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BOOK THE NINTH.
latan having compassed the Earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by
night into Paradise, enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart : Adam consents not, alledging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they are forewarned, should attempt her found alone: Eve, loath to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength ; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such under. standing not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of know. ledge forbidden : The Serpent now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not, at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves through vehemence of love to perish with her ; and extenuating the trespass eats also of the fruit : The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
more of talk where God or Angel guest
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
Not that which justly gives heroic name
40 To person or to poem. Me of these Nor skill'd nor studious, higher argument Remains, sufficient of itself to raise That name, unless an age too late, or cold Climate, or years damp my intended wing
45 Depress’d, and much they may, if all be mine, Not her's who brings it nightly to my ear.
The sun was sunk, and after him the star
бо His entrance, and forewarn'd the Cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The
space of sev’n continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line He circled, four times cross'd the car of night 65 From pole to pole, travérsing each colúre; On th' eighth return'd, and on the coast averse From entrance or Cherubic watch, by stealth Found unsuspected way. There was a place,
Now not, though sin, not time, first wrought the change,
70 Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise Into a gulf shot under ground, till part Rose up a fountain by the tree of life; In with the river sunk, and with it rose Satan involv'd in rising mist, then sought
75 Where to lie hid ; sea he had search'd and land From Eden over Pontus, and the pool Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob; Downward as far antarctic; and in length West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd At Darien, thence to the land where flows Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd With narrow search, and with inspection deep Consider'd every creature, which of all Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 85 The serpent subtlest beast of all the field. Him after long debate, irresolute Of thoughts revolv'd, his final sentence chose Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud, in whom To enter, and his dark suggestions hide From sharpest sight: for in the wily snake, Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark, As from his wit and native subtlety Proceeding, which in other beasts observ'd Doubt might beget of diabolic power
95 Active within beyond the sense of brute. Thus he reşolv'd, but first from inward grief His bursting passion into plaints thus pour'd.
O EARTH, how like to Heay'n, if not preferr'd