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For never did thy beauty since the day
I saw thee first, and wedded thee, adorn'd 1030
With all perfections, so inflame my sense
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now
Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree.
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent, well understood
1035 Of Eve, whose eye darted contagious fire. Her hand he seiz'd, and to a shady bank, Thick overhead with verdant roof imbow'r'd, He led her nothing loath ; flow'rs were the couch, Pansies, and violets, and asphodel,
1040 And hyacinth, earth's freshest softest lap. There they their fill of love and love's disport Took largely, of their mutual guilt the seal, 'The solace of their sin, till dewy sleep Oppressed them, wearied with their amorous play. Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
1046 That with exhilarating vapour bland About their spi'rits had play'd, and inmost powers Made err, was now exhal'd; and
grosser sleep Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams 1050 Incumber'd, now had left them; up they rose As from unrest, and each the other viewing, Soon found their eyes how open'd, and their minds How darken'd; innocence, that as a veil Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gone, 1055 Just confidence, and native righteousness, And honour from about them, naked left To guilty shame; he cover'd, but his robe
Uncover'd more. So rose the Danite strong
Herculean Samson from the harlot-lap
Of Philistéan Dalilah, and wak'd
Shorn of his strength. They destitute and bare
Of all their virtue : silent, and in face
Confounded long they sat, as strucken mute,
Till Adam, though not less than Eve abash'd, 1065
At length gave utterance to these words constrain'd.
O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear To that false worm, of whomsoever taught To counterfeit Man's voice, true in our fall, False in our promis'd rising ; since our eyes 1070 Open'd we find indeed, and find we know Both good and ev'il, good lost, and evil got, Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know, Which leaves us naked thus, of honour void, Of innocence, of faith, of purity,
1075 Our wonted ornaments now soil'd and stain'd, And in our faces evident the signs Of foul concupiscence; whence evil store; Ev’n shame, the last of evils : of the first Be sure then. How shall I behold the face 1080 Henceforth of God or Angel, erst with joy And rapture so' oft beheld ? those heav'nly shapes Will dazzle now this earthly with their blaze Insufferably bright. O might I here În solitude live savage, in some glade
1085 Obscur’d, where highest woods impenetrable To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad And brown as evening : Cover me ye Pines,
Ye Cedars, with innumerable boughs
Hide me, where I may never see them more. 1090
But let us now, as in bad plight, devise
What best may for the present serve to hide
The parts of each from other, that seem most
To shame obnoxious, and unseemliest seen;
Some tree, whose broad smooth leaves together sew'd,
And girded on our loins, may cover round 1096
Those middle parts, that this new comer, shame,
There sit not, and reproach us as unclean.
So counsel'd he, and both together went
Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose
The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd,
But such as at this day to Indians known
In Malabar or Decan spreads her arms
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade
High overarch'd, and echoing walks between;
There oft the Indian herdsman shunning heat
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade : Those leaves
They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe,
And with what skill they had, together sew'd,
To gird their waist, vain covering if to hide
Their guilt and dreaded shame; O how unlike
To that first naked glory! Such of late
Columbus found th’ American, so girt
With feather’d cincture, naked else and wild
Among the trees on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenc'd, and as they thought, their shame in part
Cover'd, but not at rest or ease of mind,
They sat them down to weep; nor only tears
Rain'd at their eyes, but high winds worse within
Began to rise, high passions, anger, hate,
Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore
Their inward state of mind, calm region once 1125
And full of peace, now tost and turbulent :
For understanding ruld not, and the will
Heard not her lore, both in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath
Usurping over sov’reign reason claim'd
Superior sway: from thus distemper'd breast,
Adam, estrang'd in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd.
Would thou hadst hearken’d to my words, and stay'd
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange 1135
Desire of wand'ring this unhappy morn,
I know not whence possess'd thee; we had then
Remain'd still happy, not as now, despoil'd
Of all our good, sham’d, naked, miserable.
Let none henceforth seek needless cause to’ approve
The faith they owe; when earnestly they seek 1141
Such proof, conclude, they then begin to fail.
To whom soon mov'd with touch of blame thus Eve.
What words have pass'd thy lips, Adam severe;
Imput'st thou that to my default, or will
Of wand'ring, as thou call'st it, which who knows
But might as ill have happen'd thou being by,
Or to thyself perhaps ? Hadst thou been there,
Or here th'attempt, thou could'st not have discern'd Fraud in the Serpent, speaking as he spake;
1150 No ground of enmity between us known, Why he shonld mean me ill, or seek to harm. Was I to' have never parted from thy side ? As good have grown there still a lifeless rib. Being as I am, why didst not thou the head
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger as thou saidst ?
Too facile then thou didst not much gainsay,
Nay didst permit, approve, and fair dismiss.
Hadst thou been firm and fix'd in thy dissent, 1160
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me.
To whom then first incens'd Adam reply'd.
Is this the love, is this the recompense
Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve, express'd
Immutable when thou wert lost, not I,
Who might have liv'd and joy'd immortal bliss,
Yet willingly chose rather death with thee?
And am I now upbraided as the cause
Of thy transgressing ? not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint : what could I more? 1170
I warn'd thee, I admonish'd thee, foretold
The danger, and the lurking enemy
That lay in wait ; beyond this had been force,
And force upon free-will hath here no place.
But confidence then bore thee on, secure
1175 Either to meet no danger, or to find Matter of glorious trial; and perhaps also err’d in overmuch admiring