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Should God create another Eve, and I

Another rib afford, yet loss 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 shall be parted, bliss or woe."

So having said, as one from sad dismay
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturbed,
Submitting to what seemed remediless,

Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turned :-
"Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve,
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared
Had it been only coveting to eye

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That sacred food, sacred to abstinence;
Much more to taste it, under ban to touch.
But past who can recall, or done undo?
Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate! Yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die; perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now-foretasted fruit,
Profaned first by the Serpent, by him first
Made common and unhallowed ere our taste,
Nor yet on him found deadly. He yet lives-

Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live, as Man,
Higher degree of life: inducement strong
To us, as likely, tasting, to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
But to be Gods, or Angels, demi-gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy
Us, his prime creatures, dignified so high,
Set over all his works; which, in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependent made. So God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose-

Not well conceived of God; who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
Us to abolish, lest the Adversary

Triumph and say: 'Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? Me first
He ruined, now Mankind; whom will he next?'-

Matter of scorn not to be given the Foc.
However, I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom. If death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel

The bond of Nature draw me to my own-
My own in thee; for what thou art is mine.

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Our state cannot be severed; we are one,
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself."
So Adam; and thus Eve to him replied:-
"O glorious trial of exceeding love,
Illustrious evidence, example high!
Engaging me to emulate; but, short
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain,

Adam? from whose dear side I boast me sprung,
And gladly of our union hear thee speak,

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One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof

This day affords, declaring thee resolved,

Rather than death, or aught than death more dread,

Shall separate us, linked in love so dear,

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To undergo with me one guilt, one crime,
If any be, of tasting this fair fruit;

Whose virtue (for of good still good proceeds,
Direct, or by occasion) hath presented
This happy trial of thy love, which else
So eminently never had been known.

Were it I thought death menaced would ensue
This my attempt, I would sustain alone

The worst, and not persuade thee-rather die
Deserted than oblige thee with a fact
Pernicious to thy peace, chiefly assured
Remarkably so late of thy so true,

So faithful, love unequalled. But I feel

Far otherwise the event-not death, but life

Augmented, opened eyes, new hopes, new joys,
Taste so divine that what of sweet before

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Hath touched my sense flat seems to this and harsh.
On my experience, Adam, freely taste,

And fear of death deliver to the winds."

So saying, she embraced him, and for joy
Tenderly wept, much won that he his love
Had so ennobled as of choice to incur
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
In recompense (for such compliance bad
Such recompense best merits), from the bough
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
With liberal hand. He scrupled not to eat,
Against his better knowledge, not deceived,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan;

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Sky loured, and, muttering thunder, some sad drops
Wept at completing of the mortal Sin
Original; while Adam took no thought,
Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate

Her former trespass feared, the more to soothe
Him with her loved society; that now,

As with new wine intoxicated both,

They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wings
Wherewith to scorn the Earth.

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But that false fruit

Far other operation first displayed,
Carnal desire inflaming. He on Eve

Began to cast lascivious eyes; she him
As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn,
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move:—
66 'Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste
And elegant--of sapience no small part;
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And palate call judicious. I the praise

Yield thee; so well this day thou hast purveyed.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting. If such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But come; so well refreshed, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare;
For never did thy beauty, since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned
With all perfections, so inflame my sense
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now
Than ever-bounty of this virtuous tree!"

So said he, and forbore not glance or toy

Of amorous intent, well understood

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Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire.

Her hand he seized, and to a shady bank,

Thick overhead with verdant roof embowered,

He led her, nothing loth; flowers were the couch,

Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,

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And hyacinth-Earth's freshest, softest lap.

There they their fill of love and love's disport

Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal,

The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep

Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play.
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
That with exhilarating vapour bland

About their spirits had played, and inmost powers
Made err, was now exhaled, and grosser sleep,
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
Encumbered, now had left them, up they rose
As from unrest, and, each the other viewing,

Soon found their eyes how opened, and their minds

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How darkened. Innocence, that as a veil

Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone;
Just confidence, and native righteousness,
And honour, from about them, naked left
To guilty Shame: he covered, but his robe
Uncovered more. So rose the Danite strong,
Herculean Samson, from the harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and waked

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Shorn of his strength; they destitute and bare
Of all their virtue. Silent, and in face

Confounded, long they sat, as strucken mute;

Till Adam, though not less than Eve abashed,

At length gave utterance to these words constrained:-
"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
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
Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy

And rapture so oft beheld? Those Heavenly Shapes
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!
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
What best may, for the present, serve to hide
The parts of each from other that seem most
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen-
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves, together sewed,
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 soon they chose
The fig-tree-not that kind for fruit renowned,

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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, shunning heat,
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds

At loop-holes cut through thickest shade. Those leaves

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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 in part

Covered, but not at rest or ease of mind,

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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
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
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,

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Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed :

"Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and stayed With me, as I besought thee, when that strange

Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,

I know not whence possessed thee!

We had then

Remained still happy-not, as now, despoiled

Of all our good, shamed, naked, miserable!

Let none henceforth seek needless cause to approve

The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek

Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail."

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To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus Eve :"What words have passed thy lips, Adam severe?

Imput'st thou that to my default, or will

Of wandering, as thou call'st it, which who knows
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 discerned

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