ePub 版

The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of pow'r and rule
Conferr'd upon us, and dominion giv'n
Over all other creatures that possess

Earth, air, and sea. Then let us not think hard

One easy prohibition, who enjoy

Free leave so large to all things else, and choice
Unlimited of manifold delights:

But let us ever praise him, and extol

His bounty, following our delightful task



To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers, Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.

To whom thus Eve reply'd. O thou for whom 440
And from whom I was form'd flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my guide
And head, what thou hast said is just and right.
For we to him indeed all praises owe,
And daily thanks; I chiefly who enjoy
So far the happier lot, enjoying thee
Præ-eminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thyself canst no where find,
That day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awak'd, and found myself repos'd

Under a shade on flow'rs, much wond'ring where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murm'ring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmov'd
Pure as th' expanse of Heav'n; I thither went
With unexperienc'd thought, and laid me down




On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seem'd another sky.
As I went down to look, just opposite


A shape within the wat'ry gleam appear'd,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back; but pleas'd I soon return'd,
Pleas'd it return'd as soon with answ'ring looks
Of sympathy and love: there I had fix'd


Mine eyes till now, and pin'd with vain desire,

[ocr errors]

Had not a voice thus warn'd me. What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair Creature, is thyself;

With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call'd
Mother of human race. What could I do,

But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espy'd thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a platan; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,



Than that smooth wat'ry image: back I turn'd; 480

Thou following cry'dst aloud, Return fair Eve,

Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'st, of him thou art,

His flesh, his bone; to give thee be'ing I lent

Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim


My other half: with that thy gentle hand
Seiz'd mine; I yielded, and from that time sce
How beauty is excell'd by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.

So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreprov'd,
And meek surrender, half embracing lean'd
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met his under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid: he in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms
Smil'd with superior love, as Jupiter



On Juno smiles, when he impregns the clouds


That shed May flow'rs; and press'd her matron lip
With kisses pure: aside the Devil turn'd

For envy, yet with jealous leer malign

Ey'd them askance, and to himself thus plain'd.
SIGHT hateful! sight tormenting! thus these two
Imparadis'd in one another's arms,


The happier Eden, shall enjoy their fill
Of bliss on bliss; while I to Hell am thrust,

Where neither joy nor love, but fierce desire,
Amongst our other torments not the least,
Still unfulfill'd with pain of longing pines.
Yet let me not forget what I have gain'd

From their own mouths: all is not theirs it seems;
One fatal tree there stands of knowledge call'd,


Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidden? 515
Suspicious, reasonless. Why should their Lord
Envy them that? Can it be sin to know?

Can it be death? And do they only stand
By Ignorance? Is that their happy state,
The proof of their obedience and their faith?
O fair foundation laid whereon to build
Their ruin! Hence I will excite their minds
With more desire to know, and to reject
Envious commands, invented with design


To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt 525 Equal with Gods: aspiring to be such,

They taste and die: what likelier can ensue?

But first with narrow search I must walk round
This garden, and no corner leave unspy'd;

A chance but chance may lead where I may meet 530
Some wand'ring Spi'rit of Heav'n by fountain side,
Or in thick shade retir'd, from him to draw

What further would be learn'd. Live while ye may,
Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return,

Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed.

So saying, his proud step he scornful turn'd,

But with sly circumspection, and began


Through wood, through waste, o'er hill, o'er dale, his


Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven

With earth and ocean meets, the setting sun


Slowly descended, and with right aspéct

Against the eastern gate of Paradise
Level'd his ev'ning rays: it was a rock
Of alabaster, pil'd up to the clouds,
Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent
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, helms, and spears,
Hung high with diamond flaming, and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even
On a sun-beam, swift as a shooting star
In 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 given
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 works, 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 pursued 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.



« 上一頁繼續 »