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Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,
Led on the eternal spring. Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower by gloomy Dis
Was gather’d, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove,
Of Daphne by Orontes, and the inspir’d
Castalian spring, might with this Paradise
Of Eden strive ; nor that Nyseian isle
Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,
Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove,
Hid Amalthea, and her florid son
Young Bacchus, from his stepdame Rhea's eye;
Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,
Mount Amara, though this by some suppos’d
True Paradise under the Ethiop line
By Nilus' head, enclos'd with shining rock,
A whole day's journey high, but wide remote
From this Assyrian garden, where the Fiend
Saw, undelighted, all delight, all kind
Of living creatures, new to sight, and strange.
Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honour clad
In naked majesty seem'd lords of all:
And worthy seem'd; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure,
(Severe, but in true filial freedom plac'd,)

Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;
For contemplation he and valour form’d;
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him :
His fair large front and eye sublime declar'd
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad;
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevell’d, but in wanton ringlets wav'd
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied
Subjection, but requir’d with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best receiv’d,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,
And sweet, reluctant, amorous delay.
Nor these mysterious parts were then conceal’d;
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of nature's works, honour dishonourable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind
With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure,
And banish'd from man's life his happiest life,
Simplicity and spotless innocence !
So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight
Of God or Angel; for they thought no ill :
So hand in hand they pass’d, the loveliest pair,
That ever since in love's embraces met;

Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve.
Under a tuft of shade that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down; and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labour than suffic'd
To recommend cool Zephyr, and made ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell,
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, side-long as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank damask'd with flowers:
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind,
Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they. About them frisking play'd
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion ramp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gambolld before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, us'd all his might, and wreath'd
His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly,
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass

Couch'd, and now fill’d with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun,
Declin’d, was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad.

O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold!
Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'd
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not Spirits, yet to heavenly Spirits bright
Little inferiour; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that form'd them on their shape hath

pour'd. Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh Your change approaches, when all these delights Will vanish, and deliver ye to woe; More woe, the more your taste is now of joy; Happy, but for so happy ill secur’d Long to continue, and this high seat your Heaven Ill fenc'd for Heaven to keep out such a foe As now is enter'd; yet no purpos’d foe To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn, Though I unpitied: League with you I seek, And mutual amity, so starit, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me

Henceforth; my dwelling haply may not please, Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such Accept your Maker's work; he

gave

it

me, Which I as freely give: Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your numerous offspring; if no better place, Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge On you who wrong me not for him who wrong'd. And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet publick reason just, Honour and empire with revenge enlarg’d, By conquering this new world, compels me now To do what else, though damn’d, I should abhor.

So spake the Fiend, and with necessity, The tyrant's plea, excus'd his devilish deeds. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape serv'd best his end Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, To mark what of their state he more might learn, By word or action mark’d: About them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare ; Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied In some purlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight couches close, then, rising, changes oft

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