« ForrigeFortsæt »
Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face Adam's Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute;
shame Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed, At length gave utterance to these words con
O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfeit Man's voice-true in our fall,
False in our promised rising; since our eyes 1070
Opened we find indeed, and find we know
Both good and evil, good lost and evil got :
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know,
Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void,
Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
Our wonted ornaments now soiled and stained,
And in our faces evident the signs
Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store,
Even shame, the last of evils ; of the first
Be sure then. How shall I behold the face 1080
Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy
And rapture so oft beheld? Those Heavenly
Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze
Insufferably bright. Oh, might I here
In solitude live savage, in some glade
Obscured, where highest woods, impenetrable
To star or sunlight, spread their umbrage broad,
And brown as evening! Cover me, ye pines!
Ye cedars, with innumerable boughs
Hide me, where I may never see them more! 1090
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
What best may, for the present, serve to hide
of each from other that seem most To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen—
They Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves, together make a
covering And girded on our loins, may cover round
Those middle parts, that this new comer, Shame,
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.'
So counselled he, and both together went
Into the thickest wood. There 600n they
The fig-tree-not that kind for fruit renowned,
But such as, at this day, to Indians known,
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms
Branching so broad and long that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillared shade
High overarched, and echoing walks between :
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunding heat,
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade. Those
They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe,
And with what skill they had together sewed,
To gird their waist-vain covering, if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame! O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found the American, so girt
With feathered cincture, naked else and wild,
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame
Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind,
They sat them down to weep. Nor only tears
Rained at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions-anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord-and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once Mutual And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
reproaches For Understanding ruled not, and the Will Heard not her lore, both in subjection now To sensual Appetite, who, from beneath Usurping over sovran Reason, claimed
Superior sway. From thus distempered breast
Adam, estranged in look and altered style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed :-
• Would thou hadst hearkened to my words,
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,
I know not whence possessed thee! We had
Remained still happy-not, as now, despoiled
Of all our good, shamed, naked, miserable!
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek
Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail.'
To whom, soon moved with touch of blame,
thus Eve :-
• What words have passed thy lips, Adam
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will
Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who
But might as ill have happened thou being by,
Or to thyself perhaps ? Hadst thou been there,
Or here the attempt, thou couldst not have dis-
Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake ; 1150
No ground of enmity between us known
Ingrate- Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. fal Eve Was I to have never parted from thy side ?
As good have grown there still, a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the head,
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou saidst ?
Too facile then, thou didst not much gainsay,
Nay, didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fixed in thy dis-
1160 Neither had I transgressed, nor thou with me.'
To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied:-
• Is this the love, is this the recompense
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, expressed
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I-
Who might have lived, and joyed immortal bliss,
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?
And am I now upbraided as the cause
Of thy transgressing? not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint! What could i
I warned thee, I admonished thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy
That lay in wait ; beyond this had been force,
And force upon free will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on, secure
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial ; and perhaps
I also erred in overmuch admiring
What seemed in thee 80 perfect that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee. But I rue 1180
That error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser.
Thus it shall befall
Him who, to worth in women overtrusting,
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not blames brook;
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.'
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;
And of their vain contest appeared no end.
THE END OF THE NINTH BOOK