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But all that fair and good in thy divine
The garden, God hath said, 'Ye shall not eat Semblance, and in thy beauty's heavenly ray, Thereof, nor shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'” United I beheld; no fair to thine
She scarce had said, though brief, when now Equivalent or second, which compelled
more bold Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come The tempter, but with show of zeal and love And gaze, and worship thee, of right declared To man, and indignation at his wrong, Sovereign of creatures, universal dame !" New parts put on; and, as to passion moved,
So talked the spirited, sly snake; and Eve, Fluctuates disturbed, yet comely and in act
Raised, as of some great matter to begin.
where grows the tree ? from hence how Flourished, since mute, to some great cause adfar ?
dressed, For many are the trees of God that grow Stood in himself collected; while each part, In Paradise, and various, yet unknown Motion, each act, won audience ere the tongue; To us; in such abundance lies our choice, Sometimes in height began, as no delay As leaves a greater store of fruit untouched, Of preface brooking, through his zeal of right: Still hanging incorruptible, till men
So standing, moving, or to height up grown, Grow up to their provision, and more hands The tempter, all impassioned, thus began. Help to disburden Nature of her birth.”
“O sacred, wise, and wisdom-giving plant, To whom the wily adder, blithe and glad Mother of science! now I feel thy power “Empress, the way is ready, and not long; Within me clear, not only to discern Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat,
Things in their causes, but to trace the ways Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past Of highest agents, deemed however wise. Of blowing myrrh and balm: if thou accept Queen of this universe! do not believe My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon.” Those rigid threats of death; ye shall not die: "Lead then,” said Eve. He, leading, swiftly How should ye? by the fruit ? it gives you life rolled
To knowledge: by the threatener? look on me, In tangles, and made intricate seem straight, Me who have touched and lasted, yet both live, To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy And life more perfect have attained than fate Brightens his crest; as when a wandering fire, Meant me, by venturing higher than my lot. Compact of unctuous vapour, which the night Shall that be shut to man, which to the beast Condenses, and the cold environs round, Is open ? or will God incense his ire Kindled through agitation to a flame,
For such a petty trespass ? and not praise Which oft, they say, some evil spirit attends, Rather your dauntless virtue, whom the pain Hovering and blazing with delusive light, Of death denounced, whatever thing death be, Misleads the amazed night wanderer from his way Deterred not from achieving what might lead To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool; To happier life, knowledge of good and evil; There swallowed up and lost, from succour far. Of good, how just ? of evil, if what is evil So glistered the dire snake, and into fraud Be real, why not known, since easier shunned ? Led Eve, our credulous mother to the tree God therefore can not hurt ye, and be just; Of prohibition, root of all our wo;
Not just, not God; not feared then, nor obeyed: Which when she saw, thus to her guide she spake. Your fear itself of death removes the fear. "Serpent, we might have spared our coming hither, Why then was this forbid ? Why, but to awe? Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess, Why, but to keep ye low and ignorant, The credit of whose virtue rests with thee; His worshippers ? He knows that in the day Wondrous indeed, if cause of such effects. Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, But of this tree we may not taste nor touch; Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then God so commanded, and left that command Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as gods, Sole daughter of his voice; the rest, we live Knowing both good and evil, as they know. Law to ourselves; our reason is our law." That ye shall be as gods, since I as man,
To whom the tempter guilefully replied. Internal man, is but proportion meet; "Indeed! hath God then said that of the fruit I, of brute, human; ye, of human, gods. Of all these garden trees ye shall not eat, So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off Yet lords declared of all in earth or air ?" Human, to put on gods; death to be wished,
To whom thus Eve, yet sinless. “Of the fruit Though threatened, which no worse than this can Of each tree in the garden we may eat;
bring. But of the fruit of this fair tree amidst
And what are gods, that man may not become
As they, participating godlike food ?
Of God or death, of law or penalty ? The gods are first, and that advantage use Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine, On our belief, that all from them proceeds: Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste, I question it; for this fair earth I see,
Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then Warmed by the sun, producing every kind; To reach, and feed at once both body and mind ?" Them, nothing; if they all things, who enclosed So saying, her rash hand in evil hour Knowledge of good and evil in this tree, Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat! That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her seat, Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies Sighing through all her works, gave signs of wo, The offence, that man should thus attain to know? That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree The guilty serpent; and well might; for Eve, Impart against his will, if all be his?
Intent now wholly on her taste, naught else Or is it envy? and can envy dwell
Regarded; such delight till then, as seemed, In heavenly breasts ? These, these and many more In fruit she never tasted, whether true Causes import your need of this fair fruit. Or fancied so, through expectation high Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste!" Of knowledge, nor was Godhead from her thought.
