Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Or daring, first on me th' assault shall light. 305
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could feduce
Angels ; nor think fuperfluous others aid.
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue, in thy light

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 rais'd unite.
Why shouldit not thou like sense within thee feel 315
When I ann present, and thy trial chuse
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd ?

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

320 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd,

If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit Atraitn'd by a foe,
Subtle or violent, : we not endu'd
Single with like defence, wherever met;

385
How are we happy, still in fear of harm ?.
But harm precedes not fin : only our foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem":
Of our integrity :. his foul eleem
Sticks-no difhonour on our front, - but turns 330
Foul on himfelf, then wherefore fhunn'd or fear'd.
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise prov'd false; find peace within,
Favour from heaven, our witness from th' event.
And what is faith, love, virtue unasfay'd 335
Alone, without exteriour help fustain's ?
Let us not then suspect our happy state-
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise, .
As not secure to single or combin'd.

350

Frail is our happiness, if this be fo,

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 aught 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.. 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, Leit by some fair appearing good furpris'd She dictate false, and milinform the will

355 To do what God expressly hath forbid. Not then mistrust, but tender love, injoins That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me. Firm we subfift, yet poffible to (werve; Since reason' not impossibly may meet Some fpecious object by the foe fuborn'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 Thoù sever not trial will come unsought. Wouldst thou approve thy constancy? appove First thy obedience; th’ other who can know, Not seeing thee attempted ? who atteft ? But if thou think, trial unfought may find

370) Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st, Go; for thiy stay, not free, absents thee more ; Go in thy native innocence, rely On what thou hast of virtue, summon all,

360

For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine,

So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve 376 Persisted, yet submiss, though laft, reply'd.

With thy permillion then, and thus forewarn'd, Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touch'd only, that our trial, when least fought, 386 May find us both perhaps far less prepar'd, The willinger I go; nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; So bent, the more fhall shame him his repulse. 384

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand Soft she withdrew, and like a wood-uymph light Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves; but Delia's self In gait surpass’d, and goddesslike deport; Though not, as she, with bow and quiver arm'a, 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 defiring more her stay. Oft he to her his charge of quick return Repeated ; she to him as oft engaged To be return'd by noon amid the bow'sy And all things in belt order to invite Noontide repaft, or afternoon's repose.

much deceiv'd, much failing, hapless Eve, of thy prefum'd return ! event perverfe ! Thou never from that hour in Paradise Found!ft either sweet repast, or sound repose; Such ambush hid among sweet flowers and shades, Waited with helligh rancour imminent

400

410

To intercept thy way, or send thee back
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

415
The whole included race, his purpos'd prey.
In bower 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 shady rivulet

420 He fought them both, but wilh'd his hap might find Eve separate; he wish'd, but not with hope Of what fo feldom chance'd : when to his wish, Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood

425 Half spy'd, fo thick the roses hushing round About her glow'd; oft stooping to support Each flower of flender falk, whose head though gay Carnation, purple', azure, or speck'd with gold, Hung drooping unsustaind: them she upstays Gently with myrtle band; mindless the while Herself, though fairelt unsupported flower, From her best prop so far, and form fo nigh. Nearer he drew, and many a walk travérs’d Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm; 435 Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen Among chick-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, host of old Laertes son ; Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian fpouse. Much he the place admir'd, the person more.

430

450

460

As one who long in populous city pent,

445 Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe Among the pleasant villages and farms Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight; The sinell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, Or dairy', each rural fight, each rural sound; If chance, with nymphlike step, fair virgin pass, What pleasing feem'd, for her now pleases more, She most, and in her look fums all delight: Such pleasure took the ferpent to behold

455 This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve Thus early, thus alone ; her heavenly form Angelic, but more soft, and feminine, Her graceful innocence, her ev'ry air Of geiture, 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,

465 Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. But the hot hell that always in him burns, Though in mid heaven, foon ended his delight; And tortures him now more, the more he fees Of pleasure not for him ordain'd: then foon 479 Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites.

Thoughts, whither have ye led me! with what sweet Compulfion thus transported, to forget What hither brought us! hate, not love, nor hope Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy, Save what is in destroying; other joy To me is loft. Then let me not let pass

476

« ForrigeFortsæt »