This knows my Punisher; therefore as far From granting he, as I from begging, peace. All hope excluded thus, behold, instead Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight, Mankind, created, and for him this World! So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear, Farewell remorse! Whereof he soon aware Each perturbation smoothed with outward calm, Artificer of fraud; and was the first That practised falsehood under saintly shew, Deep malice to conceal, couched with revenge: Yet not enough had practised to deceive Uriel, once warned; whose eye pursued him down The way he went, and on the Assyrian mount Saw him disfigured, more than could befall Spirit of happy sort: his gestures fierce He marked and mad demeanour, then alone, As he supposed, all unobserved, unseen.
So on he fares, and to the border comes Of Eden, where delicious Paradise, Now nearer, crowns with her enclosure green, As with a rural mound, the champain head Of a steep wilderness whose hairy sides With thicket overgrown, grotesque and wild. Access denied; and overhead up-grew Insuperable highth of loftiest shade, Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm, A sylvan scene, and, as the ranks ascend Shade above shade, a woody theatre Of stateliest view.
Yet higher than their tops The verdurous wall of Paradise up-sprung; Which to our general Sire gave prospect large Into his nether empire neighbouring round. And higher than that wall a circling row Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit, Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue, Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed; On which the sun more glad impressed his beams Than in fair evening cloud, or humid bow, When God hath showered the earth; so lovely seemed That lantskip.
And of pure now purer air Meets his approach, and to the heart inspires Vernal delight and joy, able to drive All sadness but despair. Now gentle gales, Fanning their odoriferous wings, dispense Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Those balmy spoils. Now to the ascent of that steep savage hill Satan had journeyed on, pensive and slow; But further way found none; so thick entwined, As one continued brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplexed All path of man or beast that passed that way.
One gate there only was, and that looked east On the other side. Which when the Arch-Felon saw, Due entrance he disdained, and, in contempt, At one slight bound high overleaped all bound Of hill or highest wall, and sheer within Lights on his feet. Thence up he flew, and on the Tree of Life, The middle tree and highest there that grew, Sat like a Cormorant; yet not true life Thereby regained, but sat devising death To them who lived; nor on the virtue thought Of that life-giving plant, but only used For prospect what, well used, had been the pledge Of immortality.
So little knows Any, but God alone, to value right The good before him, but perverts best things To worst abuse, or to their meanest use. In this pleasant soil His far more pleasant garden God ordained. Out of the fertile ground he caused to grow All trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste; And all amid them stood the Tree of Life, High eminent, blooming ambrosial fruit Of vegetable gold; and next to life, Our death, the Tree of Knowledge, grew fast by— Knowledge of good, bought dear by knowing ill. Thus was this place, A happy rural seat of various view: Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm, Others whose fruit, burnished with golden rind, Hung amiable—Hesperian fables true, If true, here only—and of delicious taste.
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks Grazing the tender herb, were interposed, Or palmy hillock; or the flowery lap Of some irriguous valley spread her store, Flowers of all hue, and without thorn the rose.
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The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs, Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune The trembling leaves, while universal Pan, Knit with the Graces and the Hours in dance, Led on the eternal Spring. Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall, God—like erect, with native honour clad In naked majesty, seemed lords of all, And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine The image of their glorious Maker shon, Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure— Severe, but in true filial freedom placed, Whence true authority in men: though both Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed, For softness she and sweet attractive grace; He for God only, she for God in him.
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Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed: Then was not guilty shame. Under a tuft of shade that on a green Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain—side. They sat them down; and, after no more toil Of their sweet gardening labour than sufficed To recommend cool Zephyr, and make ease More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite More grateful, to their supper-fruits they fell— Nectarine fruits, which the complaint boughs Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline On the soft downy bank damasked with flowers.
The savoury pulp they chew, and in the rind, Still as they thirsted, scoop the brimming stream Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems Fair couple linked in happy nuptial league, Alone as they. About them frisking played All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase In wood or wilderness, forest or den.
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces, pards, Gambolled before them; the unwieldy elephant, To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed His lithe proboscis; close the serpent sly, Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine His breaded train, and of his fatal guile Gave proof unheeded.
Others on the grass Couched, and, now filled with pasture, gazing sat, Or bedward ruminating; for the sun, Declined, was hastening now with prone career To the Ocean Isles, and in the ascending scale Of Heaven the stars that usher evening rose: When Satan, still in gaze as first he stood, Scarce thus at length failed speech recovered sad:— "O Hell! Into our room of bliss thus high advanced Creatures of other mould—Earth-born perhaps, Not Spirits, yet to Heavenly Spirits bright Little inferior—whom my thoughts pursue With wonder, and could love; so lively shines In them divine resemblance, and such grace The hand that formed them on their shape hath poured.
League with you I seek, And mutual amity, so strait, so close, That I with you must dwell, or you with me, Henceforth.
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Hell shall unfold, To entertain you two, her widest gates, And send forth all her kings; there will be room, Not like these narrow limits, to receive Your numerous offspring; if no better place, Thank him who puts me, loath, to this revenge On you, who wrong me not, for him who wronged. And, should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet public reason just— Honour and empire with revenge enlarged By conquering this new World—compels me now To do what else, though damned, I should abhor. Then from his lofty stand on that high tree Down he alights among the sportful herd Of those four-footed kinds, himself now one, Now other, as their shape served best his end Nearer to view his prey, and, unespied, To mark what of their state he more might learn By word or action marked.
