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Sach prohibitions bind not. But if death 760
Binds us with after-bands, what profits then
Our inward freedom ? In the day we eat
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
How dies the ferpent ? he hath eat'n and lives,
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns; 765
Irrational till then, For us alone
Was death invented ? or to us deny'd
This intellectual food, for beasts reserv'd ?
For beasts it seems: yet that one beast which first
Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy 770
The good befall'n him, author unsuspect,
Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil
Of God or death, of law or penalty?

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Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then
To reach, and feed at once both body' and mind?

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour 780 Forth reaching to the fruit, she plack'd, the eat: Earth felt the wound; and Nature from her feat, Sighing through all her works, gave signs of woe, That all was loft. Back to the thicket sunk The guilty serpent; and well might, for Eve Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else Regarded, such delight till then, as feem’d, In fruit she never tasted, whether true Or fancy'd so, through expectation high Of knowledge; nor was godhead from her thought, Greedily she ingorg'd without reltraint, 791 And knew not eating death. Satiate at length, And heighten'd as with wine, jocund and boon, Thus to herself fhe pleasingly began.

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O sov'reign, virtuous, precious of all trees 795 In Paradise, of operation bless'd To sapience, hitherto obfcur'd, infam'd, And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end Created ; but henceforth my early care, Not without song, each morning, and due praife, 800 Shall tend thee, and thy fertile burden ease Of thy full branches, offer'd free to all; Till dieted by thee I grow

matore In knowledge, as the gods, who all things know; Though others envy what they cannot give; 805 For had the gift been theirs, it had not here Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe, Best guide; not following thee, I had remain'd In ignorance; thou open'l wisdom's way, And giv'lt access; though secret the retire. 810 And I perhaps am fecret; heaven is high, High, and remote to see from thence diftin&t Each thing on earth'; and other care perhaps May have diverted from continual watch Our great forbidder, safe with all his spies About him. But to Adam in what fort Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known As yet my change, and give him to partake Full happiness with me; or rather not, But keep the odds of knowledge in my power Without copartner ? so to add what wants In female sex, the more to draw his love, And render me more equal, and perhaps, A thing not undesirable, sometime Superior; for inferior who is free? This may be well: but what if God have seen, And death ensue? then I shall be no more, And Adam, wedded to another Eve, Shall live with her enjoying, I exline ;

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820

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had wove

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A death to think. Confirm'd then I resolve,
Adam (hall share with me in blifs or woe :
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could endure, without him live no life.

So saying, from the tree her step she turn'd;
But first low reverence done, as to the pow'r
That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd
Into the plant sciential rap, deriv'd
From nectar, drink of gods. Adam the while,
Waiting desirous her return,
Of choicest flowers a garland to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown,
As reapers oft are wont their harveft-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 fairelt fruit, that downy smild,
New gather'd, and ambrofial smell diffus’d.
To him she hasted ; in her face excuse
Came prologue, and apology too prompt,
Which with bland words at will the thus address'd.

Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay? Thee I have miss'd, and thought it long, depriv'd Thy presence, agony of love till now

nor Mall be twice ; for never more Mean I to try, what rasa untry'd I fought,

860 The pain of absence from thy fight. But strange Hath been the cause, and wonderful to bear ; This tree is not, as we are told, a tree Of danger tasted, nor to' evil unknown

Opining

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Not felt,

Opining the way; but of divine effect

865 To open eyes, and make them gods who taste; And hath been talted fuch: the serpent wise, Or not restrain'd as we, or not obeying, Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become, Not dead, as we are threaten'd, but thenceforth 870 Endu'd with human voice and human sense, Reasoning to admiration, and with me Persuasively hath fo prevail'd, that I Have also tasted, and have also found Th' effets to correspond; op'ner mine eyes, 875 Dim erst, dilated fpirits, ampler heart, And growing up to godhead; which for thee Chiefly I fought, without thee can despise. For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss; Tedious unshar'd with thee, and odious foon. 880 Thou therefore also tafte, that equal lot May join us, equal joy as equal love ; Lest thou not tafting, different degree Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce Dtity for thee, when fate will not permit.

Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told; But in her cheek distemper Alushing glow'd. On th' other side, Adam, soon as he heard The fatal trespass done by Eve, amaz'd, Aftonied stood, and blank, while horror chill 890 Ran through his veins, and all his joints relax'd ; From his fack 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.

895 O fairelt of creation, lalt and belt Of all God's works, creature in whom excell'd Whatever can to fight or thought be form’d, Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet !

How

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How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost, 900
Defac'd, deflower'd, and now to death devote?
Rather, how halt thou yielded to tranfgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidd's ? Some cursed fraud
Of enemy hath beguild thee, yet unknown;

905 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? 910
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 fad dismay
Recomforted, and, after thoughts disturb’d,
Submitting to what seem'd remediless,
Thụs in calm mood his words to Eve he turn'd. 920

Bold deed thou hast presum'd, advent'rous Eve,
And peril great provok’d, who thus hast dar'd,
Had it been only coveting to eye
That sacred fruit, facred to abstinence,
Much more to taste it, under ban to touch.

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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 ferpent, by him first

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Made common and unhallow'd ere our taste:
Nor yet on him found deadly; he yet lives,
Lives, as thou faidít, and gains to live, as man,
Higher degree of life; inducement Rrong.
O

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