« PreviousContinue »
and my State would be still much worse, were I in Heaven. But I neither seek to dwell here, nor in Heaven, except I could overcome him, who is now supreme there: Nor have I any Hope to make myself less miserable by what I seek, but only to make others as I am, though worse should be multiply'd and heap'd upon me: For I find no Ease to my relentless Thoughts but in Destruction: If I can destroy him, or win him (for whom all this was made to do what may cause his own Destruction, all this will follow with him of Course, as being link'd to him in Joy or Misery: In Misery be it then, that Destruction may spread over all. Among the Infernal Powers, Glory shall be given to me alone, to have marr'd what he, who is stil'd ALMIGHTY, continued six Days and Nights in making; and who knows how long before he had been contriving it? Though perhaps it has been since I in one Night, fet almost half the Angels free from inglorious Servitude, and left the Throng of his Worlhippers something thinner. He to be aveng'd, and to repair his Numbers, which I had thus lessen'd, determin’d to advance into our Room, a Creature form’d of the Earth, and endow him (though rais'd from such a base Original) with those heavenly Perfections, which once were ours: This he has done, either in greater Spite to us, .advancing such low Creatures to such high Dignity; or else his Power, which he had of old, to create Angels is spent: (if at least he ever did create them, which who knows?) What he decreed, that he effected; he made Man, and built for him this magnificent World, gave him the Earth for his Seat, and pro- ; nounc'd him Lord; and (Oh! what an Indignity was that!) subjected Angels to be his Servants, and to watch and tend upon an Earth-born Charge. I dread the Vigilance of those who keep Guard over them, and to avoid it, thus wrapp'd up in an obfcure Mist of Midnight Vapours, I glide and pry in every Bush
and Bramble, where I may by Chance find the Serpent asleep; in whose Shape I may hide me, and the dark Design I bring with me. Oh foul Downfall indeed! that I, who once contended to fit the highest with Gods, am now forced into a Beast, and mix'd with bestial Slime to become incarnate, and inform the Body of a Brute, that before aspir'd to the Height of Deity! But what will not Ambition and Revenge descend to? They who aspire too high must stoop as low, and first or last lay themselves liable to the basest Things. Revenge, though sweet at first, foon becomes bitter, and recoils back upon itself: Let it; I care not, so it strikes him sure, who next to the King of Heaven provokes my Envy, this new Favourite, this Man of Clay, this Son of Despite, whom the more to spite us, his Maker has rais'd from the Duft: Then Spite is best paid with Spite.
So saying, creeping low like a black Mist through every Thicket, he held on his Midnight Search, where he hop'd soonest to find the Serpent: He soon discover'd him, fast alleep, rowl'd round and round, with his Head in the Middle, full of Subtilty; not yet in horrid Shades or a dismal Den, (for there were as yet no such Things) but he slept upon the Grass, without Fear or without being fear'd, for now no Creature was hurtful. The Devil enter'd in at his Mouth, and poíTesling his brutal Sense, foon inspir'd his UnderItanding with his own Spirit; but not disturbing his Sleep, lay close, waiting for Morning.
CH A P.
С НА Р. ІІ. Adam and Eve in the Morning go forth to their
Labours, which Eve proposes to divide in feveral Places, each labouring apart : Adam endeavours to dissuade Eve therefrom; but not prevailing, at length consents.
