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Hid Amalthea and her florid son
Young Bacchus from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos’d
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' head, inclos'd with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
Saw undelighted all delight, all kind
Of living creatures new to sight and strange.
Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all,
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd)
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;
For contemplation he and valour form’d,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace,
He for God only, she for God in him :
His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad :
She as a vcil down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Disheveld, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
As the vine curls her tendrils, which imply'd

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Subjection, but requir’d with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv'd,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet reluctant amorous delay.
Nor those mysterious parts were then conceald,
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of Nature's works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banish'd from man's life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence!
So pass’d they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill :
So hand in hand they pass’d, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispåring soft, by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down : and after no more toil
Of their sweet gard’ning labour than suffic'd
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damask'd with flowers :
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor indearing smiles

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Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd 340
All beasts of th' earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambol'd before them; th' unwieldy elephant 345
To make them mirth us'd all his might, and wreath'd
His lithe proboscis ; close the serpent sly
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass 350
Couch’d, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun
Declin'd was hasting now with prone career
To th’ ocean isles, and in th' ascending scale
Of Heav'n the stars that usher evening rose : 355
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad.

O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold ?
Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'd
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,

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Not Spirits, yet to heav'nly Spirits bright
Little inferior ; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that formid them on their shape hath pour'd.
Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights

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Will vanish and deliver ye to woe,
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy;
Happy, but for so happy ill secur'd

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Long to continue, and thiş high seat your Heaven
Ill fenc'd for Heav'n to keep out such a foe
As now is enter'd; yet no purpos’d foe
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied: League with you I seek, 375
And mutual amity so strait, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me
Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please,
Like this fair Paradise, your sense, yet such
Accept your Maker's work; he

gave

it

me, 380 Which I as freely give; Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your numerous offspring ; if no better place, 385 Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge On you who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet public reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlarg'd, 390 By conqu’ring this new world, compels me now To do what else though damn'd I should abhor.

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree 395 Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,

Now other, as their shape serv'd best his end
Nearer to view his

prey, and unespy'd
To mark what of their state he more might learn 400
By word or action mark'd: about them round
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare;
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spy'd
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
Strait couches close, then rising changes oft 405
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
Grip'd in each paw: when Adam first of men
To first of women Eve thus moving speech,
Turn'd him all ear to hear new utterance flow. 410

Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;

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That rais'd us from the dust and plac'd us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Ought whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service than to keep

420 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,

425 Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,

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