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النشر الإلكتروني

Alone as they. About them frisking play'd
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den ;
Sporting the lion romp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid ; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gamboll'd before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His lithe proboscis ; close the serpent sly
Insinuating wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded ; others on the grass
Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating ; for the sun
Declined was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of heaven the stars that usher evening rose :
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad :

O hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold ?
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not spirits, yet to heavenly spirits bright
Little inferior ; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The Hand that form’d them on their shape hath

Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe,
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy :
Happy, but for so happy ill secured
Long to continue ; and this high seat your heaven
lll fenced for heaven to keep out such a foe
As now is enter'd ; yet no purposed foe
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied. League with you I seek,
And mutual amity, so straight, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me
Henceforth : my dwelling haply may not please,
Like this fair Paradise, your sense ; yet such
Accept your Maker's work ; he gave it me,
Which I as freely give : hell shall unfold
To entertain you two, her widest gates,
And send forth all her kings : there will be room,
Not like these narrow limits, to receive
Your numerous offspring ; if no better place,
Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge
On you, who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd.
And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,

By conquering this new world, compels me now
To do, what else, though damn'd, I should abhor

So spake the fiend, and with necessity,
The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.
Then from his lofty stand on that high tree
Down he alights among the sportful herd
Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one,
Now other, as their shape served best his end
Nearer to view his prey, and unespied
To mark what of their state he more might learn
By word or action mark'd : about them round
A lion now he stalks with fiery glare,
Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied
In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play,
Straight couches close, then rising changes, oft
His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing he might surest seize them both
Griped in each paw : when Adam, first of men,
To first of women Eve thus moving speech,
Turn'd him all ear to hear new utterance flow :

Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all, needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite,
That raised us from the dust and placed us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need, he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;
So near grows death to life ; whate'er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st
God hath pronounced it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion given
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 :
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 replied : O thou, for whom 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
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of heaven ; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appear’d
Bending to look on me : I started back,
It started back; but pleased I soon return'd,
Pleased it return'd as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love : there I had fix’d
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not 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
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 call'd
Mother of human race. What could I do,
But follow straight, in visibly thus led ?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a plantain ; yet, methought, less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image ; back I turn'd.
Thou following criedst aloud, Return, fair Eve,
Whom fliest thou ? whom thou fliest, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone ; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul, I seek thee, and thee claim,
My other half. With that thy gentle hand
Seized mine; I yielded, and from that time see
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 unreproved,
And meek surrender, half-embracing lean'd

On our first father ; half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid : he, in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,
Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flowers, and press'd her matron lip
With kisses pure : aside the devil turn'd
For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plain'd :

Sight hateful, sight tormenting ! thus these two
Imparadised 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,
Among 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 ?
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?
Can it be death? And do they only stand
By ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
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
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 unspied ;
A chance but chance may lead where I may meet
Some wandering spirit of heaven, by fountain side,
Or in thick shade retired, 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.

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 roim.
Meanwhile, in utmost longitude, where heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levell’d his evening rays : it was a rock
Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
Accessible from earth, one entrance high ;

The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night ;
About him exercised heroic games
The unarmed youth of heaven ; 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 sunbeam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn 'thwart the night, when vapours fired
Impress the air, and show the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds; he thus began in haste :

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 the Almighty's works, and chiefly man,
God's latest image : I described his way
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his aëry gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
Alien from heaven, with passions foul obscured :
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him ; one of the banish'd crew,
I fear, hath ventured from the deep to raise
New troubles ; him thy care must be to find.

To whom the winged warrior thus returned :
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 vig

nce here placed, but such as come
Well known from heaven; and since meridian hour
No creature thence. If spirit of other sort,
So minded, have o'erleap'd these earthly 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 promised he, and Uriel to his charge Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now raised Bore him slope downward to the sun, now fallen Beneath the Azores; whither the prime orb, Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd Diurnal, or this less voluble earth, By shorter flight to the east, had left him there, Arraying with reflected purple and gold The clouds that on his western throne attend. Now came still evening on, and twilight gray

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