TOW when it began to be Morning in EDEN,
and the Flowers open’d and breath'd their
Morning Incense; when all Things that the Earth produces, proving the Wisdom of the great CREATOR, silently praise him; ADAM and Eve came forth, and join'd their vocal Worship: That done, they partake of all the Blessings with which they were surrounded, sweetest Scents, and freshest Air; then consult, how they may that Day do all the Work in the Garden, there was for them to do; (for their Work much outgrew the Dispatch of their two Labours) and Eve thus began to speak to her Hufband:
ADAM! we may still labour on to dress this Garden, to tend the Plants, Herbs, and Flowers, which is the pleasant Task enjoin'd us, but 'till more Hands aslift us, the Work grows under our Hands, and what we lop off by Day, as being over-grown, or prune, or prop, or bind up, in one Night or two iprings forth again, and grows wild. Now therefore give thy Advice, or first hear what Thoughts present to my Mind: Let us divide our Labours; do thou go where thy own Choice leads thee, either to wind the Woodbine round about this Arbour, or direct the Ivy where it may be properest for it to climb; while I among yonder Roses, which are intermix'd with Myrtle, sec what there is to set right 'till Noon: For while we
PARADISE Lost. Book IX. chuse our Task thus, so near one another all the Day long, what Wonder is it if Looks and Smiles come between, and any new Object bring up accidental Discourse between us; which makes our Day's Work (so intermitted) tû be brought to little, though we begin early, and Night comes before we are prepar'd for it.
To whom ADAM return'd this mild Answer: Fair Eve, my only Partner and Companion! dear to me beyond Comparison above all living Creatures! Thou haft employ'd thy Thoughts well, and hast well propos'd how we might best accomplish the Work, assign'd us here by God, nor shalt thou go unprais'd by me for it: (for nothing can be found more lovely in a Woman, than to study the Good of her Household, and to promote good Works in her Husband:) Yet our LORD hath not impos'd Labour on us so very strictly, as to debar us from taking (when we need) any Refreshment, whether Food, or Conversation, which is as Food to the Mind; nor does he forbid us this sweet Intercourse of Looks and Smiles, for Smiles flow from Reason, deny'd to the Brutes, and are the Food of Love, and Love is not the lowest End or Intention of human Life; for he did not make us to irksome and tiresome Toil, but to Delight, and to that Delight join'd Reason. Doubt not, but our joint Hands will be able, with Ease, to keep these Paths and Bowers from going into Wilderness, at least as wide as we need walk, and 'till younger Hands, before it is long, shall assist us. But if over-much of my Converfation perhaps may cloy thee, on that Account I could yield to a short Absence: (for sometimes Solitude is the best Society, and a short Separation causes Sweetness at Return) But another Doubt possesses me; left when thou art separated from me, something ill should befall thee: Thou knowest what Warning hath been given us, what a malicious Foe,
despairing of his own Happiness and envying ours, seeks by Contrivance to bring us to Shame and Misery; and watches, no Doubt, somewhere near at Hand, with a greedy Hope to find his Wish, and us asunder, when he might take an Advantage; for he can have no Hope to circumvent us thus joind together, where each in a Time of Need, might speedily and easily give Help to the other. Whether his first Design be to draw us from our Duty to God, or whether he would disturb our conjugal Love; (than which perhaps no Happiness enjoy’d by us more excites his Envy, let it be this or worse, leave not the faithful Side, from whence thou hadīt thy Being, and that still guards and protects thee: For where Danger or Difhonour lurks, a Wife is safest, and seemliest by the Side of her Husband, who defends her, or else endures the worst with her. :
To whom Eve, with Virgin Modesty and yet majestick, as one who loves, and from whom he loves meets with some Unkindness, sweetly compos’d, and yet not without some Austerity, reply'd thus:
OFFSPRING of Heaven and Earth, and Lord of all the Earth! that we have such an Enemy, who seeks our Ruin, I have learnt, both by Information from thee, and from what I over-heard from the Angel as he was departing, where I stood behind in a shady Nook, being just then return'd, at the Shutting of the Flowers in the Evening. But that thou should'st doubt my Firmness to God or thee, because we have a Foe may happen to tempt it, I must confess I did not expect to hear: Thou art not afraid of his Violence, it being such (for he cannot destroy us, or put us to Pain) as we can either not receive, or else resist and repel it: It his Fraud then that thou art afraid of; which plainly infers thy Fear equal, that my firm Faith and Love, can be seduc'd or shaken by his