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Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk; all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant1 sung.
Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw :
When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort! the hour
Of night, and all things now retired to rest
Mind us of like repose; since God hath set
Labour and rest, as day and night, to men
Successive and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
Our eye-lids. Other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of heaven on all his ways;
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east
With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labour, to reform
Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth:
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned:
My author3 and disposer, what thou bidd'st
Unargued I obey; so God ordains.
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
Descant-a song with various modulations.
2 Manuring-from the French manœuvrer, to work with the hands-manual labour;-a very unusual sense of the word.
3 Author-because Eve was made out of Adam.
With thee conversing, I forget all time;
All seasons1 and their change—all please alike.
Sweet is the breath2 of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird,3 and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train :
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet."
THE MORNING HYMN IN PARADISE.
"THESE are Thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair; Thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens,
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
1 Seasons-the different changes and periods of the day, not of the year; this sense is determined by the lines that follow.
2 Sweet is the breath, &c.—Addison remarks that the variety of images in this passage is infinitely pleasing, and that the recapitulation of each particular image, with a little varying of the expression, makes one of the finest turns of words he had ever seen.
3 Solemn bird-Milton calls the nightingale "most melancholy" in "11 Penseroso;" in both passages, referring rather to the circumstances under which the bird sings than to the tone of its music. Coleridge calls it "the merry nightingale."
These are, &c.-"The morning hymn is written in imitation of one of those psalms, [the 148th for instance,] where, in the overflowings of gratitude and praise, the psalmist calls not only upon the angels, but upon the most conspicuous parts of the inanimate creation, to join with him in extolling their common Maker. Invocations of this nature fill the mind with glorious ideas of God's works, and awaken that divine enthusiasm, which is so natural to devotion:" Addison.
Speak ye who1 best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye
behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle his throne rejoicing; ye in heaven-
On earth, join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge, of day that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge him thy greater; sound his praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
Moon!2 that now meet'st the orient sun, now fliest,
With the fixed stars-fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other3 wandering fires! that move
In mystic dance+ not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye elements! the eldest birth
Of nature's womb, that in quaternion5 run
Perpetual circle, multiform, and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations! that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or grey,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance his praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
1 Speak ye who, &c.-" He is unspeakable-no creature can speak worthily of him as he is, but speak ye who are best able, ye angels, &c:" Newton.
2 Moon, &c.-The construction is:-thou moon that now meetest and now fliest the orient sun, together with the fixed stars--fixed in their orb which flies--and ye five other wandering fires, or planets, &c.
3 Five other, &c.-i. e. Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus-considering the reference to the morning star, as not marking any particular planet. 4 Mystic dance, &c.-in allusion to the music of the spheres. See extracts from Shakspere, p. 287.
5 In quarternion run--i. e. "that in a fourfold mixture and combination run a perpetual circle, one element continually changing into another: " Newton.
Breathe soft or loud; and wave your tops, ye pines!
With every plant, in sign of worship, wave.
Fountains and ye that warble1 as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls!2 ye birds,
That singing, up to heaven-gate3 ascend,
Bear on your wings, and in your notes, his praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, or stately tread, or lowly creep,
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught his praise.
Hail, universal Lord! be bounteous still
To give us only good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark!"
THE SENTENCE OF EXPULSION FROM PARADISE.
THE archangel+ soon drew nigh,
Not in his shape celestial, but as man
Clad to meet man: over his lucid arms
A military vest of purple flowed,
Livelier than Meliboan, or the grain
Of Sarra, worn by kings and heroes old
In time of truce: Iris had dipped the woof:
His starry helm unbuckled showed him prime
In manhood where youth ended; by his side,
Ye that warble, &c.--i. e. ye streams that issue from the fountains, and warble forth melodious murmurs, as ye flow, &c.
2 Souls-creatures in general.
3 Up to heaven-gate, &c.--Most probably taken from Shakspere's line, (see p. 171,) "Hark, hark, the lark at heaven's gate sings."
4 The archangel-Michael, whom the rabbinical writers name the minister of severity, is suitably chosen by Milton for the execution of God's sentence upon Adam and Eve. As a warrior he is represented in military costume, and as Addison remarks, "his person, his port, and behaviour are suitable to a spirit of the highest rank, and exquisitely described in these lines."
5 Livelier than, &c.-i. e. of a livelier colour and richer dye than the purple of Meliboa, in Thessaly, or Tyre (Sarra.)
6 In time of truce-i. e. of peace. Milton speaks of " weeds of peace" in "L'Allegro" meaning, as here, gorgeous and costly robes.
7 Iris had dipped, &c.—The rainbow had dyed it in grain and therefore more durably.
As in a glistering zodiac,1 hung the sword,
Satan's dire dread;2 and in his hand3 the spear.
Adam bowed low; he, kingly, from his state
Inclined not, but his coming thus declared:
"Adam, Heaven's high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard; and death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst trangress,
Defeated of his seizure; many days
Given thee of grace, wherein thou mayst repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
Mayst cover: well may then thy Lord, appeased,
Redeem thee quite from death's rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not: to remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth, to till
The ground whence thou wast taken-fitter soil."
He added not; for Adam at the news
Heart-struck, with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
That all his senses bound: Eve, who unseen
Yet all had heard, with audible lament
Discovered soon the place of her retire.5
"Oh unexpected stroke, worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise? thus leave
Thee, native soil! these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow-
My early visitation, and my last
At even-which I bred up with tender hand
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names!
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ambrosial fount?
2 Satan's dire dread-in allusion to its use in the great conflict between Satan and Michael, described in the Sixth Book of "Paradise Lost."
3 In his hand-i. e. in his hand (was) the spear.
4 Sufficient, &c.- The construction appears to be, It is sufficient that thy prayers are heard, that death is defeated of his seizure, and that many days are graciously given thee, &c.
6 Oh unexpected stroke, &c.-" Eve's complaint," remarks Addison, "is wonderfully beautiful: the sentiments are not only proper to the subject, but have something in them particularly soft and womanish.",