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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 wide
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sov’reign Architect had fram'd.
From hence, no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Stir 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 261
Of Galileo, less assur’d, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon : :
Or pilot, from 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
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wing
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air : till within soar

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Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A Phenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to inshrine 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 Sei 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 280
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round

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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-tinetur'd grain. Like Maria's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance tilld
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of Angels under watch ; and to his state,
And to his message high in honour rise 289
For on some message high they guess'd him bound,
Their glittering tents he pass’d, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm j
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
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bow'r, while now the mounted sun 300
Şhot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam

needs :
And Eve within, due at her hour prepar'd
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of necta’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 310 Ris’n on mid-noon; some great behest from Heaven

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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. 320

To whom thus Eve. Adam, earth’s hallow'd mould,
Of God inspird, smil 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 Heaven. 330

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 Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change; Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk Whatever Earth all-bearing mother yields In India East or West, or middle shore In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat Rough or smooth rin'd, or bearded husk, or shell,

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She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From mariy a berry', and from sweet kernels press'd
She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure, then strews the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfum’d.

Mean while our primitive great sire, to meet 330
His God-like guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied tiian with his own complete
Perfections : in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold,
Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape,
Nearer his presence Adam though not aw'd,
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
As to' a superior nature, bowing low, 360
Thus said. Native of Heav'n, for other place
None can than Heav'n such glorious shape contain;
Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign’d a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two' only, who yet by sov’reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline.

37• Whom thus th' angelic Virtue answer'd mild. Adam, I therefore came, nor art thou such

Created, or such place hast here to dwell,
As may not oft invite, though Spi'rits of Heav'n,
To visit tliee; lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades ; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smild
With flow'rets deck'd and fragrant smells; but Eve
Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair 380
Than Wood-Nymph, or the fairest Goddess feign'd
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
Stood to’ entertain her guest from Heav'n ; no veil
She needed, virtue roof; no thought infirm
Alter'd her cheek. Un whom the Angel Hail
Bestow'd, the holy salutation us’d
Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.

Hail Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb
Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons,
Than with these various fruits the trees of God 390
Have heap'd this table. Raisd of grassy turf
Their table was, and mossy seats had round,
And on her ample square from side to side
All autumn pil'd, though spring and autumn here
Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold;
No fear lest dinner cool ; when thus began
Our author. Heav'nly stranger, please to taste
These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom
All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends,
To us for food and for delight hath caus'd 4.00
The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps
To spiritual natures; only this I know,

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