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Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitt'st,
See far and wide : in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac’d, but such as come 580
Well known from Heav'n; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: if Spi'rit of other sort,
So minded, have o'erleap'd these earthy bounds
On purpose, hard thou know'st it to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tell’st, by morrow dawning I shall know.
So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd Before him slope downward to the sun now fallin 591 Beneath th' Azores; whether the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither rollid Diurnal, or this less volúble earth, By shorter flight to th' east, had left him there 595 Arraying with reflected purple and gold The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still evening on, and twilight grey Had in her sober livery all things clad; . Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests Were slunk, al but the wakeful nightingale; She all night long her amorous descant sung ; Silence was pleas'd: now glow'd the firmament With livid sapphires : Hesperus, that led The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve. Fair Consort, th' hour Of night, and all things now retir'd to rest
611 Mind us of like repose, since God hath set Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive ; and the timely dew of sleep Now falling with soft slumb'rous weight inclines 615 Our cye-lids : other creatures all day long Rove idle unemploy'd, and less need rest; Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed, which declares his dignity, And the regard of Heav'n on all his ways; 620 While other animals unactive range, And of their doings God takes no account. To-morrow ere fresh morning streak the east With first approach of light we must be risen, And at our pleasant labour, to reform
625 Yon flow'ry arbours, yonder alleys green, Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, That mock our scant manuring, and require More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth: Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, 630 That lie bestrown unsightly and unsmooth, Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease ; Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.
To whom thus Eve with perfect beauty' adorn'd. My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst 635 Unargued I obey; so God ordains ;
God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds ; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth 645
After soft show'rs: and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heav'n, her starry train :
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends 650
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glist’ring with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon, 655
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? For whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?
To whom our general ancestor reply'd.
Daughter of God and Man, accomplish'd Eve, 660
These have their course to finish round the earth,
By morrow evening, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Minist’ring light prepar'd, they set and rise;
Lest total darkness should by night regain 665
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only' enlighten, but with kindly heat-
Of various influence foment and warm, .
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down 670
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 674,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,
That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise :
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night : how often from the steep 680
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? Oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk 685
With heav'nly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven.
'I hus talking hand in hand alone they pass'd
On to their blissful bow'r; it was a place 690
Chos’n by the sov'reign Planter, when he fram'd
All things to Man's delightful use ; the roof
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
695 Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub
· Fenc'd up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine
Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and wrought
Mosaic; underfoot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
Broider'd the ground, niore colour'd than with stone
Of costliest emblem: other creature here,
Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower 905
More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor Nymph,
Nor Faunus haunted. Here in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed,
And heav'nly quires the hymenæan sung,
What day the genial Angel to our sire
Brought her in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely than Pandora, whom the Gods
Endow'd with all their gifts, and O too like 715
In sad event, when to th' unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnar'd
Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood, 720
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole : Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day,
725 Which we in our appointed work employ'd.