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That I should mind thee oft: and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foe suboru'd,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn'd
Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve
First thy obedience; the other who can know,
Not seeing the attempted, who attest ?
But, if thou think, trial unsought may find
Us both seçarer than thus warn'd thou seein'st,
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more:
Go in thy native innocence, rely
On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine.
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve
Persisted ; yet submiss, though last, replied :
“ With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touch only; that our trial, when least sought, May find us both perhaps l'ar less prepar’d; The willinger I go, nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek ; So hent, the more shall share him his repulse."
Thus sayins, from sier husband's hand her liard Soft she withdrew, and like a wood-nymph lighi, Oreal or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves ;. but Delia's self In gait surpass'd, and goddess-like deport, Though not as she with bow and quiver arm d, But with such gardening-tools as art yet rude, Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or angels brought To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd, Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime, Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursued
Delighted, but desiring more her stay.
Oft he to her his charge of quick return
Repeated : she to him as oft engag'd
To be return'd by noon amid the bower,
And all things in best order to invite
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
O much deceiv'd, much failing, bapless Eve,
Of thy presum'd return ! event perverse !
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose ;
Such ambush, hid among sweet flowers and shades
Waited with hellish rancour imminent
To intercept thy way, or send the back
Despoil'd of innocence, of faith, of bliss !
For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend,
Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come;
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find
The only two of mankind, but in them
The whole included race, his purpos'd prey.
In bower and field be sought where any tuft
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,
Their tendance, or plantation for delight;
By fountain or by shady rivulet
He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find
Eve separate; he wish'd, but not with hope
Of what so seldom chanc'd; when to his wish,
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies
Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
Half spied, so thick the roses blushing round
About her glow'd, oft stooping to support
Each flower of slender stalk, whose head, though gay
Carnation, purple, azure, or speck'd with gold,
Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays
Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while
Herself, though fairest unsupported flower,
From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh.
Nearer he drew, and many a walk travers'd
Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm;
Then volulile and bold, now hid, now seen,
Among thick-woven arborets, and flowers
.mborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve:
Spot more delicious than thore gardens feign'i
Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd
Alcinöus, host of old Laërtes' son ;
Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king
Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse.
Much he the place admir'd, the person more.
As one who long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
Forth issuing on a summer's morn, to breathe
Among the pleasant villages and farms
Adjoin'd, from each thing meet conceives delighet
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kive,
Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound;
If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin EBRA
What pleasing seemd, for her now pleases more
She most, and in her look sums all delight:
Such pleasure took the serpent to behold
This flowery plat, the sweet recess-of Eve
Thus early, thus alone; her heavenly form
Angelic, but more soft, and feminine,
Her graceful innocence, her every air
Of gesture, or least action, overair'd
His malice, and with rapine sweet berear'd
His fierceness of the fierou intent it brought :
That space the evil one alistracted stood
Priim his own evil, and for the time remain'd
Stupidly good ; of enmity disarmid,
or guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge.
But the hoi hell that always in him burns,
Though in mid heaven, soon ended his delight,
And tortures him no more, the more he sees
Of pleasure, not for him ordain'd: then soon
Fierce hate be recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites : (sweet
** Thoughts; whither have ye led me? with what Compulsion thus transported, to forget
What hither brought us? hate, not love; nor hope
Of Paradise for hell, hope here to taste
Of pleasure; but all pleasure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy
To me is lost. Then, let me not let pass
Occasion which now smiles ; behold alone
The woman, opportune to all attempts,
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh,
Whose higher intellectual more I shun,
And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb
Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould:
Foe not informidable ! exempt from wound,"
I not; so much hath hell debas'd, and pain
Enfeebled me, to what I was in heaven.
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods !
Not terrible, though terror be in love
And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hatë,
Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd,
The way which to her ruin now I tend."
So spake the enemy of mankind enclos'd
In serpent, inmate bad! and toward Eve
Address'd his way: not with indented wave,
Prone on the ground, as since; but on his rear
Circular base of rising folds, that tower'd
Fold above fold, a surging maze! his head
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes ;
With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect
Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass
Floated redundant: pleasing was his shape
And lovely, never since of serpent-kind
Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
Hermione and Cadmus, or the god
In Epidaurus ; nor to which transform'd
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline, was seen ;
He with Olympias ; this with her who bore
Scipio, the highth of Rome. With track obliquo
At first, as one who sought access, but fear'd
To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Veers eft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail :
So varied he, and of his tortuous train
Curl'd many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,
To lure her eye; she, busied, heard the sound
Of rustling leaves, but minded not, as us'd
To such disport before her through the field,
From every heast ; more duteous at her call,
Than at Circean call the herd disguis'd.
He, bolder now, uncallid before her stood,
But as in guze admiring: oft he bow'd
His turret crest, and sleek enamellid neck,
Fawning; and lick'd the ground whereon she trod.
His gentle dumb expression turn'd at length
The eye of Eve, to mark his play; he, glad
Oi her attention gain’d, with serpent-tongrie
Organic, or impulse of vocal air,
His fraudulent temptation thus began :
“ Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps
Thou canst, who art sole wonder! much less ain
Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain,
Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze
Insatiate : I thus single; nor have fear'd
Thy awful brow, more awful thus retir'd.
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,
Thee all things living gaze on, all things thine
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore
With ravishment beheld! there best beheld,
Where universally admir'd ; but here
In this enclosure wild, chese heasts among,
Beholders, rude, and shallow to discern
Half what in thee is fair, one man except, (seen
Who sees thee? (and what is one ?) who should be
a goddess among gods, 'ador'd and serv'd
By angels numberless, daily train."
So gloz'd the Tempter, and his proem tun'd: Into the heart of Eve his words made way, Though at the voice much marvelling; at length, 'Not un amaz'd, she thus in answer spake :