« הקודםהמשך »
Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve!
For such thou art ; from sin and blame entire:
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
The attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses
The tempted with dishonour foul; suppos'd
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation : Thou thyself with scorn
And anger wouldst resent the offer'd wrong,
Though ineffectual found : misdeem not then,
If such affront I labour to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare;
Or daring, first on me the assault shall light.
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others aid.
I, from the influence of thy looks, receive
Access in every virtue ; in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength ; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach’d,
Would utmost vigour raise, and rais’d unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried ?
So spake domestick Adam in his care
And matrimonial love ; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith sincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renew’d.
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten’d by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not endued
Single with like defence, wherever met;
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin: only our foe,
Tempting, affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity; his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonour on our front, but turns
Foul on himself; then wherefore shann'd or fear'd
By us? who rather double honour gain
From his surmise prov'd false; find peace within,
Favour from Heaven, our witness, from the event.
And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd
Alone, without exteriour help sustain’d?
Let us not then suspect our happy state
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise,
As not secure to single or combin'd.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
And Eden were no Eden, thus expos’d.
To whom thus Adam fervently replied.
O Woman, best are all things as the will
Of God ordained them : His creating hand
Nothing imperfect or deficient left
Of all that he created, much less Man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure, Secure from outward force; within himself The danger lies, yet lies within his power : Against his will he can receive no harm. But God left free the will; for what obeys Reason, is free; and Reason he made right, But bid her well be ware, and still erect; Lest, by some fair-appearing good surpris’d, She dictate false; and mis-inform the will To do what God expressly hath forbid. Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins, That I should mind thee oft; and mind thou me. Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve; Since Reason not impossibly may meet Some specious object by the foe suborn'd, And fall into deception unaware, Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warn’d. Seek not temptation then, which to avoid Were better, and most likely if from me Thou sever not: Trial will come unsought. Would'st thou approve thy constancy, approve First thy obedience; the other who can know, Not seeing thee attempted, who attest? But, if thou think, trial unsought may find Us both securer than thus warn’d thou seem'st, Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; Go in tlıy native innocence, rely On what thou hast of virtue; summon all!
For God towards thee hath done his part, do thine,
So spake the patriarch of mankind; but Eve Persisted; yet submiss, though last, replied.
With thy permission 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 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, But with such gardening 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, or to Ceres in her prime, Yet virgin of Proserpina from Jove. Her long with ardent look his eye pursued 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
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
O much deceiv'd, 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 rancour imminent
To intercept thy way, or send thee back
Despoil'd 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 tendance, or plantation for 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,
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies,
Veild in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
Half spied, 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