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To the Creator, and his nostrils fill
With grateful smell, forth came the human pa
And join'd their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The season, prime for sweetest scents and airs:
Then commune how that day they best may ply
Their growing work; for much their work outgrew
The hands' dispatch of two gard’ning so wide.
And Eve first to her husband thus began:
Adam, well-may we labour still to dress
This garden, still to tend plant, herb, and flow'r,
Our pleasant task injoin'd; but till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labour grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides,
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
Or hear what to my mind first thoughts present:
Let us divide our labours; thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind
The woodbine round this arbour, or direct
The clasping ivy where to climb; while I .
In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
With myrtie, find what to redress till noon:
For-while so near each other thus all day
Our task we chuse, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene, and smiles, or object new,
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our day's work, brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of supper comes unearn'd.
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd: Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond Compare', above all living creatures dear, Well hast thou motion'd, well thy thoughts emplord, How we might best fulfil the work which here God hath assigu'd us; nor of me shall pass Unprais'de for nothing lovelier can be found In woman, than to study household good, And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos'd
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and siniles; for smiles from reason flow,
To brute denydd, and are of love the food.
Love not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason join'd.
These paths and bow'rs doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Assist us. But if much converse perhaps
Thee satiate, to short absence I could yield:
For solitude sometimes is best society,
And short retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, lest harm
Befal thee sever'd from me; for thou know'st
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and shame
By sly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand
Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find
His wish and best advantage, us asunder;
Hopeless to circumvent us join'd, where each
To other speedy aid might lend at need;
Whether his first design be to withdraw
Our fealty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more:
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful side
That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonour lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst endures.
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With'sweet austere composure thus reply'd :
Offspring of heav'n and earth, and all earth's Lord,
That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Our ruin, both by thee iuform'd I learn,
And from the parting Angel overhcard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then return'd at shut of ey'ning flowers.
But that thou should'st my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear; which plain infers
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd;
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,
Adam, misthought of ber to thee so dear?
To whom, with healing words, Adam reply'd : ,
Daughter of God and man, inmortal Eve,
For such thou art, from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
Th’attempt itself, intended by our foe,
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
T'he tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation: thou thyself with scorn
And anger would'st resent the offer'd wrong,
Though ineffectual found: misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or daring, first on me th' assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile conteinn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others' aid.
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue, in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd
Would utrnost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
Why should not thou like sense within thee feet
When I am present, and thy trial chuse
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd ?
So spake domestic Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd :
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten'd by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endu'd
Sipgle with like defence, wherever met
How are we happy, still in fear of harin?
But harm precedes not sin : only our foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foúl on himself; then wherefore shun'd or fear'd
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise prov'd false ; find peace within,
Favour from Heav'n, or witness from th' event.
And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd
Alone, without exterior help sustain'd?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combin'd.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
And Eden were no Eden thus expos'd.
To whom thus Adam fervently reply'd:
O woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordain'd them: his creating hand
Nothing imperfeet or deficient left
Of all that he created; much less man,
Or ought that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his pow'r:
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will ; for what obeys
Reason, is free; and reason he made right,
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Lest by some fair appearing good surpris'd
She dictate false, and misinforın the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoins,
That I should mind tiee oft, and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve;
Since reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the fue suborn'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 froin me
Thou sever not: trial will eome unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy? approve
First thy obedience; th other who can know,
Not seeing thee atteinpted, who attest;
But if thou think, trial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'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, reply'd:
With thy permission then, and thus forewara'd
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words
Touch'd only, that our trial when least sought,
May find us both perhaps far less prepard,
The willinger Igo; nor much expect
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek ;
So bent, the more shall shame hiin his repulse.
Thus saving, from her husband's hand her hand Soft she withdrew, and like a wood-nymph light, Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Detook her to the groves; but Delia's self In gait surpass'd and goddess-like deport; Though not, as slie, with bow and quiver arm’d,