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Than that smooth watery image: Back I turned ;
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 excelled by manly grace,
And wisdom which alone is truly fair.”

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So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreproved,
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned
On our first father : Aside the Devil turned
For envy ; yet with jealous leer malign
Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained :

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SATAN.

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Sight hateful! sight tormenting ! thus these two,
Imparadised in one another's arms ;

while I to Hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gained
From their own mouths : all is not theirs, it seems ;
One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge called,
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,

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The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin!
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 learned. Live while ye may,

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Ye happy pair ; enjoy, till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed !”

So saying, his proud step he scornful turned,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his roam.
Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspéct
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levelled 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;

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Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired
Impress the air, and shows the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds : He thus began in haste :-

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URIEL.

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“ 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 seemed, to know
More of the Almighty's works, and chiefly Man,
God's latest image: I described his way
Bent all on speed, and marked his aery gait;
But in the mount that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks
Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured:
Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him : One of the banished crew,
I fear, hath ventured from the deep, to raise
New troubles ; him thy care must be to find.
To whom the wingèd warrior thus returned :-

1 Niphates. See book iii. line 429.

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GABRIEL.

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“ Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitst,
See far and wide : In at this gate none pass
The vigilance 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'erleaped these earthy 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 tellist, by morrow dawning I shall know.”

Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad ;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous descant sung ;
Silence was pleased : Now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus', that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

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ADAM.

When Adam thus to Eve:—“Fair Consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest, Mind us of like repose ; since God hath set

510 Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines Our eye-lids. * To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east 515 With first approach of light, we must be risen, And at our pleasant labour, to reform Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, That mock our scant manuring?, and require More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth : 1 The evening star.

2 For manæuvring (management).

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Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest."

To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned :

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EVE.

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“My Author and Disposer, what thou bidst
Unargued I obey :
Sweet is the breath of Morn', her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds : pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew ; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers ; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful Evening mild ; then silent Night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train :
But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds ; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers •
Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night,
With this her solemn bird, nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these ; for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes ?”

To whom our general ancestor replied:

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ADAM.

“Daughter of God and Man, accomplished Eve, These have their course to finish round the earth, By morrow evening, and from land to land

550 In order, though to nations yet unborn, Ministering light prepared, they set and rise. These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, Shine not in vain ; nor think, though men were none, That Heaven would want spectators, God want praise : Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep 2:

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1 See an imitation of this passage spirits, see Channing's Essay on in Cowper's Task-The Sofa, line 89. Milton.

2 On the poet's belief in a world of

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All these with ceaseless praise his works behold
Both day and night : how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard

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Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift the thoughts to Heaven.”

Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed On to their blissful bower : it was a place Chosen by the Sovran Planter, when he framed 570 All things to Man's delightful use; the roof Of thickest covert was inwoven shade Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf ; on either side Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,

575 Fenced up the verdant wall ; each beauteous, flower, Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine, Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought Mosaic; underfoot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone Of costliest emblem: Other creature here, Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none, Such was their awe of Man. Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, 585 Both turned, and under open sky, adored The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven, Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe, And starry pole:-“ Thou also mad’st the night, Maker Omnipotent, and thou the day,

599 Which we, in our appointed work employed, Have finished, happy in our mutual help And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss Ordained by thee; and this delicious place For us too large, where thy abundance wants Partakers, and, uncropped, falls to the ground. But thou hast promised from us two a race To fill the earth, who shall with us extol Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake, And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."

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