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Our day's work, brought to little, though begun Early, and th' hour of supper comes uneam'd ?" 225

To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd. “Sole Eye, associate sole, to me beyond Compare above all living creatures dear, Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd, How we might best fulfil the work which here 230 God hath assign'd us, nor of me shalt pass Unprais'd: for nothing lovelier can be found In woman, than to study household good, And good works in her husband to promote. Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd 235 Labour, as to debar us when we need Refreshment, whether food, or talk between, Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse of looks and smiles; for smiles from reason flow, To brute deny'd, and are of love the food;

240 Love, not the lowest end of human life. For not to irksome toil, but to delight He made us, and delight to reason join'd. These paths and bow'rs doubt not but our joint hands Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 245 As we need walk, till younger hands ere long Assist us: but, if much converse perhaps Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield: For solitude sometimes is best society, And short retirement urges sweet return. 240 But other doubt possesses me, lest harm Befall thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe, Envying our happiness, and of his own Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame 255 By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find His wish and best advantage, us asunder, Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each To other speedy aid might lend at need:

260 Whether his first desigo be to withdraw

Our feälty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more:
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side 265
That gave thee be'ing, still shades thee and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards Ker, or with her the worst endures."
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,

270 As one who loves, and some unkindness meets, With sweet austere composure thus reply'd.

"Offspring of Heav'n and Earth, and all Earth's lord, That such an enemy we have, who seeks Our ruin, both by thee inform'd' I learn,

275 And from the parting angel overheard, As in a shady nook I stood behind, Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers. But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt To God or thee, because we have a foe

280 May tempt it, I expected not to hear. His violence thou fear'st not, being such As-we, not capable of death or pain, Can either not receive, or can repel. His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers 285 Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love Can by his fraud be sbaken or seduc'd'; Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast, Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?"

To whom with healing words Adam reply'd. 290 “Daughter of God and man, immortal Eve! For such thou art, from sin and blame entire; Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid Th'attempt itself, intended by our foe.

29.5 For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn

And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong, 300
Though ineffectual found ; misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare,
Or daring, first on me thi assault sliall light. 305
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels ; nor think superfluous others' aid.
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue; in thy sight

310
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,
Would utmost vigour raise, and raisd unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel 315
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd?"

So spake domestic Adam in bis care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,

320 Thus her reply with accents sweet renewid.

“ If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten'di by a foe, -
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met,

825
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sip : only our foe,
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
of our integrity; his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns 330
Foul on himself; then wherefore shunn'd or fear'd
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within,
Favour from Heav'n, our witness, from th' event.
And what is faith, love, virtue, unassay'd

335 Alone, without exterior help sustain'd? Let us not then suspect our bappy state Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,

As not seeure to single or combin'd.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,

340 And Eden were no Eden, thus expos'd."

To whom thus Adam fervently reply'd. "O woman, best are all things as the will of God ordain'd them; his creating hand Nothing imperfect or deficient left

345 Of all that he created, much less man, Or ought that might his happy state secure, Secure from outward force; within himself The danger lies, yet lies within his power: Against his will he can receive no harm.

$50 But God left free the will; for what obeys Reason is free; and reason he made right, But bid her well be ware, and still erect, Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpriş'd, She dictate false, and misinform the will

$55 To do what God expressly hath forbid. Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me. Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve; Since reason not impossibly may meet, Some specious object by the foe suborn'd, And fall into deception unaware, Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn'd. Seek not temptation then, which to avoid Were better, and most likely if from me

365 Thou sever not : trial will come unsought. Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve First thy obedience; th' other who can know, Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? But if thou think trial unsought may find 370 Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st, Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Go, in thy native innocence, rely On what thou hast of virtue; summon all! For God tow'rds thee hath done his part, do thine." 375

So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve Persisted, yet submiss, though last, reply'd.

360

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With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd, Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touch'd only, that our trial, when least sought, 380 May find us both perhaps far less prepard, The willinger I go, nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse."

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand 385 Soft she withdrew, and, like a wood-nymph light, Oread or dryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self In gait surpass’d, and goddess-like deport, Though not as she with bow and quiver arm'd, 390 But with such gard’ning tools as art, yet rude, Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or angels brought. To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Likest she seem'd, Pomona, when she fled Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,

395 Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Oft he to her his charge of quick return Repeated, she to him as oft engag'd

400 To be return'd by noon amid the bower, And all things in best order to invite Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose. O much deceiv’d, much failing, hapless Eve, Of thy presum'd return ! event perverse ! 405 Thou never from that hour in Paradise Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose; Such ambush, bid among sweet flow'rs and shades, Waited with hellish rancour imminent To intercept thy way, or send thee back

410 Despoild of innocence, of faith, of bliss ! For now, and since first break of dawn, the fiend, Mere serpent 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 púrpos'd prey.

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