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Seek not temptation then, which to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought.
Wouldst thou approve thy constancy, approve
First thy obedience; th other who can know, .
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But if thou think, trial unsought may find 370
Us both, securer than thus warn'd thou seem'st,
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more;
Go in thy native innocence, rely
On, what thou hast of virtue, summon all,
For God tow’ards thee hath done his part, do thine.

So spake the Patriarch of mankind; but Eve
Persisted, yet submiss, though last, reply'd.
• With thy permissson then, and thus forewarn'd
Chiefly by what thy own last reasoning words
Touch'd only, that our trial, when least sought,
May find us both perhaps far less prepar'd, 381
The willinger I go, nor much expect
A foe so proud will first the weaker seek;
So bent, the more shall shame him his repulse.

Thus saying, from her husband's hand her hand Soft she withdrew, and like a Wood-nymph light, Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, Betook her to the groves, but Delia's self In gait surpass’d, and goddess-like deport, Though not as she with bow and quiver arm'd 390 But with such gard’ning tools as art yet rude, Guiltless of fire, had form’d, or Angels brought. To Pales, or Pomona, thus adorn'd,

Likest she seem'd, Pomona when she fled Vertumnus, of to Ceres in her prime, Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. Her long with ardent look his eye pursu'd Delighted, but desiring more her stay. Oft he to her his charge of quick return Repeated, she to him as oft engag'd To be return'd by noon amid the bower, And all things in best order to invite Noon-tide repast, or afternoon's repose. O much deceivid, much failing, hapless Eve, Of thy presum'd return! event perverse ! Thou never from that hour in Paradise Found'st either sweet repast or sound repose: Such ambush hid among sweet flowers and shades Waited with hellish rancor imminent To intercept thy way, or send thee back 410 Despoild of innocence, of faith, of bliss, For now, and since first break of dawn, the Fiend, Mere serpent in appearance, forth was come, And on his quest, where likeliest he might find The only two of mankind, but in them The whole included race, his purpos'd prey. In bower and field he sought, where any tuft Of grove or garden-plot more pleasant lay, Their tendence or plantation to delight; By fountain or by shady rivulet He sought them both, but wish'd his hap might find Eve separate, he wish’d, but not with hope Of what so seldom chanc'd, when to his wish,

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Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies, . Veild in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood, Half spy'd, so thick the roses blushing round About her glow'd, oft stooping to support Each flower of slender stalk, whose head though gay Carnation, purple', azure, or speck'd with gold, · Hung drooping unsustain'd; them she upstays 430 Gently with myrtle band, mindless the while Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh. Nearer he drew, and many a walk travers'd Of stateliest covert, cedar, pine, or palm, Then voluble and bold, now hid, now seen Among thick-woven arborets and flowers Imborder'd on each bank, the hand of Eve: Spot more delicious than those gardens feign'd, Or of reviv'd Adonis, or renown'd Alcinous, host of old Laertes' son, Or that, not mystic, where the sapient king Held dalliance with his fair Egyptian spouse. Much he the place admir'd, the person more. As one who long in populous city pent, Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air, Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe Among the pleasant villages and farms Adjoin'd, from each thing met conceives delight, The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine, 450 Or dairy', each rural sight, each rural sound; If chance with nymph-like step fair virgin pass, What pleasing seem'd, for her now pleases more,

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She most, and in her look sums all delight:
Such pleasure took the serpent to behold
This flowery plat, the sweet recess of Eve
Thus early, thus alone ; her heav'nly form
Angelic, but more soft and feminine,
Her graceful innocence, her every air
Of gesture or least action overaw'd
His malice, and with rapine sweet bereav'd
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought:
That space the evil ane abstracted stood
From his own ev'il, and for the time remain'd
Stupidly good, of enmity disarm’d,
Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge ;
But the hot bell that always in him burns,
Though in mid Heav'n, spon ended his delight,
And tortures him now more, the more he sees
Of pleasure not for him ordain’d: then soon 470
Fierce hate he recollects, and all his thoughts
Of mischief, gratulating, thus excites: sweet

Thoughts, whither have ye led me? with what
Compulsion thus transported to forget
What hither brought us! hate, not love, nor hope
Of Paradise for Hell, hope here to taste
Of pleasure, but all pleasure to destroy,
Save what is in destroying; other joy
To me is lost. Then let me not let pass
Occasion which now smiles; behold alone 480
The Woman, opportune to all attempts,
Her husband, for I view far round, not nigh,
Whose higher intellectual more I shun,

And strength, of courage haughty, and of limb
Heroic built, though of terrestrial mould,
Foe not informidable, exempt from wound,
I not; so much hath Hell debas'd, and pain
Infeebled me, to what I was in Heav'n.
She fair, divinely fair, fit love for gods,
Not terrible, though terror be in love 490
And beauty, not approach'd by stronger hate,
Hate stronger, under show of love well feign'd,
The way which to her ruin now I tend.

So spake the enemy of mankind, inclos'd
In serpent, inmate bad, and toward Eve
Address'd his way, not with indented wave,
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his rear,
Circular base of rising folds, that tower'd
Fold above fold a surging maze his head
Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes; 500
With burnish'd neck of verdant gold, erect
Amidst his circling spires, that on the grass
Floted redundant: pleasing was his shape
And lovely; never since of serpent kind
Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
Hermione and Cadmus, or the god
In Epidaurus; nor to which transform'd
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen,
He with Olympias, this with her who bore
Scipio the heighth of Rome. With tract oblique
At first, as one who sought access, but fear'd 511
To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
As 'when a ship by skilful steersman wsought

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