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“ Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorn'd. 635 “My author, and disposer! what thou bidd'st
Unargued I obey: so God ordains.
“ With thee conversing I forget all time;
“ Sweet is the breath of morn; her rising sweet,
“ His orient beams on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, 645 “Glistering with dew: fragrant the fertile earth
“ After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
“ Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night, 655 “ 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: 660 “Daughter of God and man, accomplish'd Eve!
“ These have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow evening; and from land to land “In order, though to nations yet unborn,
“ Ministering light prepar'd, they set and rise; 665 “Lest total darkness should by night regain
“Her old possession, and extinguish
“ Not only enlighten, but, with kindly heat
“Of various influence, foment and warm670 “ Temper or nourish; or in part shed down “ Their stellar virtue on all kinds that
“ These then, though unbeheld in deep of night, 675 “ 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:
“All these, with ceaseless praise, his works behold 680 “Both day and night. How often, from the steep
“Of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard
Singing their great Creator! Oft in bands
“ With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd 690 On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chose by the sov'reign planter, when he fram'd
Laurel, and myrtle; and what higher grew, 695 Of firm and fragrant leaf : on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
705 Such was their awe of man. In shadier bower
More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, 710 Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed;
And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods 715 Endow'd with all their gifts ;—and O, too like
In sad event!—when to th' unwiser son
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire. 720
Thus, at their shady lodge arriv’d, both stood,
And starry pole: “ Thou also mad'st the night, 725 “ Maker Omnipotent ! and thou the day,
" Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
“ Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place 730 “For us too large, where thy abundance wants
“ Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
This said unanimous, and other rites
Handed they went; and, eas'd the putting off 740 These troublesome disguises which we wear,
Straight side by side were laid; nor turn'd, I ween,
Mysterious of connubial love refus’d:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk 745 Of purity, and place, and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
But our destroyer, foe to God, and man?
Of human offspring ; sole propriety
Among the bestial herds to range: by thee, 755 Founded in reason, loyal, just, and pure,
Relations dear, and all the charities
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place; 760 Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets !
Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc'd,
His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings; 765 Reigns here and revels: not in the bought smile
Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendear'd,
Or serenate, which the starved lover sings 770 To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
These, lull’d by nightingales, embracing slept;
Blest pair ! and O, yet happiest, if
Now had night measur’d with her shadowy cone
780 To their night-watches in warlike parade ;
When Gabriel to his next in power thus spake :
“Uzziel! half these draw off, and coast the south “With strictest watch ; these other wheel the north :
“ Our circuit meets full west.” As flame they part, 785 Half wheeling to the shield, half to the spear.
From these, two strong and subtle spirits he callid,
“ Ithuriel and Zephon! with wing'd speed
“Now laid perhaps asleep, secure of harm.
“ Hitherward bent, (who could have thought ?) escap'd 795 “ The bars of hell-on errand bad, no doubt : “Such, where ye find, seize fast, and hither bring."
So saying, on he led his radiant files,
In search of whom they sought ; him there they found, 800 Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
Assaying, by his devilish art, to reach
Or if, inspiring venom, he might taint
Like gentle breaths from rivers pure; thence raise,
with high conceits engendering pride. 810 Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
Touch'd lightly; (for no falsehood can endure
Discover'd and surpris'd. As when a spark 815 Lights on a heap of nitrous powder, laid
Fit for the tun, some magazine to store