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THE ARGUMENT. Morning approach'd, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream; he likes it
not, yet comforts her: They come forth to their day-labours: Their morning hymn at the door of their bower. God, to render man inexcusable, sends Ra. phael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know. Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance described, his coming discerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to mcot him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve; their discourse at table : Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates, at Adam's re. guest, who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the north, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him.
N ow morn her rosy steps in th'eastern clime
Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl,
When Adam wak'd, so custom’d, for his sleep
Was airy light from pure digestion bred,
And temp’rate vapours bland, which th' only sound 5
Of leaves and fuming rills, Aurora's fan,
Lightly dispers'd, and the shrill matin song
Of birds on every bough ; so much the more
His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With tresses discompos’d, and glowing cheek, 10
As through unquiet rest : he on his side
Leaning half rais'd, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus. Awake
My fairest, my espous’d, my latest found,
Heav'n's last best gift, my ever new delight,
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field 20
Calls us; we lose the prime, to mark hów spring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed,
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet.
Such whispiring wak'd her, but with startled eye' On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake.
O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection, glad I see Thy face, and morn return'd; for I this night (Such night till this I never pass’d) have dream'd, If dream’d, not as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow's next design, But of offence and trouble, which my mind Knew never till this irksome night: methought 35 Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk With gentle voice, I thought it thine ; it said, Why sleep'st thou, Eve ? Now is the pleasant time, The cool, the silent, save where silence yields To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
40 Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song ; now reigns Full orb'd the moon, and with more pleasing light
Shadowy sets off the face of things ; in vain,
If none regard ; Heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire ?
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways 50
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge : fair it seem'd,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day :
And as I wond'ring look'd, beside it stood
One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from Heaven
By'us oft seen; his dewy locks distillid
Ambrosia ; on that tree he also gaz'd;
And O fair plant, said he, with fruit surcharg'd,
Deigns none to case thy load, and taste thy sweet,
Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge so despis'd ?
Or envy', or what reserve forbids to taste ?
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
Longer thy offer'd good, why else set here?
This said, he paus'd not, but with vent'rous arm
He pluck’d, he tasted; me damp horror chill'd 65
At such bold words vouch'd with a deed so bold :
But he thus overjoy'd, O fruit divine,
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit.
For Gods, yet able to make Gods of Men : 70
And why not Gods of Men, since good, the more
Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair’d, but honour'd more!
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve,
Partake thou also ; happy though thou art,
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be :
Take this, and be henceforth among the Gods
Thyself a Goddess, not to earth confin'd,
But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
Ascend to Heav'n, by merit thine, and see
What life the Gods live there, and such live thou.
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Ev'n to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd : the pleasant savoury smell
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought,
Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds
With him I flew, and underneath beheld
The earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide
And various : wond'ring at my flight and change
To this high exaltation ; suddenly
My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
And fell asleep; but O how glad I wak'd
To find this but a dream! Thus Eve her night
Related, and thus Adam answer'd sad.
Best image of myself and dearer half,
95 The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep Affects me equally : nor can I like . This uncouth dream, of evil sprung I fear; Yet evil whence ? In thee can harbour none, Created pure. But know that in the soul
100 Are many lesser faculties, that serve Reason as chief : among these fancy next