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The only sign of our obedience left
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
445 So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Præ-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst no where find. That day I oft remember, 'when from sleep 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
My other half: with that thy gentle hand
So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Sicht hateful! sight tormenting! 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 neither joy nor love, but fierce desire, Amongst our other torments not the least, 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 callid, Forbidden them to taste : Knowledge forbidden ? 515 Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
Can it be death ? And do they only stand
To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt 525 * Equal with Gods : aspiring to be such,
They taste and die : what likelier can ensue?
So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,
roam. Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun Slowly descended, and with right aspéct Against the eastern gate of Paradise Level'd his ev'ning rays : it was a rock Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds, Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent 545 Accessible from earth, one entrance high;
I he rest was craggy cliff, that overhung Still as it rose, impossible to climb. Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, Chief of th' angelic guards, awaiting night; 350 About him exercis'd heroic games Th' unarmed youth of Heav'n, but nigh at hand Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, Hung 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 Impetuous 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 sphere 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; But in the mount that lics from Eden north, Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks 570 Alien from Heav'n, with passions foul obscurid : Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade Lost sight of him : one of the banish'd crew, I fear, hath ventur'd from the deep, to raise New troubles; him thy care must be to find. 575
To whom the winged warrior thus return'd.