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In reason, and is judicious, is the scale
By which to Heav'nly love thou may’st ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.'

To whom thus half abash't Adam repli’d :
"Neither her outside form'd so fair, nor aught
In procreation common to all kinds,
(Though higher of the genial bed by far,
And with mysterious reverence I deem).
So much delights me as those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions mixt with love
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd
Union of mind, or in us both one soul;
Harmony to behold in wedded pair
More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear.
Yet these subject not; I to theç disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd,
Who meet with various objects from the sense
Variously representing ; yet still free
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blam'st me not, for Love thou say'st
Leads up to Heav'n, is both the way and guide;
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask;
Love not the Heav'nly spirits, and how their love
Express they? by looks only, or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch ?'

To whom the angel with a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, Love's proper hue,
Answer'd. Let it suffice thee that thou know'st
Us happy, and without Love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st,
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars;
Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring; nor •restrain'd conveyance need

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As flesh to mix with flesh or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
Beyond the Earth’s Green Cape and Verdant Isles
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart.
Be strong, live happy, and love, but first of all
Him whom to love is to obey, and keep
His great command ; take heed lest passion sway
Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will
Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons
The weal or woe in thee is plac't; beware.
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the blest : stand fast; to stand or fall
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.
Perfet within, no outward aid require;
And all temptation to transgress repel.'

So saying, he arose ; whom Adam thus
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part,
Go heavenly guest, ethereal messenger,
Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore.
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever
With grateful memory: thou to mankind
Be good and friendly still, and oft return.'

So parted they; the angel up to Heav'n
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.

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650 BOOK IX.

THE ARGUMENT.

Satan having compassed the earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist, by night into Paradise, and enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart. Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that Enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone. Eve loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields. The Serpent finds her alone ; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much fattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now: the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both. Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of Knowledge forbidden. The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof. Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her, and, extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit. The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar us'd
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam'd: I now must change

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These notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
And disobedience : on the part of Heav'n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment giv'n,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
Death's harbinger: sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursu'd
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespous’d,
Or Neptune's ire or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek and Cytherea's son;
If answerable style I can obtain
Of my celestial patroness, who deigns
Her nightly visitation unimplor’d,
And dictates to me slumb'ring, or inspires
Easy my unpremeditated verse :
Since first this subject for heroic song
Pleas'd me long choosing, and beginning late ;
Not sedulous by nature to indite
Wars, hitherto the only argument
Heroic deem'd, chief mast'ry to dissect
With long and tedious havoc, fabled knights,
In battles feign'd; the better fortitude
Of patience and heroic martyrdom
Unsung; or to describe races and games,
Or tilting furniture, emblazon'd shields,
Impreses quaint, caparisons and steeds;
Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
At joust and tournament; then marshalld feast
Served up in hall with sewers, and seneschals;
The skill of artifice or office mean,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
To person or to poem. Me of these
Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument
Remains, sufficient of itself to raise

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That name, unless an age too late, or cold
Climate, or years damp my intended wing

45 Deprest, and much they may, if all be mine, Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring Twilight upon the Earth, short arbiter

50 Twixt day and night; and now from end to end Night's hemisphere had veild the horizon round: When Satan who late fled before the threats Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd In meditated fraud and malice, bent

55 On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd. By night he fled, and at midnight return'd From compassing the Earth; cautious of day, Since Uriel regent of the sun descri’d

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His entrance, and forewarn'd the cherubim
That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driv'n,
The space of seven continu'd nights he rode
With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line
He circld, four times cross'd the car of night
From pole to pole, traversing each colure;
On the eighth return’d, and on the coast averse
From entrance or cherubic watch, by stealth
Found unsuspected way. There was a place,

Now not, (though Sin, not Time, first wrought the change,) 70
Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise
Into a gulf shot under ground, till part
Rose up a fountain by the tree of Life;
In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan involved in rising mist; then sought

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Where to lie hid: sea he had searcht and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool
Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic; and in length
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd
At Darien, thence to the land where flows

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