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But with such gard’ning tools as art yet rude,
Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or angels brought.
To Pales, or Poniona, thus adornd,
Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled:
Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,
Yet virgin of Proserpina from fove.
Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd
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 bow'r,
And all things in best order to invite
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
O much deceiv'd, inuch failing, hapless Evc,-
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 flow'rs and shades,
Waited with hellish rancour imminent
To intercept thy way, or send thee 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 bow'r and field he sought, where any tuft
Of grove or garden-plat 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 spy'd, so thick the toses bushing round
About her glow'd; oft stooping to support
Each flow'r 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 flow'r, 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 voluble, and bold, now hid, now seen Among thick-woven arborets and flow'rs Imborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve: Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd Alcinous, host of old Laertes’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 met conceives delight; The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound; If chance, with nymph-like step, fair virgin pass, What pleasing seem'd, for her now pleases more, She most, and in her look sums all delight; Such pleasure took the serpent to behold This flow'ry plat, the sweet recess of Eve Thus early, thus alone; her heav'nly form Angelic, but more soft and feminine, Her graceful innocence, her ev'ry air Of gesture, or least action, overaw'd His inalice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought: That space the evil one abstracted stood From his own evil, and for the time remain'd Stupidly good, of enmity disarmed, of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. But the hot hell that always in him burns, Though in mid heav'n, soon ended his delight,
And tortures him the more, the more he secs
Of pleasure not "for him ordaind: then soon
Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, dus excites :
Thoughts, whitherhave ye led me! with what sweet
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 stniles. Behold alone
The woman, opportune to all atteinpts;
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 inforinidable, exempt from wound,
I not; so much hath hell debas'd, and pain
Infeebled me, to what I was in Heav'n.
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods,
Not terrible, though terror be in love
And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate,
Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd,
The way which to her ruin now I tend.
So spake the enemy of mankind, inclos'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 towerd
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 transformd
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen;
He with Olympias, this with her who bore
Scipio the height of Rome. With tract oblique
At first, as one who sought access, but fear'd
To interrupt, sidelong he works his way.
As when a ship by skilful steersman wrought
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail:
So varied he, and of his tortuous train
Curl?d many a wantou 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 fields
From every beast, more duteous at her call,
Than at Circean call the herd disguis'd.
Ile bolder now, uncall'd before her stood,
But as in gaze admiring: oft he bow'd
crest, and sleek enamelld neck,
Fawning, and tick'd the ground whereon she trod.
His gentle dumb expression tum'd at length
The eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad
Of her attention gain’d, with serpent tongue
Organic, or impulse of vocal air,
His fraudulent teinptation thus began:
Wonder not, sov'reign inistress, if perhaps Thou canst; who art sole wonder; much less arm Thy looks, the heaven of mildness, with disdain, Displeas'd that I approach thee thus, and gaze Insatiate ; I thus singles nor have feard 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 inclosure wild, these beasts among; Beholders rude, and shallow to discern Half what in thee is fair, one man except, Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be seen
A goddess among gods, ador'd and serv'd
By angels numberless, thy daily train..
So gloz'd the tempter, and his proem tuu'd;
Into the heart of Eve his words made way,
Though at the voice much marvelling, at length
Not unamaz'd she ibus in answer spake:
What may this mean? language of man pronoune'd By tongue of brute, and human sense express'd? The first at least of these I thought deny'd To beasts, whom God on their creation-day Created mute to all articulate sound: The latter I demur: for in their looks Much reason, and in their actions oft appears. Thee, serpent, subtlest beast of all the field I knew, but not with human voice endud; Redouble then this miracle, and say, How cam'st thou speakable of mute, and how To me so friendly grown above the rest Of brutal kind, that daily are in sight: Say, for-such wonder claims attention due.
To whom the guileful tempter thus reply'd:
Empress of this fair world, resplendent Eve,
Easy it is to me to tell thee all
What thou command'st, and right thou should'st be 1
I was at first as other beasts that graze
The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low
As was my food; nor ought but food discern'd
Or sex, and apprehended nothing high:
Till on a day roving the field, I chanc'd
A goodly tree far distant to behold,
Loaden with fruit of fairest colours mix'd,
Ruddy and gold; I nearer drew to gaze;
When from the boughs a savoury odour blown,
Grateful to appetite, more pleas'd my sense
Than smell of sweetest fennel, or the teats
of ewe or goat dropping with milk at ev'n,
Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play.
To satisfy the sharp desire I had