صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy Of amorous intent, well understood Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. Her hand he seiz'd, and to a shady bank, Thick overhead with verdant roof embow'rd, He led her nothing loath; flow'rs were the couch Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, And hyacinth, earth's freshest softest lap. There they their fill of love and love's disport Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep Oppress’d them, wearied with their amorous play, Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit, That with exhilarating vapour

bland About their spirits had play'd, and inmost

powers Made enr, was pow exhald; and

grosser sleer
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
Encumber'd, now had left them; up they rose
As from unrest, and each the other viewing,
Soon found their eyes how open'd, and their minds
How darken'd; innocence, that as a veil
Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gone
Just confidence, and native righteousness,
And honour from about them, naked left
To guilty shame: he cover'd, but his robe
Uncover'd more. So rose the Danite strong
Herculean Sampson from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd
Shorn of his strength, they destitute and bare
Of all their virtue : silent, and in face
Confounded long they sat, as stricken inutc,
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abash'd,
At length gave utterance to these words constrain'd

O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear
To that false worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfeit man's voice, true in our fall,
False in our promis'd rising; since our eyes
Open'd we find indeed, and find we know
Both good and evil, good lost, and evil

Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void,
Of innocence, of faith, of purity.
Our wonted ornaments now soil'd and stain'd,
And in our faces evident the signs
Of foul concupiscence: whence evil store;
Ev'n shame, the last of evils ; of the first
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face
Henceforth of God or angel erst with joy
And rapture so oft beheld ? those heav'nly shapes
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze
Insufferably bright. O might I here
In solitude like savage, in some glade
Obscur'd, where highest woods impenetrable
To star or sun-light spread their umbrage broad
And brown as evening : cover me, ye pines,
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs
Hide me, where I may never ... them more.
But let us now, as in bad pligat, devise
What be:: mav for

a present serve to hide
Ti: parts of each irom other, that seem most
To shame obnoxious, and unseerliest seen:
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sow'da
And girded on our loins, may cover round
Those middle parts, that this new comer shame
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.

So counsellid he, and both together went Into the thickest wood ; there soon they chose The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd, But such as at this day to Indians known In Malabar or Decan spread her arins Branching so broad and long, that in the ground The bended twigs take root, and danghters grow About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade High over-arch'd and echoing walks between; There oft the Indian herdsman shunning heat Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds At loop-holes cut thro' thickest shade. Those leave They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe,

And with what skill they had, together sow'd
To gird their waist, vain covering if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found th’ American, so'girt
With feather'd cincture, naked else and wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenc'd and as they thought, their shame in part
Cover'd, but not at rest, or ease of mind,
They sat them down to weep: nor only tears
Rain'd at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent;
For understanding rul'd not, and the will
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath
Usurping, over sov'reign reason claim'd
Superior sway: from thus distemper'd breast,
Adam, estrang’d in look and altered style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd :

Would thou hadst hearken’d to my words and stay'd
With me as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wand'ring this unhappy morn,
I know not whence, possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy, not as now despoil'd
Of all our good, sham'd, naked, miserable.
Let none henceforth seek needless cause t'approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude they then begin to lail.

To whom soon mov'd with touch of blame thus Evc What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam severe! Imput'st thou that to my default, or will Of wand'ring, as thou call'st it, which who knows But might as ill have happen'd thou being by, Or to thyself perhaps ? hadst thou been there, Or here th' attempt, thou couldst not have discern'd Porud in the serpent, speaking as he spake;

No ground of enmity between us known,
Why he should mean me ill, or seek to harın
Was I tc have never parted from thy side ?
As good have grown there still a lifeless rik.
Being as I am, why didst not thou the head
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger as thou saidst ?
Too facile then thou didst not much gainsay,
Nay didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me.

To whom then first incens'd Adam reply'd :
Is this the love, is this the recompense
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, expressid
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I,
Who might have liv'd and joy'd immortal blisa;
Yet willingly chose rather de: •h with thee !
And am I now upbraided as the cause
Of thy transgressing? not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint: what could I more?
i warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy.
That lay in wait; heyond this had been force,
And force upon free will haih here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on, secure
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps
| also err'd in overmuch admiring
What seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee, but I rue
T'hat error now, which is become my crime,
And thou th' accuser. Thus it shall befal
Him who to worth in women overtrusting
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not lirook
And left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.

Thus they in mutual accusation spent The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning And of their vain contest appear'd no end.

END OF THE NINTH BOOK.

« السابقةمتابعة »