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And colours dipt in heav'n; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide. Strait knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch; and to his state
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guess'd him bound,
Their glitt'ring tents he pass'd, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flow'ring odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Her virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Hin through the spicy forest onward come,
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat
Of his cool bow'r, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm
Earth's inmost womb, more warinth than Adam needs;
And Eve within, due at lier hour, prepard
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish'd thirst
Of nect'rous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam callid:

Haste hither, Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward ainong those trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Ris'n on mid-noon; some great behest from heav'n
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And what tby stores contain, bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our heav'nly stranger: well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestow'd, where nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburd’ning grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.

To whoin thus Eve: Adam, earth's hallow'd mould Of God inspir'd, small store will serve, where store,

All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our angel-guest, as he
Beholding shall confess, that here on earth
God hath dispens’d his bounties as in heav'n.

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thought intent,
What choice to chuse for delicacy best,
What order, so contriv'd as not to mix
Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste upheid with kindliest change ;
Bestirs her then, and from each tender staik
Whatever Earth, all bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore,
In Pontus or the Punic coast, or where
Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough or smooth rio'd, or bearded husky or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meathis
From many a berry, and from sweet kernels press'd
She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground
With rose and odours from the shrub unfum’d.

Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train Accompanied than with his own complete Perfections; in himself was all his state, More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits On princes, when their rich retinue long Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape. Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw'd, Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek, As to a superior nature, bowing low, Thus said: Native of heav'n, for other place

None can than heav'n such glorious shape contain;
Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd awhile
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two only, who yet hy sov'reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yander shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline.

Whom thus th’angelic Virtue answer'd mild:
Adam, I therefore came; nor art thou such
Created, or such place hast here to dwell
As may not oft invite, though sp'rits of heav'n
To visit thee: lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge.
They came, that like Pomona's arbour smild
With flow'rets deck'd, and fragrant smells; but Eve
Undeck'd, save with herself, more lovely fair
Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feign'd
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,
Stood to entertain her guest from heav'n; no veil
She needed, virtue proof; no thought infirm
Alter'd her cheek. On whom the angel Hail
Bestow'd, the holy salutation us'd
Long after to bless'd Mary, second Eve.

Hail! Mother of Mankind, whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heap'd this table. Rais'd of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round; And on her ample square from side to side All autumn pild, though spring and autumn here Danc'd hand in hand. Awhile discourse they hold, No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began Our author: Heav'nly stranger, please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends, To us for food and for delight hath caus'd

The earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps
To spiritual natures; only this I know,
That one celestial Father gives to all.

To whom the angel: Therefore what he gives
(Whose praise be ever sung) to man in part
Spiritual, may of purest sp'rits be found
No ingrateful food: and food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty
Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste,
Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate,
And corporeal to incorporeal turn.
For know, whatever was created, needs
To be sustaind and fed; of elements,
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,
Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and as lowest first the moon ;
Whence in her visage round those spots, unpurg'd
Vapours not yet into her substance turnd.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From lier moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun, that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompense
In humid exhalations, and at evin
Sups with the ocean. Though in heav'n the trees
of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines
Yield nectar; thouglı from off the boughs each morn
We brush mellifluous dews, and find the ground
Cover'd widi pearly grain: set God hath here
Varied his bounty so with new delights,
As may compare with hcaven; and to taste
Think not I shall be nice. So down they sat,
And to their viands fell: nor seemingly
Thc angcl, nor in mist, the coinmon gloss
of Tricologians; but with keen dispatch
Of real hunger, and concoctive heat
To transubstantiate: what redounds, transpires
Through sp’rits with ease; nor wonder, if by fire
Of sooty coal tl'cmpiric alebymist

Can turn, or holds it possible to turn,
Metals of drossiest ore to perfect gold,
As from the mine. Meanwhile at table Eve
Minister'd naked, and their flowing cups
With pleasant liquors crown'd. O innocence
Deserving Paradise! if ever, then,
Then had the sons of God excuse to have been
Enamour'd at that sight; but in those hearts
Love unlibidinous reign’d, nor jealousy
Was understood, the injur'd lover's hell.

Thus when with meats and drinks they had suffic'd,
Not burdend Nature, sudden mind arose
In Adam, not to let th' occasion pass
Giv’n him by this great conference, to know
Of things above his world, and of their being
Who dwell in heav'n, whose excellence he saw
Transcend his own so far, whose radiant forms
Divine effulgence, whose high pow'r so far
Exceeded human: and his wary speech
Thus to themipyreal minister he fram'd:

Inhabitant with God, now know I well Thy favour in this honour done to man; Under whose lowly roof thou hast vouchsaf'd To enter, and these earthly fruits to taste, Food not of angels, yet accepted so As that more willingly thou couldst not seem At heav'n's high feasts t'have fed; yet what compare!

To whom the winged Hierarch reply'd: O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom All things proceed, and up to him return, If not deprav'd from good; created all Such to perfection, one first matter ail Endu'd with various fornis, various degrees Of substance, and in things that live, of life; But more refin’d, more spiritous, and pure, As nearer to him plac’d, or nearer tending, Each in their several active spheres assign'd, Till body up to spirit work, in bounds Proportion'd to each kind. So from the root Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leavez

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