« ForrigeFortsæt »
To intercept thy way, or fend thee back
Defpoil'd of innocence, of faith, of blits.
For now, and fince first break of dawn, the fiend,
Mere ferpent in appearance, forth was come,
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find
The only two of mankind, but in them
The whole included race, his purpos'd prey.
In bow'r and field he fought, where any tuft
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,
Their tendance, or plantation for delight;
By fountain or by fhady rivulet
He fought them both, but wifh'd his hap might find!
Eve feparate; he wifh'd, but not with hope
Of what so seldom chanc'd, when to his with,
Beyond his hope, Eve feparate he fpies,
Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where the stood 425.
Half-fpy'd, fo thick the roses bufhing round.
About her glow'd'; oft stooping to support
Each flower of flender ftalk, whose head though gay
Carnation, purple', azure, or fpeck'd with gold,
Hung drooping unfuftain'd; them the upstays
Gently with myrtle-band, mindless the while
Herself, though faireft unfupported flower,.
From her best prop fo far, and storm fo nigh..
Nearer he drew, and many a walk travérs'd
Of ftatelieft covert, cedar, pine, or palm;
Then voluble and bold, now hid; now feen-
Among thick-woven arborets and flowers
Imborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve:
Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd
Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd.
Alcinous, hoft of old Laertes' fon;
Or that, not myftic, where the fapient king
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
Much he the place admir'd, the perfon more."
As one who long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and fewers annoy the air,
Forth iffuing on a fummer's morn, to breathe
Among the pleafant villages and farms
Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight;
The fmell of grain, or tedded grafs, or kine,
Or dairy', each rural fight, each rural found;
If chance, with nymphlike step, fair virgin pafs,
What pleafing feem'd, for her now pleases more,
She moft, and in her look fums all delight:
Such pleasure took the ferpent to behold
This flow'ry plat, the fweet recefs of Eve
Thus early, thus alone; her heav'nly form
Angelic, but more foft, and feminine,
Her graceful innocence, her ev'ry air
Of gefture, or least action, overaw'd
His malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
That space the evil one abstracted stood
From his own ev'il, and for the time remain'd
Stupidly good, of enmity difarm'd,
Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge;
But the hot hell that always in him burns,
Though in mid heav'n, foon ended his delight,
And tortures him now more, the more he fees
Of pleafure not for him ordain'd: then foon
Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites,
Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what fweet Compulfion thus transported, to forget
What hither brought us! hate, not love, nor hope
Of Paradife for hell, hope here to tafte
Of pleafure, but all pleafure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy
To me is loft. Then let me not let pafs
Occafion which now fmiles: behold alone
The woman, opportune to all attempts;
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh,
Whofe higher intellectual more I fhun,
And ftrength, of courage haughty, and of limb
Heroic built, though of terreftrial mould;
Foe not informidable, exempt from wound;
I not; fo much hath hell debas'd, and pain
Infeebled me, to what I was in heaven.
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods,
Not terrible, though terror be in love
And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate,
Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd,
The way which to her ruin now I tend.
So fpake the enemy' of mankind, inclos'd In ferpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve Addrefs'd his way, not with indented wave, Prone on the ground, as fince, but on his rear, Circular base of rifing folds, that tower'd Fold above fold, a furging maze; his head Crefted aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect Amidst his circling fpires, that on the grass Floated redundant: pleafing was his fhape And lovely; never fince of ferpent kind Lovelier not thofe that in Illyria chang'd Hermione and Cadmus, or the god In Epidaurus; nor to which transform'd Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was feen; He with Olympias, this with her who bore Scipio the height of Rome. With tract oblique 510 At first, as one who fought accefs, but fear'd ́ To interrupt, fide-long he works his way. As when a fhip by fkilful fteerfman wrought Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Veers oft, as oft steers, and shifts her fail:
So varied he, and of his tortuous train
Curl'd many a wanton wreath in fight of Eve,
To lure her eye: She bufied heard the found
Of ruftling leaves, but minded not, as us'd
To fuch difport before her through the field,
From every beaft, more duteous at her call,
Than at Circean call the herd difguis'd.
He bolder now, uncall'd before her stood,
But as in gaze admiring: oft he bow'd
His turret creft, and fleek enamell'd neck,
Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon fhe trod.
His gentle dumb expreffion turn'd at length
The eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad
Of her attention gain'd, with ferpent tongue
Organic, or impulfe of vocal air,
His fraudulent temptation thus began.
Wonder not, fov'reign mistress, if perhaps
Thou canft, who art fole wonder; much less arm
Thy looks, the heav'n of mildness, with difdain,
Difpleas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze 535
Infatiate, I thus fingle; nor have fear'd
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir'd.
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine-
By gift, and thy celestial beauty' adore,
With ravishment beheld, there beft beheld.
Where univerfally admir'd; but here
In this inclofure wild, these beasts among,
Beholders rude, and shallow to difcern
Half what in thee is fair, one man except,
Who fees thee'? (and what is one?) who should'st be
A goddess among gods, ador'd and ferv'd
By angels numberless, thy daily train.
So gloz'd the tempter, and his proem tun'd;
Into the heart of Eve his words made way,
Though at the voice much marvelling; at length,
Not unamaz'd, the thus in anfwer spake.
What may this mean? language of man pronounc'd
By tongue of brute, and human fenfe exprefs'd?
The first at least of thefe I thought deny'd
To beasts, whom God on their creation-day
Created mute to all articulate found:
The latter I demur; for in their looks
Much reason, and in their action, oft appears.
Thee, ferpent, fubtleft beast of all the field
I knew, but not with human voice endu'd;
Redouble then this miracle, and say,
How can't thou speakable of mute, and how
To me fo friendly grown above the rest
Of brutal kind that daily are in fight:
Say, for fuch wonder claims attention due !
To whom the guileful tempter thus reply'd. Empress of this fair world, refplendent Eve, Eafy to me it is to tell thee all
What thou command'ft, and right thou shouldft be?
I was at first as other beasts that graze
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low,
As was my food; nor ought but food difcern'd
Or fex, and apprehended nothing high:
Till on a day roving the field, I chanc'd
A goodly tree far diftant to behold,
Loaden with fruit of faireft colours mix'd,
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze;
When from the boughs a favoury odour blown,
Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my fenfe
Than fmell of fweeteft fennel, or the teats
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even,
Unfuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play..
To fatisfy the fharp defire I had