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{mpart against his will, if all be his ?
Or is it envy, and can envy dweil
In heav'nly breasts? These, these and many more 730
Causes import your need of this fair fruit.
Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste.

He ended, and his words replete with guile
Into her heart too easy entrance won ::
Fix'd on the fruit she gaz'd, which to behold 735
Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound
Yet

rung of his persuasive words, impregn’d With reason, to her seeming, and with truth; Meanwhile the hour of noon drew on, and wak'd An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell

740 So savory of that fruit, which with desire, Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, Solicited ber longing eye; yet first Pausing a while, thus to herself she mus'd.

Great are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits, 745 Though kept from man, and worthy to be admir'd, Whose taste, too long forborn, at first essay Gave elocution to the mute, and taught The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise : Thy praise he also who forbids thy use,

750 Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; Forbids us then to taste, but his forbidding Commends thee more, while it infers the good By thec communicated, and our want :

755 For good unknown, sure is not had, or had And yet unknown, is as not had at all. In plain then, what forbids he but to know,

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סון

Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise ?
Such prohibitions bind not. But if death
Bind us with after-bands, what profits then
Our inward freedom? In the day we eat
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
How dies the Serpent ? he hath eat'n and lives,
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns,
Irrational till then. For us alone

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Was death invented ? Or to us deny'd
This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd ?
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first
Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy
The good befall’n him, author unsuspect,
Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil,
Of God or death, of law or penalty ?

775 Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine. Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste, Of virtue to make wise : What hinders then 'To reach, and feed at once both body and mind? So saying, her rash hand in evil hour

780 Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she eat : Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe, That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve 785 Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else Regarded, such delight till then, as seem’d, In fruit she never tasted, whether truc

Or fancy'd so, through expectation high
Of knowledge, nor was God-head from her thought.
Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,

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And knew not eating death : Satiate at length,
And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon,
Thus to herself she pleasingly began.

O sov'Reign, virtuous, precious of all trees 795 In Paradise, of operation blest To sapience, hitherto obscur'd, infam'd, And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end Created ;

but henceforth my early care, Not without song, each morning, and due praise, Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease 801 Of thy full branches offer'd free to all; Till dieted by thee I grow mature In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know; Though others envy what they cannot give; For had the gift been theirs, it had not here Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe, Best guide; not following thee I had remain'd In ignorance; thou open’st wisdom's way, And giv'st access, though secret she retire. 810 And I perhaps am secret; Heav'n is high, High, and remote to see from thence distinct Each thing on earth; and other care perhaps May have diverted from continual watch Our great forbidder, safe with all his spies

815 About him. But to Adam in what sort Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known As yet my change, and give him to partake

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Full happiness with me, or rather not,
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power
Without copartner? So to add what wants
In female sex, the more to draw his love,
And render me more equal, and perhaps,
A thing not undesirable, sometime
Superior ; for inferior who is free?
This
may

be well : but what if God have seen,
And death ensue? Then I shall be no more,
And Adam wedded to another Eve,
Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct;
A death to think. Confirm'd then I resolve,
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could endure, without him live no life.

So saying from the tree her step she turn'd,
But first low reverence done, as to the Power
That dwelt within, whose presence had insus'd
Into the plant sciential sap, deriv'd
From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while
Waiting desirous her return, had wove
Of choicest flow'rs a garland to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours

crown,
As
reapers

oft are wont their harvest queen.
Great joy he promis’d to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delay'd;
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him ; he the falt’ring measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted; by the tres

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Of knowledge he must pass, there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
To him she hasted; in her face excuse
Came prologue, and apology too prompt,
Which with bland words at will she thus address'd.

Hast thou not wonder’d, Adam, at my stay? 835
Thee I have miss’d, and thought it long, depriv'd
Thy presence, agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice, for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untry'd I sought,
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
This tree is not as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, nor to' evil unknown
Opening the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste;
And hath been tasted such : the serpent wise,
Or not restrain’d as we, or not obeying,
Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become,
Not dead, as we are threaten'd, but henceforth

870 Endued with human voice and human sense, Reasoning to admiration, and with me Persuasively hath so prevaild, that I Have also tasted, and have also found Th'effects to correspond, opener mine eyes, Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart, And growing up to Godhead; which for thet Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.

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