with her hair; Two other precious drops, that ready stood, Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
16. So all was cleared, and to the field they haste.
Lowly they bowed adoring, and began
17. "These are thy glorious works, Parent of Good! Almighty thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous, then!
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
18. "Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end."
19. So prayed they, innocent; and to their thoughts peace recovered soon, and wonted calm.
[This singular institution, in which valor, gallantry and religion, were so strangely blended, was wonderfully adapted to the taste and genius of martial nobles; and its effects were soon visible in their manners. War was carried on with less ferocity when humanity came to be deemed the ornament of knighthood, no less than courage. More gentle and polished manners were introduced when courtesy was recommended as the most amiable of knightly virtues. Violence and oppression decreased when it was reckoned meritorious to check and to punish them. A scrupulous adherence to truth, with the most religious attention to fulfill every engagement, became the distinguishing characteristic of a gentleman, because chivalry was regarded as the school of honor, and inculcated the most delicate sensibility with respect to those points. The admiration of these qualities, together with the high distinctions and prerogatives conferred on knighthood in every part of Europe, inspired persons of noble birth, on some occasions, with a species of military fanaticism, and led them to extravagant enterprises. But they deeply imprinted on their minds the principles of generosity and honor. These were strengthened by everything that can affect the senses, or touch the heart. The wild exploits of those romantic knights who sallied forth in quest of adventures are well known, and have been treated with proper ridicule. The political and permanent effects of the spirit of chivalry have been less observed. Perhaps the humanity which accompanies all the operations of war, the refinements of gallantry, and the point of honor, the three chief circumstances which distinguish modern from ancient manners, - may be ascribed in a great measure to this institution, which has appeared whimsical to superficial observers, but by its effects has proved of great benefit to mankind. The sentiments which chivalry inspired had a wonderful influence on manners and conduct during the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. They were so deeply rooted that they continued to operate after the vigor and reputation of the institution itself began to decline.] - ROBERTSON.
1. THE Passage of Arms, as it was called, which was to take place at Ashby, in the County of Leicester, as champions
* Chivalry was a military dignity, founded on the services of soldiers on horseback, called knights. These knights, clad in armor, wandered about in quest of adventures, having for their object the protection of innocence, the redress of grievances, and the punishment of wrongs. They were frequently invited, by the princes and nobles of their day, to be present on festivals and great occasions; and exhibitions of their skill and prowess were made for the amusement of the prince and his court. Such exhibitions were called Tilts and Tournaments. A Tilt was merely a contest between knights with spears, each endeavoring to unhorse the other by a thrust of the spear, as they rode furiously towards each other. The Tournament, on the contrary, allowed the use of other weapons, such as the sword and the battle-axe. These contests were sometimes single combats, and sometimes combats of parties led by their respective leaders.