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Such prohibitions bind not.
Binds us with after-bands, what profits then
Our inward freedom? In the day we eat
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
How dies the ferpent? he hath eat'n and lives,
And knows, and speaks, and reafons, and difcerns, 765
Irrational till then. For us alone
Was death invented? or to us deny'd
This intellectual food, for beafts referv'd?
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first
Hath tafted, envies not, but brings with joy.
The good befall'n him, author unfufpect,
Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil
Of God or death, of law or penalty?
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
Fair to the eye, inviting to the tale,
Of virtue to make wife: what hinders then
To reach, and feed at once both body' and mind?
So faying, her rafh hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, fhe pluck'd, fhe eat:
Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her feat,
Sighing through all her works, gave figns of woe,
That all was loft. Back to the thicket flunk
The guilty ferpent; and well might, for Eve
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought elfe
Regarded, fuch delight till then, as feem'd,
In fruit fhe never tafted, whether true
Or fancy'd fo, through expectation high
Of knowledge; nor was godhead from her thought. Greedily fhe ingorg'd without restraint,
And knew not eating death. Satiate at length,
And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon,
Thus to herself fhe pleafingly began.
O fov'reign, virtuous, precious of all trees
In Paradife, of operation bleís'd
To fapience, hitherto obfcur'd, infam'd,
And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end
Created; but henceforth my early care,
Not without fong, each morning, and due praife, Sco
Shall tend thee, and thy fertile burden ease
Of thy full branches, offer'd free to all;
Till dieted by thee I
In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know;
Though others envy what they cannot give;
For had the gift been theirs, it had not here
Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe,
Beft guide; not following thee, I had remain'd
In ignorance; thou open'ft wisdom's way,
And giv'ft accefs, though fecret the retire.
And I perhaps am fecret; heaven is high,
High, and remote to fee from thence diftin&t
Each thing on earth; and other care perhaps
May have diverted from continual watch
Our great forbidder, fafe with all his fpies
About him. But to Adam in what fort
Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known
As yet my change, and give him to partake
Full happiness with me; or rather not,
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power
Without copartner? fo to add what wants
In female fex, the more to draw his love,
And render me more equal, and perhaps,
A thing not undefirable, fometime
Superior; for inferior who is free?
This may be well: but what if God have feen,
And death enfue? then I fhall be no more,
And Adam, wedded to another Eve,
Shall live with her enjoying, I extin&t;
A death to think. Confirm'd then I resolve,
Adam fhall fhare with me in blifs or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could endure, without him live no life.
So faying, from the tree her step she turn'd;
But first low reverence done, as to the pow'r
That dwelt within, whofe prefence had infus'd
Into the plant fciential fap, deriv'd
From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while,
Waiting defirous her return, had wove
Of choicest flowers a garland to adorn
Her treffes, and her rural labours crown,
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, fo long delay'd:
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Mifgave him; he the falt'ring measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way fhe took
That morn when firft they parted. By the tree
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
A bough of faireft fruit, that downy smil'd,
New gather'd, and ambrofial fmell diffus'd.
To him the hafted; in her face excufe
Came prologue, and apology too prompt,
Which with bland words at will the thus addrefs'd.
Haft thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay?
Thee I have mifs'd, and thought it long, depriv'd
Thy prefence, agony of love till now
Not felt, nor fhall be twice; for never more
Mean I to try, what rafa untry'd I fought,
The pain of abfence from thy fight. But ftrange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear:
This tree is not, as we are told, a tree
Of danger tafted, nor to' evil unknown
Op'ning the way; but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them gods who taste;
And hath been tafted fuch: the serpent wife,
Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying,
Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become,
Not dead, as we are threaten'd, but thenceforth 870
Endu'd with human voice and human sense,
Reasoning to admiration, and with me
Perfuafively hath fo prevail'd, that I
Have alfo tafted, and have also found
Th' effects to correfpond; op'ner mine eyes,
Dim erft, dilated fpirits, ampler heart,
And growing up to godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I fought, without thee can despise.
For blifs, as thou haft part, to me is blifs;
Tedious unfhar'd with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore alfo tafte, that equal lot
May join us, equal joy as equal love;
Left thou not tafting, different degree
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.
Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told;
But in her cheek distemper flushing glow'd.
On th' other fide, Adam, foon as he heard
The fatal trefpafs done by Eve, amaz'd,
Aftonied stood, and blank, while horror chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd;
From his flack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed: Speechlefs he stood, and pale; till thus at length Firft to himfelf he inward filence broke.
O fairest of creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to fight or thought be form'd,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou loft, how on a fudden lost,
Defac'd, deflower'd, and now to death devote?
Rather, how haft thou yielded to tranfgrefs
The ftrict forbiddance, how to violate
The facred fruit forbidd'n? Some curfed fraud
Of enemy hath beguil'd thee, yet unknown;
And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee`
Certain my refolution is to die:
How can I live without thee, how forego
Thy fweet converfe and love, fo dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet lofs of thee
Would never from my heart; no, no, I feel
The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never fhall be parted, bliss or woe.
So having faid, as one from fad dismay Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturb'd, Submitting to what feem'd remedilefs,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd. 920 Bold deed thou hast presum'd, advent'rous Eve, And peril great provok'd, who thus haft dar'd,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That facred fruit, facred to abftinence,
Much more to taste it, under ban to touch.
But paft who can recal, or done undo?
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate: yet fo
Perhaps thou shalt not die, perhaps the fact
Is not fo heinous now, foretafted fruit,
Profan'd first by the ferpent, by him first
Made common and unhallow'd ere our tafte:
Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,
Lives, as thou faidft, and gains to live, as man,
Higher degree of life; inducement frong