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To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight; for, in the wily snake
Whatever sleights, none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding; which, in other beasts observed,
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within, beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolved; but first from inward grief
His bursting passion into plaints thus poured :

“O Earth, how like to Heaven, if not preferred
“ More justly-seat worthier of Gods, as built
“ With second thoughts, reforming what was old!
“For what God, after better, worse would build?
“ Terrestrial Heaven, danced round by other Heavens
“ That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
“ Light above light, for thee alone, as seems;
“In thee concentring all their precious beams
“ Of sacred influence! As God in Heaven

Is centre, yet extends to all; so thou, “ Centring, receivest from all these orbs: in thee, “Not in themselves, all their known virtue appears “ Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth “Of creatures animate with gradual life, Of growth, sense, reason, all summed up in Man. “With what delight could I have walked thee round, “If I could joy in aught! sweet interchange “Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains, “Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crowned,

Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these “ Find place or refuge; and the more I see “ Pleasures about me, so much more I feel

120 “ Torment within me, as from the hateful siege “Of contraries : all good to me becomes

Bane; and in Heaven much worse would be my state. “ But neither here seek I, no, nor in Heaven “ To dwell, unless by mastering Heaven's Supreme: “ Nor hope to be myself less miserable

By what I seek, but others to make such “ As I, though thereby worse to me redound:

For only in destroying I find ease

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“ To my relentless thoughts; and, him destroyed, - 130 “ Or won to what may work his utter loss, – “ For whom all this was made, all this will soon “ Follow, as to him linked in weal or woe“In woe then, that destruction wide may range! “ To me shall be the glory sole among “ The infernal Powers, in one day to have marred “What he- Almighty styled--six nights and days “ Continued making; and who knows how long “ Before had been contriving? though perhaps * Not longer than since I, in one night, freed

140 “ From servitude inglorious well nigh half * The angelic name, and thinner left the throng is of his adorers. He, to be avenged, “ And to repair his numbers thus impaired, “ (Whether such virtue spent of old now failed “More angels to create, if they at least " Are his created, or to spite us more), “ Determined to advance into our room A creature formed of earth; and him endow, “ Exalted from so base original,

150 “ With heavenly spoils—our spoils ! What he decreed, “ He effected; man he made, and for him built “ Magnificent this world, and Earth his seat, “ Him lord pronounced; and, O indignity!

Subjected to his service angel-wings, “ And flaming ministers to watch and tend “ Their earthly charge. Of these the vigilance “I dread; and, to elude, thus wrapped in mist “Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry “ In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160 “ The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds “ To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. “ O foul descent! that I, who erst contended “ With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained “ Into a beast ; and, mixed with bestial slime, “ This essence to incarnate and imbrute, “ That to the height of deity aspired ! " But what will not ambition and revenge “ Descend to? Who aspires, must down as low

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" As high he soared; obnoxious, first or last,
“To basest things. Revenge, at first though sweet,
“ Bitter ere long, back on itself recoils :
“Let it; I reck not, so it light well aimed
“ (Since higher I fall short) on him who next
“Provokes my envy-this new favourite
“ Of Heaven—this man of clay—son of despite;

Whom, us the more to spite, his Maker raised
“ From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.”

So saying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on
His midnight search, where soonest he might find
The serpent: him fast sleeping soon he found
In labyrinth of many a round self-rolled,
His head the midst, well stored with subtle wiles:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb,
Fearless, unfeared, he slept. In at his mouth
The devil entered; and his brutal sense,
In heart or head, possessing, soon inspired
With act intelligential; but his sleep
Disturbed not, waiting close the approach of morn.

Now, when as sacred light began to dawn
In Eden on the humid flowers, that breathed
Their morning incense, when all things, that breathe
From the Earth's great altar send up silent praise
To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pair,
And joined their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs :
Then commune, how that day they best may ply
Their growing work; for much their work outgrew
The hands' dispatch of two, gardening so wide;
And Eve first to her husband thus began :

Adam, well may we labour still to dress
“ This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flower-
“Our pleasant task enjoined; but, till more hands
“ Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
“ Luxurious by restraint: what we by day

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“Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,

210 “One night or two with wanton growth derides,

Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise, “ Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present; Let us divide our labours; thou, where choice “Leads thee, or where most needs; whether to wind “ The woodbine round this arbour, or direct “ The clasping ivy where to climb; while I, “In yonder spring of roses intermixed “With myrtle, find what to redress till noon : “For, while so near each other thus all day “ Our task we choose, what wonder if so near “ Looks intervene and smiles, or object new “ Casual discourse draw on; which intermits “Our day's work, brought to little, though begun “ Early, and the hour of supper comes unearned ?"

To whom mild answer Adam thus returned : “Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond

Compare above all living creatures dear! “ Well hast thou motioned, well thy thoughts employed “How we might best fulfil the work which here 230 “God hath assigned us; nor of me shalt pass

Unpraised; for nothing lovelier can be found • In woman, than to study household good, “ And good works in her husband to promote. “ Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed “ Labour as to debar us, when we need, “ Refreshment, whether food, or talk between" Food of the mind-or this sweet intercourse “ Of looks or smiles ; for smiles from reason flow, “ To brute denied, and are of love the food

240 “ Love, not the lowest end of human life. “ For not to irksome toil, but to delight, “ He made us, and delight to reason joined. “ These paths and bowers doubt not but our joint hands “ Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide “ As we need walk; till younger hands ere long “ Assist us : but if much converse perhaps “ Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield; “ For solitude sometimes is best society,

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“ And short retirement urges sweet return.

250 “ But other doubt possesses me, lest harm “ Befall thee severed from me ; for thou knowst “ What hath been warned us; what malicious foe, “ Envying our happiness, and of his own “ Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame “By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand “ Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find “ His wish and best advantage-us asunder;

Hopeless to circumvent us joined, where each “ To other speedy aid might lend at need :

260 “Whether his first design be to withdraw “Our feälty from God; or to disturb

Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss

Enjoyed by us excites his envy more ; “ Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side That

gave thee being, still shades thee, and proteccs. “ The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks, “ Safest and seemliest by her husband stays, “Who guards her, or with her the worst endures." To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,

270 As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austere composure thus replied:

Offspring of Heaven and Earth, and all Earth's lord ! That such an enemy we have, who seeks “Our ruin, both by thee informed I learn, “And from the parting Angel overheard, As in a shady nook I stood behind, “Just then returned at shut of evening flowers. “ But that thou shouldst my firmness doubt To God, or thee, because we have a foe

2So May tempt it, I expected not to hear. “His violence thou fearest not, being such “As we, not capable of death or pain, “ Can either not receive, or can repel. “ His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers

Thy equal fear, that my firm faith and love “ Can by his fraud be shaken, or seduced :

Thoughts, which, how found they harbour in thy breast, “ Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?”

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