« PreviousContinue »
his broad Shoulders: She wore her unadorn'd fair Hair, loose as a Veil, down to her slender Waist, but wav'd in wanton Ringlets, as the Vine curls its Tendrils, which imply'd Subjection, but requir’d with gentle Government, and by him best receiv'd when yielded by her with coy Submission, a modest Pride, and a sweet, reluctant, yet amorous Delay: Nor were those mysterious Parts hid which Men now conceal; then was not guilty and dishonest Shame of Nature's Works (the Name of Honour! but dishonourable) bred from Sin, how has it troubled all MANKIND with mere Shews of seeming pure, instead of being so? and banish'd from MAN the greatest Happiness of his Life, his native Simplicity and spotless Innocence? So they pass’d on naked, nor ftrove to Thun the Sight of GOD or the Angels, for they thought no Evil : Hand in Hand they pass'd along, lovelier than any Pair that ever since met in the Embraces of Love; ADAM more excellent in Form than any of his Sons since born, and Eve fairer than any of her Daughters.
UNDER the Shade of a Bower that stood on a Green, the Trees whispering softly, by a fresh Fountain's Side, they fat them down, and after no more Toil of their sweet Gardening Labour, than serv'd to recommend the cool Air and make Ease more pleasant, and wholesome Thirst and Appetite more grateful, they began to eat of the Fruits of the Garden for Supper, delicious Fruits, which the loaded Boughs yielded them; as they fat leaning along the side of the soft downy Bank, sprinkled with Flowers, they chew'd the favoury Pulp, and then in the Rind, as often as they were thirsty, scoop'd up the brimming Stream; nor was there wanting endearing Smiles, gentle Purpose, nor youthful Dalliance, as beseems a fair Couple bound in the happy nuptial League, and alone as they were. About them all the Beasts of the
Earth' play'd wantonly, (tho’ since that grown wild) Beasts of all Chace, in Wood or Wilderness, Den or Forest; the Lion sporting about ramp'd up, and in his Paw dandled the Kid; Bears, Tygers, Ounces, and Leopards, play'd before them; the unweildy E. lephant us’d all his Might to make them Mirth, and twisted about his limber Trunk; the fly, close, infinuating Serpent, twisted his Train in many a Fold, and unobsery'd gave Proof of his fatal Subtilty; oo thers of the Beasts couch'd upon the Grass, and now fill'd with Pasture, fat gazing or lying down, and chewing the Cud; for the Sun was declin'd, and hafting with swift Career to the Ocean Inands, and an the other Side of Heaven the Stars that introduc'd the Evening arose; when SATAN, who all this While stood gazing as at first, at length scarcely recover'd Power of Speech as follows:
OH Hell! what do my Eyes with Sorrow and Grief behold! Creatures of another Mold advanc'd into our Room of Bliss; perhaps earth-born, and not Spirits, yet to bright heavenly Spirits little inferior; whom my Thoughts pursue with Wonder, and whom I could love, fo lively the divine Resemblance shines in them, and such Grace the Hand that made them hath bestow'd upon their Form. Ah gentle Pair ! little do you think how near your Change approaches, when all these Delights will vanish, and deliver you up to Mifery; more Misery by as much as now your Taste of Joy is more; now happy, but that Happiness too ill fecur'd to continue long, and this high Seat, your Heaven, too ill defended, to keep out such a Foe as is enter'd now; yet no purpos'd Foe to you, whom I could pity thus unguarded, though I myself am unpitied. I seek a League with you and mutual Amity, so close and strait, that henceforward I must dwell with you, or else you with me : Perhaps my Dwelling-Place may not delight your Senses
like this fair PARADISE, yet such as it is accept it ;:
Thus spoke the Fiend, and with the Tyrant's Plea, Necessity, excus'd his devilish Deeds. Then from his lofty Stand upon the Tree of Life, he lights down among the sporting Herd of those four-footed Beasts, turning himself into the Form sometimes of one and sometimes of another, as their Shapés sery'd his End best, to view his Prey nearer, and unobserv'd to mark what by Words of Actions he might learn further of their State: Now he stalks round about them like a Lion, with a fierce Glare; then as a Tyger, who by Chance hath spy'd two gentle Fawns at Play in fome Purlieu, strait couches down close, then rising, changes his cunning Watch as one who was chusing his Ground, from whence rushing out, he might sureft seize them both, grip'd in each Paw; when ADAM, the first of all Men, turning himself to Eve, the first of Women, began this moving Speech, which turn'd Satan all to Attention:
