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But rather to tell how, if art could tell,

How from that sapphire fount the crisped brooks,

Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,

With mazy error under pendent shades

Ran Nectar, visiting each plant, and fed

Flowers worthy of Paradise, which not nice art

In beds and curious knots, but nature boon

Pour'd forth profuse on hill, and dale, and plain,

Both where the morning sun first warmly smote

The open field, and where the unpierced shade

Imbrown'd the noontide bowers. Thus was this place

A happy rural seat of various view:

Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,

Others whose fruit, burnish'd with golden rind,

Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true,

If true, here only, and of delicious taste.

Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flock

Grazing the tender herb, were interposed,

Or palmy hillock, or the flowery lap

Of some irriguous valley spread her store,

Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.

Another side, umbrageous grots and caves

Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine

Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps

Luxuriant: meanwhile murmuring waters fall

Down the slope hills, dispersed, or in a lake,

That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown'd

Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.

The birds their choir apply; airs, vernal airs,

Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune

The trembling leaves, while universal Pan,

Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance,

Led on the eternal Spring. Not that fair field

Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,

Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis

Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain

To seek her through the world; nor that sweet grove

Of Daphne by Orontes and the inspired

Castalian spring might with this Paradise

Of Eden strive ; nor that Nyseian isle

Girt with the river Triton, where old Cham,

Whom Gentiles Ammon call and Lybian Jove,

Hid Amalthea and her florid son

Young Bacchus from his stepdame Rhea's eye;

Nor where Abassin kings their issue guard,

Mount Amara, though this by some supposed

True Paradise, under the Ethiop line

By Nilus's head, enclosed with shining rock,

A whole day's journey high, but wide remote

From this Assyrian garden, where the fiend

Saw undelighted all delight, all kind

Of living creatures new to sight and strange.


Two of far nobler shape erect and tall, Godlike erect, with native honour clad In naked majesty, seem'd lords of all, And worthy seem'd: for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shone, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure, Severe, but in true filial freedom placed, Whence true authority in men: though both Not equal, as their sex not equal, seem'd; For contemplation he and valour form'd, For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him. His fair large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks Round from his parted forelock manly hung Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad: She as a veil down to the slender waist Her unadorned golden tresses wore Dishevell'd, but in wanton ringlets waved As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied Subjection, but required with gentle sway, And by her yielded, by him best received, Yielded with coy submission, modest pride, And sweet reluctant amorous delay. Nor those mysterious parts were then conceal'd; Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame Of nature's works, honour dishonourable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubled all mankind With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure. And banish'd from man's life his happiest life, Simplicity and spotless innocence! So pass'd they naked on, nor shunn'd the sight Of God or angel, for they thought no ill: So hand in hand they pass'd, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met, Adam the goodliest man of men since born His sons, the fairest of her daughters Eve. Under a tuft of shade, that on a green Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side They sat them down, and, after no more toil Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed To recommend cool zephyr, and made ease More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell, Nectarine fruits, which the compliant boughs Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline On the soft downy bank damask'd with flowers. The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream; Nor gentle purpose nor endearing smiles Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league

Alone as they. About them frisking play'd
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase
In wood or wilderness, forest or den;
Sporting the lion romp'd, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards,
Gamboll'd before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly
Insinuating wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded ; others on the grass
Couch'd, and now fill'd with pasture gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun
Declined was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of heaven the stars that usher evening rose:
When Satan still in gaze, as first he stood,
Scarce thus at length fail'd speech recover'd sad:
O hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold?
Into our room of bliss thus high advanced
Creatures of other mould, earth-born perhaps,
Not spirits, yet to heavenly spirits bright
Little inferior; whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love, so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The Hand that form'd them on their shape hath

Ah, gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe,
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy:
Happy, but for so happy ill secured
Long to continue; and this high seat your heaven
Ill fenced for heaven to keep out such a foe
As now is enter'd ; yet no purposed foe
To you, whom I could pity thus forlorn,
Though I unpitied. League with you I seek,
And mutual amity, so straight, so close,
That I with you must dwell, or you with me
Henceforth: my dwelling haply may not please.
Like this fair Paradise, your sense; yet such
Accept your Maker's work; he gave it me,
Which I as freely give: hell shall unfold
To entertain you two, her widest gates,
And send forth all her kings: there will be room,
Not like these narrow limits, to receive
Your numerous offspring; if no better place,
Thank him who puts me loth to this revenge
On you, who wrong me not, for him who wrong'd.
And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do, yet public reason just,
Honour and empire with revenge enlarged,

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