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The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of pow'r and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
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 :

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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

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

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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 465
Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire,
Had pot 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

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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 : back I turn’d: 480
Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return fair Eve,
Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'st, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee be’ing I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart
Substantial life, to have thee by my side 1 485
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim

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My other half: with that thy gentle hand
Seiz'd mine; I yielded, and from that time sce
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first father; half her swelling breast

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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 500
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.

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?

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Can it be death ? And do they only stand
By Ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?

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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 525 * 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. 535

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

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;

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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.

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