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The character of that dominion given
O'er other creatures: yet when I approach
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
And in herself complete, so well to know
Her own, that what she wills to do or say
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best.
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows;
Authority and reason on her wait,
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally; and, to consummate all,
Greatness of mind, and nobleness, their seat
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
About her, as a guard angelic placed.
The angel repeats his admonitions to the happy pair, and then retires.
Now came still evening on, and Twilight grey
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 long her amorous descant sung ;
Silence was pleased : now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires : Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
When Adam thus to Eve: “ Fair consort, the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest, Mind us of like repose; since God hath set Labour and rest, as day and night, to men Successive; and the timely dew of sleep, Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines Our eyelids : other creatures all day long Rove idle, unemployed, 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. Tomorrow, 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 bestrewn, unsightly and unsmooth, Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease; Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."
To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned . “My author and disposer, what thou bidst Unargued I obey: so God ordains; God is thy law, thou mine : to know no more Is woman's happiest knowledge, and her praise. 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,
Glistening with dew: fragrant the fertile 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 this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light; without thee is sweet."
EvE's Account OF HER CREATION, AND HER FIRST
MEETING WITH ADAM.
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: there I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me: “ What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes; but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called
Mother of human race.” What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led ?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall,
Under a plantane; yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: back I turned;
Thou following criedst aloud, “Return, fair Eve,
Whom fliest thou? 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.” With that thy gentle hand
Seized mine : I yielded; and from that time see
How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed On to their blissful bower: it was a place Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed All things to man's delightful use; the roof Of thickest covert was inwoven shade Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub, Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower, Iris-all-hues, roses, and jessamin, Reared high their flourished heads between, and wrought Mosaic; under foot the violet, Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay Broidered the ground, more coloured than with stone Of costliest emblem: other creature here, Bird, beast, insect, or worm, durst enter none, Such was their awe of man. In shadier bower More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned, Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess, With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs, Espouséd Eve decked first her nuptial bed; And heavenly quires the hymenean sung, What day the genial angel to our sire Brought her, in naked beauty more adorned, More lovely, than Pandora, whom the gods Endowed with all their gifts.