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Saw him disfigur'd, more than could befall
Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce
He mark'd and mad demeanour, then alone,
As he suppos'd, all unobserv'd, unseen.
So on he fares, and to the border comes
Of Eden, where delicious paradise,
Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green,
As with a rural mound, the champain head
Of a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides
With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild,
Access deny'd; and over head up grew
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palin,
A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view. Yet higher than their tops
The verdurous wall of paradise up sprung;
Which to our general sire gave prospect large
Into his neather empire neighbouring round.
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue
138 shade] shaft,' Bentl. MS. and again ver. 141, 'Shaft above shaft.'
141 woody theatre] v. Seneca Troades, ver. 1127.
Erecta medium vallis includens locum,
Crescit theatri more.'
Virg. Æn. v. 288. and Solini Polyhist. c.xxxvili. v. I.j. cophr. Cassandra, ver. 600.
Appear'd, with gay enamel'd colours mixt:
On which the sun more glad impress'd his beams, 15
Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow,
When God hath showr'd the earth; so lovely seem d
That landscape and of pure now purer air
Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires
Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
All sadness but despair: now gentle gales
Fanning their odoriferous wings dispense
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole
Those balmy spoils. As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past 160
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabean odours from the spicy shore
151 in] Hume, Bentley, and Warton would read on fair evening cloud.'
162 Sabean odours] See Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xii. c. 42. 19. 'Magnique Alexandri classibus Arabiam odore primum nuntiatam in altum.' Compare a passage in Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 55 (1696). We were pleased with the prospect of this island, because we had been long strangers to such a sight; and it gratified us with the fragrant smells which were wafted from the shore, from whence, at three leagues distance, we scented the odours of flowers and fresh herbs; and what is very observable, when after a tedious stretch at sea, we have deemed ourselves to be near land by our observation and course, our smell in dark and misty weather has outdone the acuteness of our sight, and we have discovered land by the fresh smells, before we discovered it with our eyes. See also Davenport's City Night-cap,' act v.
That blow off from the coast, and cheer the sailor
With the sweet savour of their spices, want
The delight that flows in thee.'
Of Arabie the blest, with such delay
Well pleas'd they slack their course, and many a
Cheer'd with the grateful smell old Ocean smiles:
So entertain'd those odorous sweets the fiend
Who came their bane, though with them better
Than Asmodeus with the fishy fume,
That drove him, though enamour'd, from the spouse
Of Tobit's son, and with a vengeance sent
From Media post to Egypt, there fast bound.
Now to th' ascent of that steep savage hill
Satan had journied on, pensive and slow;
But further way found none, so thick entwin'd,
As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth
Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplex'd
All path of man or beast that past that way.
One gate there only was, and that look'd east
On th' other side: which when th' arch-fellon saw,
Due entrance he disdain'd, and in contempt
At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound
Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within
Lights on his feet. As when a prowling wolf,
Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,
Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure,
Leaps o'er the fence with ease into the fold:
Or as a thief bent to unhoard the cash
Of some rich burgher, whose substantial doors,
Cross-barr'd and bolted fast, fear no assault, 190
In at the window climbs, or o'er the tiles :
So clomb this first grand thief into God's fold;
So since into his church lewd hirelings climb.
Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life,
The middle tree and highest there that grew, 195
Sat like a cormorant; yet not true life
Thereby regain'd, but sat devising death
To them who liv'd; nor on the virtue thought
Of that life-giving plant, but only us'd
For prospect, what well us'd had been the pledge
Of immortality. So little knows
Any, but God alone, to value right
The good before him, but perverts best things
To worst abuse, or to their meanest use.
Beneath him with new wonder now he views
To all delight of human sense expos'd
In narrow room nature's whole wealth, yea more,
A heav'n on earth: for blissful paradise
Of God the garden was, by him in the east
Of Eden planted; Eden stretch'd her line
From Auran eastward to the royal tow'rs
Of great Seleucia, built by Grecian kings,
Or where the sons of Eden long before
190 Cross-barr'd] Cross-barr'd and double lockt.' Heywood's Hierarchie, p. 510, folio, (1635). 191 In at the window] v. Spenser's Fairy Queen, lib. i. c. 3. ver. 17.
'He was to weet a stout and sturdy thief,
Then he by cunning slights in at the window crept.'
Dwelt in Telassar. In this pleasant soil
His far more pleasant garden God ordain'd;
Out of the fertile ground he caus'd to grow
All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the Tree of Life,
High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit
Of vegetable gold, and next to Life
Our death the Tree of Knowledge grew fast by,
Knowledge of good bought dear by knowing ill.
Southward through Eden went a river large,
Nor chang'd his course, but through the shaggy hill
Pass'd underneath ingulf'd; for God had thrown
That mountain as his garden mould, high rais'd
Upon the rapid current, which, through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the neather flood,
Which from his darksome passage now appears;
And now divided into four main streams
Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account; 2335
But rather to tell how, if art could tell,
Ilow from that saphire fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
Tremuloque alarum remige crispat
Fluctusque fluviosque maris.'
A. Ramsæi Poem. Sacr. ed. Lauder, i. p. 3.
233 orient pearl] See Sir D. Lindsay, ed. Chalmers, ii. 327.