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"Raphael," said he, "thou hear'st what stir on earth,
Satan, from hell 'scap'd through the darksome gulf,
Hath rais'd in Paradise, and how disturb'd
This night the human pair; how he designs
In them at once to ruin all mankind.

Go therefore, half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, in what bower or shade
Thou find'st him, from the heat of noon retir'd,
To respite his day labour with repast,

Or with repose; and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happy state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will; his will, though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware,
He swerve not, too secure. Tell him, withal,
His danger, and from whom; what enemy,
Late fallen himself from heaven, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence? no, for that shall be withstood:
But by deceit and lies. This let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonish'd, unforewarn'd."

So spake th' eternal Father, and fulfill'd
All justice: nor delay'd the winged saint
After his charge receiv'd; but from among
Thousand celestial ardours, where he stood
Veil'd with his gorgeous wings, up-springing light,
Flew thro' the midst of heaven; the angelic choirs
On each hand parting, to his speed gave way
Through all the empyreal road; till at the gate
Of heaven arriv'd, the gate self-open'd wide,
On golden hinges turning, as by work
Divine the sov'reign Architect had fram'd.
From hence no cloud, or, to obstruct his sight,
Star interpos'd, however small he sees,

Not unconform to other shining globes,

Earth, and the garden of God, with cedars crown'd Above all bills. As when by night the glass

Of Galileo, less assur'd, observes

Imagin'd lands and regions in the moon ;

Or pilot, from amidst the Cyclades,

Delos or Samos first appearing, kens

A cloudy spot. Down thither prone in flight
He speeds, and through the vast ethereal sky
Sails between worlds and worlds; with steady wing,
Now on the polar winds, then with, quick fan
Winnows the buxom air; till, within soar
Of tow'ring eagles, t' all the fowls he seems
A phoenix, gaz'd by all, as that sole bird,
When to inshrine his reliques in the sun's
Bright temple, to Egyptian Thebes he flies.
At once on th' eastern cliff of Paradise
He lights, and to his proper shape returns,
A seraph wing'd. Six wings he wore to shade
His lineaments divine; the pair that clad
Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast
With regal ornament; the middle pair

Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colours dipp'd in heaven; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood,
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance fill'a
The circuit wide. Straight knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch; and to his state,
And to his message high, in honour rise;
For on some message high they guess'd him bound.
Their glittering tents he pass'd, and now is come
Into the blissful field, through groves of myrrh,
And flowering odours, cassia, nard, and balm;
A wilderness of sweets! for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will
Here virgin fancies, pouring forth more sweet,
Wild above rule or art; enormous bliss.
Him, through the spicy forest onward come,
Adam discern'd, as in the door he sat

Of his cool bower, while now the mounted sun
Shot down direct his fervid rays to warm


Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam
And Eve within, due at her hour, prepar'd
For dinner savoury fruits, of taste to please
True appetite and not disrelish thirst

Of nect'rous draughts between, from milky stream, Berry or grape; to whom thus Adam call'd:

"Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight behold,
Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape,
Comes this way moving: seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon: some great behest from heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honour and receive

Our heavenly stranger: well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestow'd, where nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburd'ning grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.

To whom thus Eve: "Adam, earth's hallow'd mould,

Of God inspir'd! small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains

To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste, and from each bough and brake,
Each plant and juiciest gourd, will pluck such choice
To entertain our angel guest, as he

Beholding shall confess, that here on earth
God hath dispens'd his bounties as in heaven."
So saying with despatchful looks in haste
She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent
What choice to choose for delicacy best;
What order, so contriv'd as not to mix
Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring
Taste after taste, upheld with kindliest change:
Bestirs her then, and from each tender stalk
Whatever earth, all-bearing mother, yields
In India East or West, or middle shore
In Pontus, or the Punic coast, or where
Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough or smooth rind, or bearded husk, or shell,
She gathers, tribute large, and on the board
Heaps with unsparing hand; for drink the grape
She crushes, inoffensive must, and meathes

From many a berry'; and from sweet kernels press'd She tempers dulcet creams; nor these to hold Wants her fit vessels pure; then strews the ground With rose and odours from the shrub unfum'd.

Meanwhile our primitive great sire, to meet
His godlike guest, walks forth, without more train
Accompanied than with his own complete
Perfections: in himself was all his state,
More solemn than the tedious pomp that waits
On princes, when their rich retinue long
Of horses led, and grooms besmear'd with gold,
Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all agape.
Nearer his presence Adam, though not aw'd,
Yet with submiss approach, and reverence meek,
As to' a superior nature, bowing low

Thus said: "Native of heaven! for other place
None can than heaven such glorious shape contain:
Since, by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd awhile
To want, and honour these, vouchsafe with us
Two' only, who yet by sov'reign gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears
To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline."

Whom thus the angelic virtue answer'd mild: "Adam! I therefore came; nor art thou such Created, or such place hast here to dwell,

As may not oft invite, though spirits of heaven,
To visit thee. Lead on then where thy bower
O'ershades; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will." So to the sylvan lodge

They came, that like Pomona's arbour smil'd
With flowerets deck'd and fragrant smells; but Eve,
Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair
Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feign'd
Of three that in mount Ida naked strove,

Stood to' entertain her guest from heaven: no veil
She needed, virtue proof; no thought infirm
Alter'd her cheek. On whom the angel "Hail!"
Bestow'd, the holy salutation us'd

Long after to bless'd Mary, second Eve.

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Hail, mother of mankind! whose fruitful womb Shall fill the world more numerous with thy sons, Than with these various fruits the trees of God Have heap'd this table." Rais'd of grassy turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round; And on her ample square from side to side All autumn pil'd; though spring and autumn here Danc'd hand in hand. Awhile discourse they hold, No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began Our author: "Heavenly stranger! please to taste These bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends To us for food and for delight, hath caus'd Th' earth to yield; unsavoury food perhaps To spiritual natures: only this I know, That one celestial Father gives to all."

To whom the angel: "Therefore what he gives (Whose praise be ever sung!) to man in part Spiritual, may of purest spirits be found

No' ungrateful food: and food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,

As doth your rational; and both contain

Within them every lower faculty

Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, taste, Tasting, concoct, digest, assimilate,

And corporeal to incorporeal turn.

For know, whatever was created, needs
To be sustain'd and fed; of elements,
The grosser feeds the purer, earth the sea,

Earth and the sea feed air, the air those fires
Ethereal, and, as lowest, first the moon;

Whence in her visage round, those spots unpurg'd
Vapours not yet into her substance turn'd.
Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale
From her moist continent to higher orbs.
The sun, that light imparts to all, receives
From all his alimental recompence
In humid exhalations; and at even

Sups with the ocean. Though in heaven the trees
Of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines

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