He ended; and his words, replete with guile, Greedily she ingorged without restraint, Into her heart too easy entrance won:
And knew not eating death : satiate at length, Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold And heightened as with wine, jocund and boon, Might tempt alone; and in her ears the sound Thus to herself she pleasingly began. Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned “O sovereign, virtuous, precious of all trees With reason, to her seeming, and with truth: In Paradise! of operation blest Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and waked To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed, An eager appetite, raised by the smell
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end So savoury of that fruit, with which desire, Created; but henceforth my early care, Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,
Not without song, each morning, and due praise, Solicited her longing eye; yet first
Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease Pausing a while, thus to herself she mused. Of thy full branches offered free to all;
“Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, Till, dieted by thee, I grow mature Though kept from man, and worthy to be admired: In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know; Whose taste, too long forborne, at tirst assay Though others envy what they can not give: Gave elocution to the mute, and taught
For, had the gift been theirs, it had not here The tongue not made for speech, to speak thy Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe, praise:
Best guide; not following thee, I had remained Thy praise he also, who forbids thy use, In ignorance; thou openest wisdom's way, Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree And giv'st access, though secret she retire. Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; And I perhaps am secret: Heaven is high, Forbids us then to taste! but his forbidding High, and remote to see from thence distinct Commends thee more, while it infers the good Each thing on earth; and other care, perhaps, By thee communicated, and our want:
May have diverted from continual watch
About him. But to Adam in what sort
As yet my change, and give him to partake
Superior; for, inferior, who is free? Was death invented ? or to us denied
This may be well: but what if God have seen, This intellectual food, for beasts reserved ? And death ensue? then I shall be no more! For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first And Adam, wedded to another Eve, Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; The good befallen him, author unsuspect, A death to think! Confirmed then I resolve, Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile. Adam shall share with me in bliss or wo: What fear I then? rather, what know to fear So dear I love him, that with him all deaths Under this ignorance of good and evil, I could endure, without him live no life,"
So saying, from the tree her steps she turned; | Ran through his veins, and all his joints relaxed; But first low reverence done, as to the power From his slack hand the garland wreathed for Eve That dwelt within, whose presence had infused Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed: Into the plant sciential sap, derived
Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length From nectar, drink of gods. Adam, the while, First to himself he inward silence broke. Waiting desirous her return, had wove
“O fairest of creation, last and best Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled Her tresses, and her rural labours crown; Whatever can to sight or thought be formed, As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen. Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet! Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new How art thou lost ! how on a sudden lost, Solace in her return, so long delayed:
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote!
To live again in these wild woods forlorn!
Would never from heart: no, no! I feel "Hast thou not wondered, Adam, at my stay? The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh, 'Thee I have missed, and thought it long, deprived Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state Thy presence; agony of love till now
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or wo." Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more So having said, as one from sad dismay Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought, Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbed, The pain of abserice from thy sight. But strange Submitting to what seemed remediless, Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear : Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned. This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
"Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Of danger tasted, nor to evi! unknown
Eve, Opening the way, but of divine effect
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared, To open eyes, and make them gods who taste; Had it been only coveting to eye And hath been tasted such: the serpent wise, That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence, Or not restrained as we, or not obeying,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past who can recall, or done undo?
Is not so heinous now, foretasted fruit,
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first Have also tasted, and have also found
Made common and unhallowed, ere our taste; The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes, Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives; Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as man, And growing up to Godhead; which for thee Higher degree of life, inducement strong Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise. To us, as likely tasting to attain For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss; Proportional ascent, which can not be Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon. But to be gods, or angels, demi-gods. Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
Nor can I think that God Creator wise, May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy Lest, thou not tasting, different degree
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high, Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
Set over all his works, which in our fall, Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.” For us created, needs with us must fail, Thus Eve with countenance blithe her story Dependent made ; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose; But in her cheek distemper flushing glowed. Not well conceived of God, who, though his power On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard Creation could repeat, yet would be loath The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed, Us to abolish, lest the adversary Astonished stood and blank, while horror chill Triumph, and say; ‘Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? Me first Her former trespass feared, the more to sooth
Divinity within them breeding wings,
Far other operation first displayed, The bond of nature draw me to my own; Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve My own in thee, for what thou art is mine; Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him Our state can not be severed; we are one, As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn: One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.” Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move. So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied.
“Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste, "O glorious trial of exceeding love,
And elegant, of sapience no small part; Ilustrious evidence, example high!
