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The ARGUMENT. Satan having compast the Earth, with me
ditated guile returns as a mist by Night into Paradise, enters into the Serpent Neeping: Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each Tabouring apart: Adam consents not, alledging the danger, left that Enemy, of whom they were forewarn'd, jhorld attempt ber found alone : Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather defirolls to make tryal of her strength; Adam at last yields : The Serpent finds her alone; his jubtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery ex
tolling Eve above all other Creatures. Eve wondring to hear the Serpent Speak, asks how he attain'd to human speech and such understanding not 'till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of à certain Iree in the Garden beattain'd buth to Speech and Reafon, 'til 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; The pleas'd with the taste deliberates a while whether to impart thereofto Adam or not, at last brings him of the Fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof : Adam at first amaz’d, but perceiving her loft, resolves through vehemence of love to peris 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.
O more of talk where God or Angel Guest
With Man, As with his Friend, familar us'd To sit indulgent, and with him pastake Rural repaft, permitting him the while Venial discourte unblam'd : I now must change S Those Notes to Tragic; foul distrust, and breach Difoyal on the part of Man, revolt, And disobedience: On the part of Heav'n Now alienated, distance and distaffe, Anger and just rebuke, and judgement giv'n, That brought into this World a world of woc, Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery Death's Harbinger : Sad task, yet argument Not less but more Heroic than the wrath Of stern Achilles on his Foe pursu'd
15 Thrice Fugitive about Troy Wall; or sage Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d, Or Neptune's ire or Juno’s, that so long Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's Son ; If answerable style I can obtain of my Celestial Patroness, who deigns Her nightly visitation unitsplor'd, And di&tates to me Numbring, or inspires Easie my unpremeditated Verse: Since first this Subject for Heroic Song
25 Pleas?d me long chufing, and beginning late; Not sedulous by Nature to indite Wars, hitherto the only Argument Heroic deem'd, chief malt'ry to diffect