Imágenes de página

His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With treffes discompos'd, and glowing cheek
As though unquiet reft: he on his side
Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces : then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus; awake
My fairest, my espoused, my latest found,
Heav'ns last best gift, my ever new delight,
Awake; the morning shines, and the fresh field
Calls us, we lose the prime to mark how fpring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrtle, what the balmy reed ;
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom, extracting liquid sweet.
Such whisp'ring wak'd her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus Ne spoke
O fole, in whom my thoughts find all repose,
My glory, my perfection, glad I fee

Thy face, and inorn return'd. The passage relating to Eve's dream, where the fancies herself awakened by Adam, is extreniely beautiful ; and will appear the more so, when we consider that it was a dream in which the devil is supposed to have tainted her imagination by instilling into her mind those high conceits engendering pride.

Close at mine ear, one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice, I thought it thine ; it said,
Why sleep'ít thou Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song ; now reigns
Full orbid the moon, and with more pleasing light
Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard; heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, nature's desire ?
In whose fight all things joy, with ravishment

Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze!
That part of the narration, where Adam is said to have

cheared and instructed Eve, is amazingly beautiful; and the effect his admonition produced in her, and his behaviour on that occafion, is finely conceived, and most exquisitely described.

So chear'd he his fair spouse, and he was chear’d,
But filently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair.
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kiss’d, as the gracious figns of sweet remorse

And pious awe, that feard to have offended. In that part of the Episode where Adam relates to the angel the circumstances he found himself in upon his creation, the author has raised our curiosity, and he has abundantly gratified it; for nothing could on that occasion have been better conceived, or better expressed, especially the account Adam gives of the posture he found himself in, the landscape round him, his address to the sun, and of the dream in which he beheld the formation of Eve.

-As new wak'd from soundest Neep,
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dry'd, and on the reaking moisture fed.
Strait toward heav'n my wand'ring eyes I turn'd,
And gaz'd a while the ample sky, till rais'd
By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet : about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and lady woods, and funny plains,
And liquid lapse of murm’ring streams; by these,
Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walk'd, or few,
Birds on the branches warbling ; all things smild:
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.

-Thou fun, said I, fair light,
And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,


that live and move, fair creatures tell,
Tell if you faw, how came I thus, how here?
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man like, but different sex: So lovely fair,
That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now

Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd,
And in her looks, which from that time infus'd
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspir'd

The spirit of love and amorous delight. After receiving fome admonitions from the angel, Adam explains himself on the subject of his love for Eve, in order to prove that his passion was founded on reason, and therefore, though violent, not improper for Paradise.

Neither her outside form fo fair, nor ought
In procreation common to all kinds
(Though higher of the genial bed by far,
And with mysterious reverence I deem)
So much delights me as those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions mixt with love
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd

Union of mind, or in us both one foul. The force of Adam's love, which we have already been describing, is exemplify'd towards the latter end of the work in many beautiful passages ; and the dispute that arises be. tween our two first parents, proceeds, as Mr. Addison juftly observes, from a difference of judgment, not of pafion; it is managed with reason, not with beat ; and is such a dispute as we may suppose might have happened in Paradise, when man was happy and innocent. His parting with Eve is remarkably natural and affectionate.

Her long with ardent look his eye purfued
Delighted, but defiring more her stay.
Ofc he to her his charge of quick retard
Repeated ; the to him as oft engag d

To be return'd by noon amid the bow'r. His impatience for her return, and his employment dur: ing her absence, are most beautifully expressed.

-Adam the while
Waiting desirous her return,
Of choicest flow'rs a garland to adorn
Her tresses, and her royal labours crown,
As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen.

had wove

Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new

Solace in her return, so long delay'd. But his affection is more particularly and emphatically expressed in the speech he makes on seeing her irrecoverably loft.

-Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruin'd, for with thee


resolution is to die;
How can I live without thee, how forego
Thy sweet converse, and love so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn ?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart : no, no, I feel
The link of nature draw me: Aesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy ftate

Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. After this determination, Adam is represented as partaking of the forbidden fruit, the effects of which rash action are thus defcribed; though rather in the sublime than the agreeable.

He scrupled not to eat
Against his better knowledge, not deceiv'd,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembled from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and nature gave a second groan,
Sky lour'd, and muttering thunder, some sad drops

Wept at compleating of the mortal fin. Adam, whose passions had now gained the dominion over him, is represented as upbraiding Eve for the loss of Para. dise, whom he spurns from him with indignation. This pafsage, in which the renews her addresses to him, is, in the opi. nion of the best judges, extremely pathetic and affecting.

He added not, and from her turn'd; but Eve
Not so repuls’d, with tears that ceas'd not flowing,
And treffes all disorder'd, at his feet
Fell humble ; and embracing them, besought
His peace, and thus proceeded in her plaint.

Forsake me not thus, Adam! Witness heav'n

What love sincere and reverence in my heart
I bear thee, and unweeting have offended,
Unhappily deceiv'd! Thy suppliant
I beg, and clasp thy knees ; bereave me not
(Whereon I live) thy gentle looks, thy aid,
Thy counsel in this uttermost distress,
My only strength and stay: Forlorn of thee
Whither shall I betake me, where subfift?
While yet we live (scarce one short hour perhaps)

Between us two let there be peace. The complaint which Eve makes, on hearing that they were to be driven out of Paradise, is not only beautiful, but soft and suitable to the sex,

Must I then leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
Thee, native soil, these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt af gods ? where I had hope to spend
Quiet, though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flow'rs
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation and my last
At ev'n, which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave you names ;
Who now shall rear ye to th' sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower, by me adorn'd
With what to fight or smell was sweet ; from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world, to this obscure
And wild : how thall we breathe in other air

Less pure, accustom’d to immortal fruits ? The speech which Adam makes upon the fame occasion, is equally affecting, but is conceived and expressed in a manner more elevated and masculine : the following part of it especially

This most affli&ts me, that departing hence
As from his face I shall be hid, depriv'd
His blessed countenance; here I could frequent,
With worship, place by place where he vouchsaf'd
Presence divine, and co my sons relate
On this mount he appeard, under this tree

« AnteriorContinuar »