Since to each meaning savour we apply, Engaging me to emulate ; but, short
And palate called judicious; I the praise Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purveyed. Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung, Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained And gladly of our union hear thee speak, From this delightful fruit, nor known till now One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof True relish, tasting ; if such pleasure be This day affords, declaring thee resolved, In things to us forbidden, it might be wished, Rather than death, or aught than death more For this one tree had been forbidden ten. dread,
But come, so well refreshed, now let us play, Shall separate us, linked in love so dear, As meet is, after such delicious fare, To undergo with me one guilt, one crime, For never did thy beauty, since the day If any be, of tasting this fair fruit,
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds, With all perfections, so inflame my sense Direct, or by occasion) hath presented
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
Thick overhead with verdant roof embowered, Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assured He led her, nothing loath; flowers were the couch, Remarkably so late of thy so true,
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, So faithful love unequalled; but I feel
And hyacinth, earth's freshest softest lap. Far otherwise the event; not death, but life There they their fill of love and love's disport Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys, Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, Taste so divine, that what of sweet before The solace of their sin ; till dewy sleep Had touched my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh. Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play, On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, And fear of death deliver to the winds." That with exhilarating vapour bland
So saying, she embraced him, and for joy About their spirits had played, and inmost powers Tenderly wept; much won that he his love Made err, was now exhaled; and grosser sleep, Had so ennobled, as of choice to incur
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams Divine displeasure for her sake, or death Encumbered, now had left them; up they rose In recompense (for such compliance bad As from unrest; and, each the other viewing, Such recompense best merits) from the bough Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds Sbe gave him of that fair enticing fruit
How darkened; innocence, that as a veil With liberal hand: he scrupled not to eat,
Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone; Against his better knowledge; not deceived, Just confidence and native righteousness, But fondly overcome with female charm. And honour, from about them, naked left Earth trembled from her entrails, as again To guilty shame; he covered, but his robe In
pangs; and Nature gave a second groan; Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong, Sky lowered; and, muttering thunder, some sad Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap drops
Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked Wept at completing of the mortal sin
Shorn of his strength, they destitute and bare Original : wbile Adam took no thought,
Of all their virtue: silent and in face Eating his fill; nor Eve to iterate
Confounded, long they sat, as stricken mute,
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed, They sat them down to weep; nor only tears Atlength gave utterance to these words constrained. Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within
“O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate, To that false Wurm, of whomsoever taught Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore To counterfeit man's voice; true in our fall, Their inward state of mind, calm region once False in our promised rising; since our eyes And full of peace, now tost and turbulent: Opened we find indeed, and find we know For understanding ruled not, and the will Both good and evil; good lost, and evil got ; Heard not her lore; both in subjection now Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know, To sensual appetite, who from beneath, Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void, Usurping over sovereign reason, claimed Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
Superior sway: from thus distempered breast Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained, Adam, estranged in look and altered style, And in our faces evident the signs
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed. Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store; “Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and Even shame, the last of evils; of the first
stayed Be sure then. How shall I behold the face With me, as I besought thee, when that strange Henceforth of God or angel, erst with joy Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn, And rapture so oft beheld ? those heavenly shapes I know not whence possessed thee; we had then Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze Remained still happy; not as now despoiled Insufferably bright. O might I here
Of all our good; shamed, naked, miserable ! Ir. solitude live savage; in some glade
Let none henceforth seek needless cause t'approve Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.” And brown as evening: cover me, ye pines! To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Ye cedars with innumerable boughs
Eve. Hide me, where I may never see them more! “What words have passed thy lips, Adam, severe! But let us now, as in bad plight, devise Imputest thou that to my default, or will What best may for the present serve to hide Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows The parts of each from other, that seem most But might as ill have happened thou being by, To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen: Or to thyself perhaps? hadst thou been there, Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together Or here th' attempt, thou couldst not have dissew'd,
cerned And girded on our loins, may cover round Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake, Those middle parts; that this new comer, shame, No ground of enmity between us known, There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.” Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harm.
So counselled he, and both together went Was I to have never parted from thy side? Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose As good have grown there still a lifeless rib. The fig-iree; not that kind for fruit renowned, Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head, But such as at this day to Indians known, Command me absolutely not to go, In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms Going into such danger as thou saidst ? Branching so broad and long, that in the ground Too facile then thou didst not much gainsay, The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair disiniss. About the mother tree, a pillared shade
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dissent, High over-arched, and echoing walks between: Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me." There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, To whom then first incensed Adam replied. Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds " Is this the love, is this the recompense At loop-holes cut through thickest shade: Those Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, expressed leaves
Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I; They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe, Who might have lived and joyed immortal bliss, And, with what skill they had, together sewed, Yet willingly chose rather death with thee ? To gird their waist; vain covering, if to hide And am I now upbraided as the cause Their guilt and dreaded shame! O how unlike Of thy transgressing ? not enough severe, To that first naked glory! Such of late It seems, in thy restraint: what could I more? Columbus found th' American, so girt
I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold With feathered cincture, naked else, and wild The danger, and the lurking enemy Among the trees on isles and woody shores. That lay in wait; beyond this had been force, Thus fenced, and as they thought, their shame in And force upon free will hath here no place part
But confidence then bore thee on; secure, Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind, Either to meet no danger, or to find