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The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow
About the mother tree, a pillar'd shade
High over-arch'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
They gather'd, broad as Amazonian targe, [leaves
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 the American, so girt
With feather'd cincture; naked else, and wild,
Among the trees, on isles and woody shores.
Thus fenced, and, as they thought, their shame in
Cover'd, but not at rest or ease of mind, [part
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,
And full of peace, now toss'd and turbulent:
For understanding ruled not, and the will
Heard not her lore; both in subjection now
To sensual appetite, who from beneath,
Usurping over sovereign reason, claimed
Superior sway; from thus distemper'd breast,
Adam, estranged in look and alter'd style,
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renew'd:
[stay'd "Would thou hadst hearken'd to my words, and With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering, 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
Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail." [Eve:
To whom, soon moved with touch of blame, thus
"What words have passed thy lips, Adam, severe?
Imputest thou that to my default, or will
Of wandering, 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 the attempt, thou couldst not have dis-
Fraud in the serpent, speaking as he spake; [cern'd
No ground of enmity between us known,
Why should he 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,
Neither had I transgress'd, nor thou with me."
To whom, then first incensed, Adam replied: "Is this the love, is this the recompense Of mine to thee, ungrateful Eve? express'd Immutable, when thou wert lost, not I; Who might have lived, and joyed 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?
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
Either to meet no danger, or to find
Matter of glorious trial: and perhaps
I also err'd, in over-much admiring
What seem'd in thee so perfect, that I thought
No evil durst attempt thee; but I rue
That error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Him who, to worth in woman overtrusting,
Lets her will rule: restraint she will not brook;
And, left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse."
Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning;
And of their vain contest appear'd no end.