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On to their morning's rural work they haste,
Among sweet dews and flowers ; where any row
Of fruit-trees over-woody reach'd too far (check
Their pamper'd boughs, and needed hands to
Fruitless embraces : or they led the vine
To wed her elm ; she, spous'd, about him twines
Her marriageable arms, and with her brings
Her dower, the adopted clusters, to adorn
His barren leaves. Them thus employ'd beheld
With pity Heaven's high King, and to him call'd
Raphael, the sociable spirit, that deign'd
To travel with Tobias, and secur’d
His marriage with the seven-times-wedded muid..
“ Raphael,” said he, “thou hear'st what stir
on earth

[gulf,
Satan, from hell 'scap'd through the darksome
Hath rais'd in Paradise ; and how disturbid
This night the human pair ; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.
Go therefore, half this day as friend with frierid
Converse with Adam, in what lower or shade
Thou find'st him from the heat of noon retir'd,
To respite his day-labour with repast,
Or with repose ; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though freo
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not, tvo secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss ;
By violence ? no, for that shall be withstood;
But by deceit and lies: this let him know,
Lest, wilfully transgressing, he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn’d."

So spake the Eternal Father, and fulfilled All justice ; nor delay'd the winged saint After his charge rècuiu'd • but from among

Thonsand celestial ardours, where he stood
Veild with his gorgeous wings, up-springing lighg
Flew through the midst of heaven: the angelio

quires,
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road : till, at the gate
Of heaven arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wide
On golden binges turning, as by work
Divine the Sovran Architect had fraın'd.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interpos'd, however small, he sees,
Not unconform'd to other shining globes,
Earth, and the garden of God, with ceilars crown'd
Above all hills. As when by night the glass
Of Galileo, less assur'd, observes
Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon :
Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades
Delos or Samos first appearing, kens
A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds, with steady wine
Now on the polar winds, then with quick fan
Winnows the buxom air ; till within soar
Of towering eagles, to all the fowls he seems
A phenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to enshrine his relics in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he fies.
At once on the eastern cliff of Paradise
de lights, and to his proper shape returns
A se: aph wing'd : six wings he wore to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mandling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold,
and colours dipt in heaven; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctur'd grain., Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly, fragrance
T'he circuit wide. Straight knew him ali the bends
Of angels under watch ; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise :
For on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glittering tents he pass’d, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm ;
A wilderness of sweets ; for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art, enormous bliss.
Him through the spicy forest onward come
Adam discern'd, as in the door be sat
Of his cool hower, while now che mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warın
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adama

alla

needs ; And Eve vithin, due at her hour prepar'd for dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please True appetite, and not disrelish thirst Of nectarousdranghts hetween, from milky stream, Berry or grape : to whom thus Adam call'd :

“ Hasto hither, Eve, and worth thy sight leholl Eastward among those trees, what glorious slapa Comes this way moving ; seems another morn Risen on mid-noon; somegreat behest from heaven To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe This day to be our guest. But go with speed, And what thy stores contain, bring forth and puur Abundance, fit to honour and receive Our heavenly stranger ; well we may

afford Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow From large bestow'd, where Nature muitiplies Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows More fruitful, which instructs us not to spårre.". To whom thus Eve: “ Adam, earth's hallow'd mould,

(store, Of God inspir'd! small store will serve, whore All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk ;

Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish and superfluous moist consumes :
But I will haste, and from each bough and brako,
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on earth
God hath dispens'd his bounties as in heaven."

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best,
What order so contriy'd as not to mix
Tastes not well join'd, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheld with kindliest change
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where
Alcinöus reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough, or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing band; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meaths
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels press'd
She tempers dulcet creams ; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strows the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfum'd.

Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold, Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw'd, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said : “ Native of heaven, for other place Nol.e can than heaven such glosimus shape contain

Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with is
Two only, who yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline."

Whom thus the angelic Virtue answer'd mild:

Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell. ds nay not oft invite, though spirits of heaven, To visit thee ; lead on then where thy bower O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise, I have at will.” So to the sylvan lodge They came, that like Pomona's arbour smil'd, With Aowerets deck'd, and fragrant smells ; but

Eve Undeck'd save with berself, more lovely fair Than wooc-nymph, or the fairest goddess feigu'd Of three that in mount Ida naked strove, Stoud to entertain her gnese from heaven; no vei] öhe needed, virtue-proof; no thought infirin Ilier'd her clieek. On whom the angel " Hait!" destow'd, the only salutation us'd Long after to blest Mary, second Eve :

Hail, mother of mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heap'd this table." Rais'd of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square from side to side All autumn pil'd, though spring and autumn here Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold, No fear lest dinner cool ; when thus began Our author : “ Heavenly stranger, please to tasto These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whow All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends, To us for fuod and for delight hath CAU

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