SOLE Partner, and dearest of all these Joys; dearer than all! that Power that made us, and for our Use and Comfort all this great World, must needs be infinitely good, and of his Good be as liberal and
free as he is infinite; that rais'd us from the Duft, and then plac'd us here in all this Happiness, who have merited nothing from him, nor are able to perform any Thing of which he hath any Need; who requires no other Service from us, than to keep this one easy Charge, that of all the Trees in PARADISE, which bear such various and delicious Fruit, we are only forbid to taste that Tree of Knowledge, which is planted by the Tree of Life, so near is Death placed to Life! whatever Death be; no Doubt some very dreadful Thing; for thou knowest well God hath pronounc'd it Death to taste of that Tree: Among fo many Signs of Power and Rule he has conferr'd upon us, and Dominion which he hath given us over all other Creatures that live on Earth, in Sea, or in the Air, this is the only Sign left of our Obedience : Then don't let us think one eafy Prohibition hard, who enjoy so large and free a Liberty in all Things else, and have an unlimited Choice of manifold Delights; but let us praise him for ever, and extol his Bounty, following our pleasurable Task to prune these growing Plants, and tend upon these Flowers; which if of itself were toilfome, yet with thee would seem sweet and pleasant.
Wilfe, and have an praise him for rask to prune thith
To whom Eve reply'd thus ; . Oh thou! from whom and for whom I was form’d, Flesh of my Flesh, and without whom my Being would be to no Purpose, my Guide and Head! what thou hast said is juft and right, for we indeed owe all Praises and daily Thanks to him; but I chiefly, who enjoy fo much the happier Lot by enjoying thee, who art , more noble and excellent by lo much Odds; whilst
thou canst find no where any Thing that is equal to thyself. I often remember that Day when I first waked from Sleep, and laid down under a Shade upon Flowers, wondering much where I was and what I was, from whence, and how I was brought thither: Not a great way from thence a Sound of murmuring Waters flow'd forth from a Cave, and spread into a liquid Plain, which then stood unmov'd and clear as the Sky; I went thither with unexperienc'd Thought, and laid me down upon the green Bank, to look into the fmooth and pure Lake, that seem'd to me to be another Sky: As I bent myself down to look, just opposite appear'd a Shape in the Water, bending to look upon me; I started back, and that started back also; but I being pleas'd foon return'd, and that as soon return'd, and as pleas'd, with anfwering Looks of Sympathy and Love: There 'till now had I fix'd my Eyes, and pin'd away with vain Defire, had not a Voice thus warn'd me.' " Fair Creature, what thou there seest is now thing but thyself, it came with thee, and with thee “ it goes away ; but follow me, and I will bring thee of where fomething more than a Shadow waits for thy « coming, and for thy soft Embraces; 'tis he whole 66 Image thou art, thou shall enjoy him inseparably, “ to him shalt bear Multitude of Creatures like thy“ self, and thence shalt be call'd the Mother of hu“ man Kind.” What could I do else but immediately follow, being led thus invisibly, 'till I saw thee under a Platan? (z) Fair indeed and tall, and yet methought less fair, less winning and soft, and less amiably mild than that other smooth watery Image: I turn'd back, thou cryedst aloud, following me, fair EVE return; from whom dost thou jy? whom thou Riest from, of him . art thou made, his Flesh and Bone; to give thee thy Being I lent substantial Life,
(2) Platan (in the lat. Edit. well spread in Macedonia ; the Plantan, which is wrong) Gr. Body of it is a clear green, smooth i, e. Broad; because the Leaves as Glass, very streight, and aof it are very broad and spread bout zo Feet high; the Leaves ing wide, which make a cool, are eight or ten Foot long, and refreshing, and welcome Shade four Foot broad; and the Heart in hot Countries; the Plane- of it is a common Food in South Tree. It grows very large and America.