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But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd;
Thoughts which how found they harbour in thy breast,
Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam reply'd. 290 Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve, For such thou art, from sin and blame entire : Not diffident of thee do I dissuade Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid Th’attempt itself, intended by our foe.
295 For he who tempts, though' in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonour foul, suppos'd Not incorruptible of faith, not proof Agains temptation : thou thyself with scorn And anger
would'st resent the offer'd wrong, 300 Though ineffectual found : misdeem not then, If such affront i labour to avert From thee alone, which on us both at once The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare, Or daring, first on me th’assault shall light. 305 Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn, Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce Angels; nor think superfluous others' aid.
1 from the influence of thy looks receive Access in every virtue, in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd,
Would utmost vigour raise, and rais'd unite.
Why should'st not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness thy virtue try'd?
So spake domestic Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
320 Thus her reply with accent sweet renew'd.
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiţen'd by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met,
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
330 Foul on himself: then wherefore shun'd or fear'd By us? Who rather double honour gain From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within, Favour from Heav'n, our witness from th'event. And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd
3.3 Alone, without exterior help sustain'd? Let us not then suspect our happy state Teft so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combin'd.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
And Eden were no Eden thus expos’d.
To whom thus Adam fervently reply'd.
O Woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordain'd them; his creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less Man,
Or ought that might his happy state secure,
Secure from outward force; within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power :
Against his will he can receive no harm :
But God left free the will, for what obeys
Reason is free, and reason he made right,
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Lest by some fair appearing good surprisid
She dictate false, and misinform the will
To do what God expressly hath forbid.
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoins,
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet
Some specious object by the foc suborn’d,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn’d.
Seck no temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought.
Would'st thou approve thy constancy, approve
First thy obedience; th' other who can know,
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But if thou think, trial unsought may find 370
Us both securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st,
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;
Go in thy native innocence, rely
On what thou hast of virtue, summon all,
374 For God tow'ards thee hath done his part, do thinc.
So spake the patriarch of markind; but Eve Persisted, yet submiss, though last, reply'd.
With thy permission then, and thus forewarn'd Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words Touch'd only, that our trial, when least sought, May find us both perhaps far less prepar’d, The willinger I go, nor much expect A foe so proud will first the weaker seek; So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse. 384
Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand Soft she withdrew, and like a Wood-Nymph light, Oread or L'ryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self In gait surpass’d, and Goddess-like deport, Though not as she with bow and quiver arm’d, 390 But with such gard’ning tools as art yet rude, Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or Angels brought. To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn’d, Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled Vertumnus, or to Ceres in her prime,
395 Yet Virgin of Proserpina from Jove. Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd Delighted, but desiring more her stay,
Oft he to her his charge of ick return
Repeated, she to him as oft engag'd
To be return'd by noon amid the bower,
And all things in best order to invite
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
O much deceiv'd, much failing, hapless Eve,
Of thy presum'd return! event perverse !
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Found'st either sweet repast, or sound repose;
Such ambush hid among sweet flow'rs and shades
Waited with hellish rancour imminent
To intercept thy way, or send thee back
Despoil'd of innocence, faith, of bliss.
For now, and since first break of dawn the fiend,
Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come,
And on his quest, where likeliest he might find
The only two of mankind, but in them
415 The whole included race, his purpos'd prcy. In bow'r and field he sought, where any
Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay,
Their tendence or plantation for delight;
By fountain or by shady rivulet
He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find
Eve separate, he wish’d, but not with hope
Of what so seldom chanc'd, when to his wish,
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,
Veild in a clond of fragrance, where she stood, 425
Half spy'd, so thick the roses bushing round
About her glow'd, oft stooping to support
Bach flow'r of slender stalk, whose head though gay