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His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground,
Whence rushing he might surest seise them both,
Grip'd in each paw: when Adam, first of men,
To first of women, Eve, thus moving speech,
Turn’d him, all ear to hear new utterance flow.

Sole partner, and sole part, of all these joys,
Dearer thyself than all; needs must the Power
That made us, and for us this ample world,
Be infinitely good, and of his good
As liberal and free as infinite;
That rais’d us from the dust, and plac'd us here
In all this happiness, who at his hand
Have nothing merited, nor can perform
Aught whereof he hath need; he who requires
From us no other service than to keep
This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only tree
Of knowledge, planted by the tree of life;
So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st
God hath pronounc'd it death to taste that tree,
The only sign of our obedience left,
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion given
Over all other creatures, that possess
Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard
One easy prohibition, who enjoy

Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights :
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task,
Toprune these growing plants, and tend these flowers,
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve replied. O thou for whom
And from whom I was form'd, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide
And head! what thou hast said is just and right.
For we to him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying theé
Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find.
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awak’d, and found myself repos'd
Under a shade on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov’d
Pure as the expanse of Heaven; I thither went
With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appear’d,

Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleas’d I soon return’d,
Pleas'd it return'd as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love : There I had fix'd
Mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warn'd

me,

- What thou seest, What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself; With thee it came and

goes :

but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art: him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd
Mother of human race.” What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platane ; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image : Back I turn'd;
Thou following cry'dst aloud, “Return fair Eve,
Whom fly'st thou ? whom thou fly’st, of him thod

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

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Seis'd mine ; I yielded ; and from that time see
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half-embracing lean'd
On our first father; halt her swelling breast
Naked met his, under the flowing gold
Of her losse tresses hid : he in delight
Both of her beauty, and submissive charms,
Smild with superiour love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flowers; and press'd her matron lip
With kisses pure : Aside the Devil turn'd
For envy; yet with jealous leer malign
Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain’d.

Sight hateful, sight tormenting ! thus these two
Imparadis'd in one another's arms,
The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,
Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Among our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill’d with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd
From their own mouths: All is not theirs, it seems;
One fatal tree there stands, of knowledge call’d,
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,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin ! Hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design
To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt
Equal with Gods; aspiring to be such,
They taste and die : What likelier can ensue?
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 retir'd, from him to draw
What further would be learn’d. Live while ye may
Yet happy pair; enjoy till I return,
Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn’d,
But with sly circumspection, and began
Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale,

his roam.
Mean while in utmost longitude, where Heaven
With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun
Slowly descended, and with right aspect
Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Levell’d his evening rays : It was a rock

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