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Accessible from earth, one entrance high ;
The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung
Still as it rose, impossible to climb.
Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat,
Chief of th'angelic guards, awaiting night;
About him exercis'd heroic games
Th'unarmed youth of heav'n, but nigh at hand
Celestial armoury, shields, helins, and spears,
Hung high, with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the ev'n
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
Ju autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fir'd
Impress the air, and shews the mariner
From what point of his compass to beware
Impetuous winds: he thus began in haste:
Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath givin
Charge and strict watch, that to this happy place
No evil thing approach, or enter in.
This day at height of noon came to my sphere
A spirit, zealous, as he seem'd, to know
More of th' Almighty's work, and chiefly man,
God's latest image: I describ'd his way, -
Bent all on speed, and mark'd his airy gait;
But in the mount, that lies from Eden north,
Where he first lighted, soon discern'd his looks
Alien from heav'n, with passions foul obscur'd;
Mine eye pursu'd him still, but under shade
Lost sight of him: one of the banish'd crew,
I fear, hath ventur'd from the deep, to raise
New troubles; him thy care must be to find.
To whom the winged warrior thus return'd:
Uriel, no wonder if thy perfect sight,
Amid the sun's bright circle where thou sitt'st.
See far and wide: in at this gate none pass
The vigilance here plac'd, but such as come
Well known from heav'n; and since meridian hour
No creature thence: If spirit of other sort,
So minded, have o'erleapt these earthy bounds
On purpose hard, thou know'st it, to exclude
Spiritual substance with corporeal bar.
But if within the circuit of these walks,
In whatsoever shape he lurk, of whom
Thou tell'st, by morrow dawning I shall know.
So promis'd he; and Uriel to his charge
Return'd on that bright beam, whose point now rais'd,
Bore hiin, slope downward, to the sun now fallin
Beneath th' Azores; whether the prime orb,
Incredible how swift, had thither roll'd
Diurnal, or this less voluble earth,
By shorter flight to th'east, had left him there,
Arraying with reflected purple and gold
The clouds that on his western throne attend.
Now came still ev'ning on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober liv'ry all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were stunk; all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her am'rous descant sung;
Silence was pleas'd; now glow'd the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve: Fair consort, th' hour
Of night, and all things now retir’d 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 slumb'rous weight inclines
Our eyelids : other creatures all day long
Rove idle unemploy'd, and less need rest;
Man hath his daily work of body or mind
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of heav'n 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 lighi, we must be ris'o,
And at our present labour, to reform
Yon flow'ry arbours, yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That inock 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 adorn'd:
My author and disposer, what thou bid'st
Unargu'd I obey; so God ordains: .
God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath 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 flow'r,
Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft show'rs; and sweet the coming on
of grateful ev'ning mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heav'n, 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, flow'r,
Glist'ring with dew; nor fragrance after show'rs;
Nor grateful ev'ning mild; nor silent night,
. With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glitt'ring star-light, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these for whom
This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?
To whom our general ancestor reply:
Daughter of God and man, accomplish'd Eve,
These have their course to finish round the earth,
By morrow ev'ning, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Ministring light prepar'd, they set and rise ;
Iest total darkness should by night regain ..
Her old possession, and extinguish life
In nature and all things; which these soft fires
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
of various influence foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
These then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,
That heav'n would want spectators, God want praise :
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold.
Both day and nights how often, from the steep
of echoing hill or thicket, have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? Oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs
Divide the niglit, and lift our thoughts to heav'n.
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd
On to their blissful bow'r: it was a place
Chos'n by the sov'reign planter, when he fram'd
All things to man's delightful uses the roof.
of thickest covert was inwoven shade
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf, on either side
Acantlius, and each odorous bushy shrub. .
Fenc'd up the verdant walls each beauteous flower,
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin,
Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between,and wrouglit
Mosaic; underfoot the violet,
Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay. . .
Broider'd the ground, more colour'd than with stone
of costliest emblem: other creature here,
Bcast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none:
Such was their awe of man. In shadier bower
More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph,
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet smelling herbs,
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed,
And heav'nly quires the hymenæan sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts, and, O! too like
In sad event, when to th’unwiser son
of Japhet brought by Hermes, she inspard
Mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng'd
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
Thus at their shady lodge arriv'd, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky ador'd
The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heav'n,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: Thou also mad'st the night,
Maker omnipotent, and thou the day,
Which we in our appointed work employd
Have finish'd happy in our mutual help,
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place,
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground,
But thou hast promis'd from us two a race,
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep.
This said unanimous, and other rites Observing none, but adoration pure, Which God likes best, into their inmost bower Handed they went; and eas'd the putting off These troublesome disguises which we wear, Straight side by side were laid; nor turn'd, 1 ween, Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites Mysterious of connubial love refus'd :