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النشر الإلكتروني

Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault,
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold ;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb
Thence up he flew, and on the tree of life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew,
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain’d, but sat devising death
To them who lived ; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only used
For prospect, what well used had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now lav views,
To all delight of human sense exposed,
In narrow room nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heaven on earth : for blissful Paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted ; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal towers
Of great Selencia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd ;
Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste ;
And all amid them stood the tree of life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold, and next to life
Our death, the tree of knowledge, grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor changed his course, but through the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd ; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden mould, high raised
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up-drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden ; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears ;
And now, divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wandering many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account;

But rather to tell how, if art could tell,
How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades
Ran Nectar, visiting each plant, and fed
Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art
In beds and curious knots, but nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierced shade
Imbrown'd the noontide bowers. Thus was this place
A happy rural seat of various view :
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit, burnish'd with gelden rind,
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,
If true, here only, and of delicious taste.
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flock
Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,
Or palmy hillock, or the flowery lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store,
Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
Another side, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant : meanwhile murmuring waters fall
Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd
Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
The birds their choir apply ; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,
Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis
Was gather’d, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world ; nor that sweet grove
Of Daphne by Orontes and the inspired
Castalian spring might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive ; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove,
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 supposed
True Paradise, under the Ethiop line
By Nilus's head, enclosed 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.

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".'wo of fur nobler shape, erect and toll, Godlike vrect, wrih nalve honour clas', In naked myeoty, teom'd lords of all,

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 placed, 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 declared Absolute rule ; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad : She as a veil down to the slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received, 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 lise, 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 whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down, and, after no more toil Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed 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, sidelong 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 endearing smiles Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league

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