About them round A lion now he stalks with fiery glare; Then as a tiger, who by chance hath spied In some pourlieu two gentle fawns at play, Straight crouches close; then rising, changes oft His couchant watch, as one who chose his ground, Whence rushing he might surest seize them both Griped in each paw: when Adam, first of men. Then let us not think hard One easy prohibition, who enjoy Free leave so large to all things else, and choice Unlimited of manifold delights; But let us ever praise him, and extol His bounty, following our delightful task, To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowers; Which, were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
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For we to him, indeed, all praises owe, And daily thanks—I chiefly, who enjoy So far the happier lot, enjoying thee Pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou Like consort to thyself canst nowhere find. That day I oft remember, when from sleep I first awaked, and found myself reposed, Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where And what I was, whence thither brought, and how. Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound Of waters issued from a cave, and spread Into a liquid plain; then stood unmoved, Pure as the expanse of Heaven.
I thither went With unexperienced thought, and laid me down On the green bank, to look into the clear Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky. As I bent down to look, just opposite A Shape within the watery gleam appeared, Bending to look on me. I started back, It started back; but pleased I soon returned Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks Of sympathy and love. Till I espied thee, fair, indeed, and tall, Under a platan; yet methought less fair, Less winning soft, less amiably mild, That that smooth watery image. Whom thou fliest, of him thou art, His flesh, his bone, to give thee being I lent Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, Substantial life, to have thee by my side Henceforth an individual solace dear: Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim My other half.
He, in delight Both of her beauty and submissive charms, Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds That shed May flowers, and pressed her matron lip With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turned For envy; yet with jealous leer malign Eyed them askance, and to himself thus plained:— "Sight hateful, sight tormenting! Yet let me not forget what I have gained From their own mouths.
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All is not theirs, it seems; One fatal tree there stands, of Knowledge called, Forbidden them to taste. Knowledge forbidden? Suspicious, reasonless! Why should their Lord Envy them that? Can it be sin to know? Can it be death? And do they only stand By ignorance? Is that their happy state, The proof of their obedience and their faith? O fair foundation laid whereon to build Their ruin!
Hence I will excite their minds With more desire to know, and to reject Envious commands, invented with design To keep them low, whom knowledge might exalt Equal with gods. Aspiring to be such, They taste and die: what likelier can ensue? But first with narrow search I must walk round This garden, and no corner leave unspied; A chance but chance may lead where I may meet Some wandering Spirit of Heaven, by fountain-side, Or in thick shade retired, from him to draw What further would be learned.
Live while ye may, Yet happy pair; enjoy, till I return, Short pleasures; for long woes are to succeed! Meanwhile in utmost longitude, where Heaven With Earth and Ocean meets, the setting Sun Slowly descended, and with right aspect Against the eastern gate of Paradise Levelled his evening rays. It was a rock Of alabaster, piled up to the clouds, Conspicuous far, winding with one ascent Accessible from Earth, one entrance high; The rest was craggy cliff, that overhung Still as it rose, impossible to climb. Betwixt these rocky pillars Gabriel sat, Chief of the angelic guards, awaiting night; About him exercised heroic games The unarmed youth of Heaven; but nigh at hand Celestial armoury, shields, helms, and spears, Hung high, with diamond flaming and with gold.
Thither came Uriel, gliding through the even On a sunbeam, swift as a shooting star In autumn thwarts the night, when vapours fired Impress the air, and shews the mariner From what point of his compass to beware Impetuous winds, He thus began in haste:— "Gabriel, to thee thy course by lot hath given Charge and strict watch that to this happy place No evil thing approach or enter in.
I described his way Bent all on speed, and marked his aerie gait, But in the mount that lies from Eden north, Where he first lighted, soon discerned his looks Alien from Heaven, with passions foul obscured. Mine eye pursued him still, but under shade Lost sight of him. One of the banished crew, I fear, hath ventured from the Deep, to raise New troubles; him thy care must be to find. In at this gate none pass The vigilance here placed, but such as come Well known from Heaven; since meridian hour No creature thence.
Now came still Evening on, and Twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad; Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, They to their grassy couch, these to their nests Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale. She all night longer her amorous descant sung: Silence was pleased.
Other creatures all day long Rove idle, unimployed, and less need rest; Man hath his daily work of body or mind Appointed, which declares his dignity, And the regard of Heaven on all his ways; While other animals unactive range, And of their doings God takes no account. To—morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east With first approach of light, we must be risen, And at our pleasant labour, to reform Yon flowery arbours, yonder alleys green, Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown, That mock our scant manuring, and require More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth.
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums, That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth, Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease. Meanwhile, as Nature wills, Night bids us rest. With thee conversing, I forget all time, All seasons, and their change; all please alike. Sweet is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertil Earth After soft showers; and sweet the coming on Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night, With this her solemn bird, and this fair Moon, And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train: But neither breath of Morn, when she ascends With charm of earliest birds; nor rising Sun On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower, Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers; Nor grateful Evening mild; nor silent Night, With her solemn bird; nor walk by moon, Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.