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“ By which to heavenly love thou may'st ascend,
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.” 595 To whom thus, half-abash’d, Adam replied:
“ Neither her outside form’d so fair, nor aught
“ And with mysterious reverence I deem,)
“Those thousand decencies that daily flow
“ Union of mind, or in us both one soul : 605 Harmony to behold in wedded pair
“More grateful than harmonious sound to th' ear;
“ Who meet with various objects, from the sense 610 “ Variously representing ; yet, still free,
Approve the best, and follow what I approve. “ To love, thou blam'st me not; for love, thou say'st, “Leads up to heaven; is both the way and guide:
“ Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask: 615
“ Love not the heavenly spirits ? and how their love
To whom the angel, with a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue,
“Us happy; and, without love, no happiness.
(And pure thou wert created,) we enjoy
“In eminence; and obstacle find none
“ Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace,
“ But I can now no more: the parting sun, “ Beyond the earth's green cape and verdant isles,
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart. “ Be strong, live happy, and love! but, first of all,
Him, whom to love is to obey; and keep 635 “ His great command: take heed lest passion sway
• Thy judgment to do aught which else free will “ Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons, “ The weal, or woe, in thee is plac'd; beware!
“I in thy persevering shall rejoice, 640 “And all the blest. Stand fast! to stand, or fall,
“ Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus 645 Follow'd with benediction : “Since to part,
“Go, heavenly guest, ethereal messenger,
Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever 650 “ With grateful memory: thou to mankind
“ Be good and friendly still, and oft return!"
So parted they; the angel up to heaven
Satan having encompassed the earth, with meditated guile returns, as a
mist, by night into Paradise; enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone: Eve, loth to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields: the serpent finds her alone : his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking ; with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech, and such understanding, not till now: the serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he had attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden : the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments, induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit; relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her; and extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit: the effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
No more of talk where God, or angel guest,
Rural repast; permitting him the while 5 Venial discourse unblam'd. I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Now alienated, distance, and distaste,
That brought into this world—a world of woe-
Not less, but more heroic than the wrath 15 Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Perplex'd the Greek, and Cytherea's son: 20 If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns