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As reapers oft are wont their harvest-queen.
Great joy he promis'd to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delay'd;
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him; he the falt'ring measure felt;
And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted; by the tree
Of Knowledge he must pass, there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit that downy smild,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus'd.
To him she hasted, in her face Excuse
Came prologue and apology to prompt,
Which with bland words at will she thus addrest.
‘Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay?
Thee I have misst, and thought it long, depriv’d
Thy presence, agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice; for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untri'd I sought,
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
This tree is not as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, nor to evil unknown
Op’ning the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them gods who taste;
And hath been tasted such: the serpent wise,
Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying,
Hath eat'n of the fruit, and is become,
Not dead, as we are threaten’d, but thenceforth
Endu'd with human voice and human sense,
Reasoning to admiration, and with me
Persuasively hath so prevail'd, that I
Have also tasted, and have also found
Th’ effects to correspond, opener mine eyes,
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
And growing up to godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss,
Tedious, unshar'd with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Lest thou not tasting, different degree
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
Deity for thee, when Fate will not permit.'
Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told;
But in her cheek distemper flushing glow’d.
On th’ other side, Adam, soon as he heard
The fatal trespass done by Eve, amaz’d,
Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill
Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd;
From his slack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve
Down dropt, and all the faded roses shed :
Speechless he stood and pale, till thus at length
First to himself he inward silence broke.
"Ofairest of creation ! last and best
Of all God's works! creature in whom excell'd
Whatever can to sight or thought be form’d,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defact, deflow'rd, and now to death devote?
Rather how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidd’n ? some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruin'd, for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die:
How can I live without thee, how forego
Thy sweet converse and love so dearly join'd,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn?
Should God create another Eve, and I
Another rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no, no, I feel
The link of Nature draw me: flesh of flesh,
Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.'
So having said, as one from sad dismay
Re-comforted, and after thoughts disturb’d
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thus in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd.
"Bold deed thou hast presum'd, adventrous Eve,
And peril great provok't, who thus hath dar'd
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it under ban to touch.
But past who can recal, or done undo?
Not God omnipotent, nor Fate, yet so
Perhaps thou shalt not die; perhaps the fact
Is not so heinous now; foretasted fruit,
Profan'd first by the serpent, by him first
Made common and unhallow'd ere our taste;
Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,
Lives, as thou saidst, and gains to live as Man
ree of life, inducement strong
To us, as likely tasting to attain
Proportional ascent, which cannot be
But to be gods, or angels demi-gods.
Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,
Though threatning, will in earnest so destroy
Us his prime creatures, dignifi'd sọ high,
Set over all his works, which in our fall,
For us created, needs with us must fail,
Dependent made; so God shall uncreate,
Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose,
Not well conceiv'd of God, who though his power
Creation could repeat, yet would be loth
Us to abolish ; lest the Adversary
Triumph, and say,
6 Fickle their state whom God
Most favours; who can please him long? me first
He ruin'd, now mankind; whom will he next?”
Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe.
However, I with thee have fixt my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom; if death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of Nature draw me to my own,
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
Our state cannot be sever'd; we are one,
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.'
So Adam, and thus Eve to him repli’d.
'O glorious trial of exceeding love,
Illustrious evidence, example high!
Engaging me to emulate, but short
Of thy perfection, how shall I attain?
Adam! from whose dear side I boast me sprung,
And gladly of our union hear thee speak,
One heart, one soul in both; whereof good proof
This day affords, declaring thee resolvid,
Rather than death or aught than death more dread
Shall separate us, linkt in love so dear,
To undergo with me one guilt, one crime,
If any be, of tasting this fair fruit,
Whose virtue, for of good still good proceeds,
Direct, or by occasion hath presented
This happy trial of thy love, which else
So eminently never had been known.
Were it I thought death menac't would ensue
This my attempt, I would sustain alone
The worst, and not persuade thee; rather die
Deserted, than oblige thee with a fact
Pernicious to thy peace; chiefly assur'd
Remarkably so late of thy so true,
So faithful love unequalld; but I feel
Far otherwise th' event; not death, but life
Augmented, op'nd eyes, new hopes, new joys,
Taste so divine, that what of sweet before
Hath toucht my sense, flat seems to this, and harsh.
On my experience, Adam, freely taste,
And fear of death deliver to the winds.'
So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy
Tenderly wept, much won that he his love
Had so ennoblid, as of choice to incur
Divine displeasure for her sake, or death.
In recompense, (for such compliance bad
Such recompense best merits) from the bough
She gave him of that fair enticing fruit
With liberal hand : he scrupled not to eat
Against his better knowledge, not deceiv'd,
But fondly overcome with female charm.
Earth trembld from her entrails, as again
In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan;
Sky lowr'd, and muttering thunder, some sad drops
Wept at completing of the mortal sin
Original; while Adam took no thought,
Eating his fill, nor Eve to iterate
Her former trespass fear'd, the more to soothe
Him with her lov'd society, that now
As with new wine intoxicated both
They swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel
Divinity within them breeding wings
Wherewith to scorn the Earth: but that false fruit
Far other operation first display'd,
Carnal desire inflaming; he on Eve
Began to cast lascivious eyes, she him
As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn :
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move.
‘Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
And elegant, of sapience no small part,
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And palate call judicious; I the praise
Yield thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wish’d,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But come, so well refresh't, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare:
For never did thy beauty since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd
With all perfections, so inflame my sense