صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st
God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of pow'r and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n 430
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy
Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights :
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task
To prune these growing plants, and tend these

flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou for whom 440 And from whom I was form’d flesh of thy flesh, And without whom am to no end, my guide And head, what thou hast said is just and right. For we to him indeed all praises owe, And daily thanks; I chiefly who enjoy So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Præ-eminent hy so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find. That day I oft remember, when from sleep

450

460

I first awak'd, and found myself repos'd
Under a shade on flow'rs, much wond'ring where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murm’ring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd
Pure as th' expanse of Heav'n; I thither went
With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I went down to look, just opposite
A shape within the wat’ry gleam appear'd,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleas’d I soon return'd,
Pleas’d it return’d as soon with answ'ring looks
Of sympathy and love : there I had fix'd
Mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn'd me. What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes : but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays 470
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be callid
Mother of human race. What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platan ; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,

Than that smooth wat ry image: backi turn'd; 480
Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return fair Eve,
Whom Ay'st thou ? whom thou fly'st, of him thou

art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear ;
Pirt of my soul I se:k thee, and thee claim
My other half: with that thy genile hand
Seiz'à mine; 1 yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excelld by manly grace

490 And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd, And meek surrender, half e:nbracing lean'd On our firsé father; half her swelling breast Naked met his under the flowing gold Of her loose tresses hid : he in delight Both of her beauty and submissive charms Smild with superior love, as Jupiter On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds 50% That shed May flow'rs; and press'd her matron lip With kisses pure: aside the Devil turn'd For envy, yet with jealous leer malign Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain d.

Sight hateful, sight torinenting! thus these two Imparadis’d in one another's arms, The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill Of bliss on bliss ; while I to Hell am thrust,

Where neitlier joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Amongst our other torments not the least, 510
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
From their own mouths: all is not theirs it seems;
One fatal tree there stands of knowledge call’d,
Forbidden them to taste : Knowledge forbidden ?
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
Can it be death ? And do they only stand
By Ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith ? 520
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt
Equal with Gods : aspiring to be such,
They taste and die : what likelier can ensue?
But first with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unspy'd;
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530
Some wand'ring Spi'rit of Heav'n by fountain side,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn'd. Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, tSrough waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his

[ocr errors]

roam.

Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun 540
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Leveld his evening rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
The rest was craggy ciiff, that overhu.ig
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of th' angelic guards, awaiting night; 550
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th' unarmed youth of Heav'n, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears,
Kung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours

fir'd Impress the air, and shews the mariner From what point of his compass to beware , Impe'uous winds: he thus began in haste. 560

Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place No evil thing approach or enter in. This day at height of noon came to my spher A Spirit, zealous, as he seem'd, to know More of th' Almighty's works, and chiefly Man, God's latest image: I describ'd his way • Bent all on speed, and mark'd his airy gait;

« السابقةمتابعة »