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"O sovereign, virtuous, precious of all trees In Paradise! of operation blest To sapience, hitherto obscured, infamed, 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 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 givest access, though secret she retire. And I perhaps am secret: heaven is high, High, and remote, to see from thence distinct

Each thing


on earth; and other care perhaps May have diverted from continual watch great Forbidder, safe with all his spies 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 All happiness with me? or rather not, the odds of knowledge in my power,

But keep

Without co-partner? 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?

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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. Confirmed 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 life no life."

So saying, from the tree her steps she turn'd,
But first low reverence done, as to the power
That dwelt within, whose presence had infused
Into the plant sciential sap, derived
From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while
Waiting desirous her return, had wove

Of choicest flowers a garland, to adorn

Her tresses, and her rural labours crown;
As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delayed:

Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him; he the faltering measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn, when first they parted: by the tree
Of knowledge he must pass; there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smiled,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffused.
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?

Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, deprived
Thy presence; agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more

Mean I to try, what rash untried 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,

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 thenceforth
Endued with human voice, and human sense,
Reasoning to admiration; and with me
Persuasively hath so prevailed, that I
Have also tasted, and have also found
The effects to correspond; opener mine eyes,
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
And growing up to godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I sought, without thee, can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss;
Tedious, unshared with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Lest, thou not tasting, different degree
Disjoin us, and I then, too late, renounce
Deity for thee, when fate will not permit."

Thus Eve with countenance blithe, her story But in her cheek distemper flushing glow'd. [told;

On the other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amazed,
Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd;
From his slack hand the garland, wreath'd for Eve,
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed:
Speechless he stood, and pale, till thus at length,
First to himself, he inward silence broke:

"O fairest of creation! last and best
Of all God's works! creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form'd,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote!
Rather, how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden? some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruin'd; for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die:

How can I live without thee, how forego
Thy sweet converse and love, so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart: no, no, I feel
The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe."

So having said, as one from sad dismay
Re-comforted, and after thoughts disturb'd

Submitting to what seem'd remediless,

Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd:
"Bold deed thou hast presumed, adventurous Eve,
And peril great provoked, who thus hast dared,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,

Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past, who can recall, or done undo;
Not God omnipotent, nor Fate; yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die; perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now; foretasted fruit,
Profaned first by the serpent, by him first
Made common and unhallow'd, ere our taste:
Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives,
Lives, as thou said'st, and gains to live as man,
Higher degree of life, inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent; which cannot be
But to be gods, or angels, demi-gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatening, will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignified so high,
Set over all his works; which in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependant made; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose;
Not well conceived of God, who, though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth

Us to abolish, lest the adversary
Triumph, and say, 'Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? Me first

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