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Of Paradise and Eden's happy plams,
Flow'd from their lips, in prose or numerous verse,
Thus wondrous fair; thyself how wondrous then!
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
So pray'd they innocent, and to their thoughts
With pity heav n's high King, and to him call'd
His marriage with the sev'ntimes-wedded maid.
Go therefore, half this day, as friend with friend.
Or with repose; and such discourse bring on.
So spake th' eternal Father, and fulfill'd All justice; nor delay'd the winged saint After his charge receiv'd; but from among Thousand celestial ardours, where he stood Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, up springing light Flew through the midst of heav'n; th' angelic choira On each hand parting, to his speed gave way Through all th' empyreal road; till at the gate Of heav'n arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wid On golden hinges turning, as by work Divine the sov'reign architect had fram'd. From hence, no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight, Star interpos'd, however small he sees,
Not unconform to other shining globes, Earth and the gard'n of God, with cedars crown'd Above all hills. As when by night the glass Of Galileo, less assur'd, observes Imagin❜d lands and regions in the moon : Or pilot, froin amidst the Cyclades, Delos or Samos first appearing, kens A cloudy spot. Down thither, prone in flight He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky Sail'd between worlds and worlds, with steady wing Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan Winnows the buxom air; till within soar Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems A phoenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird, When to enshrine his reliques in the sun's Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies. At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradise He lights, and to his proper shape returns A seraph wing'd; six wings he wore, to shade His lineaments divine; the pair that clad Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast With regal ornament; the middle pair Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold And colours dipt in heav'n; the third his feet Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail, Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood, And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance fill'd The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands Of angels under watch; and to his statc, And to his message high in honour rise; For on some message high they guess'd him boun 1 their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is come nto the blissful field, through groves of myrrh, And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm ; A wilderness of sweets: for nature here Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come,
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adan needs:
And Eve within, due at her hour prepar'd
Of nect'rous draughts between, from milky stream, Berry or grape to whom thus Adam call'd:
Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape Comes this way moving; seems another morn Ris'n on mid-noon; some great behest from heav'n To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain, bring forth, and pour Abundance, fit to honour and receive Our heav'nly stranger: well we may afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where nature multiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburd'ning grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve: Adam, earth's hallow'd mould Of God inspir'd, small store will serve, where store, All seasons ripe for use, hangs on the stalk; Save what by frugal storing firmness gains To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes: But I will haste, and from each bough and brake, Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice To entertain our angel guest, as he Beholding shall confess, that here on earth God hath dispens'd his bounties as in heav'n
So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to choose for delicacy best, What order, so contriv'd as not to mix