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With regal ornament; the middle pair 280
Girt like a starry zone his waist, and round
Skirted his loins and thighs with downy gold
And colors dipt in Heav'n; the third his feet
Shadow'd from either heel with feather'd mail,
Sky-tinctur'd grain. Like Maia's son he stood, 285
And shook his plumes, that heav'nly fragrance fill'd
The circuit wide. Strait knew him all the bands
Of angels under watch ; and to his state,
And to his message high in honor rise ; 289
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 flow'ring odors, cassia, nard, and balm ;
A wilderness of sweets; for Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and play'd at will 295
Her 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 301
Earth's inmost womb, more warmth than Adam
And Eve within, due at her hour preparid (needs :
For dinner savory fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst 305
Of necta'rous draughts between, from milky stream,
Berry or grape: to whom thus Adam calid.

Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold Eastward among those trees, what glorious shape

Comes this way moving; seems another morn 310
Ris'n on mid-noon; some great behest from Heav'n
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 honor and receive

Our heav'nly stranger: well we may afford
Our givers their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestow'd, when Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburd'ning grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare. 320
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: 325 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 heav'n. 330

So saying, with dispatchful looks in haste She turns, on hospitable thoughts intent What choice to chuse for delicacy best, What order, so contriv'd as not to mix Tastes, not well join'd, inelegant, but bring 335 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 340
Alcinous reign'd, fruit of all kinds, in coat
Rough or smooth rin'd, 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 meaths 345
From many a berry', and from sweet kernels press'd
She tempers dulcet creams, nor these to hold
Wants her fit vessels pure, then strows the ground
With rose and odors from the shrub unfurn'd.

Mean while our primitive great Sire, to meet 350
His god-like 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 355
Of horses led, and grooms besmeard with gold,
Dazzles the crowd, and sets them all a-gape.
Nearer his presence Adam though not awd,
Yet with submiss approach and reverence meek,
As to' a superior nature, bowing low, 360
Thus said. Native of Heav'n! for other place
None can than Heav'n such glorious shape contain;
Since by descending from the thrones above,
Those happy places thou hast deign'd a while
To want, and honor these, vouchsafe with us 365
Two' only, who yet by sovran gift possess
This spacious ground, in yonder shady bower
To rest, and what the garden choicest bears


VOL. 1.


To sit and taste, till this meridian heat
Be over, and the sun more cool decline. 370

Whom thus th' 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 spi'rits of Heav'n
To visit thee; lead on then where thy bower 375
O’ershades ; for these mid-hours, till evening rise,
I have at will. So to the sylvan lodge
They came, that like Pomona's arbor smild
With flow'rets deck'd and fragrant smells; but Eve
Undeck'd save with herself, more lovely fair 380
Than wood-nymph, or the fairest goddess feign'd
Of three that in Mount Ida naked strove,
Stood to entertain her

guest from Heav'n; no veil She needed, Virtue-proof; no thought infirm Alter'd her cheek. On whom the angel Hail 385 Bestow'd, the holy salutation us'd Long after to blest Mary, second Eve.

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 390 Have heap'd this table. Rais'd of

turf Their table was, and mossy seats had round, And on her ample square from side to side All Autumn pild, though Spring and Autumn here Danc'd hand in hand. A while discourse they hold; No fear lest dinner cool; when thus began 396 Our Author. Heav'nly stranger, please to taste Threse bounties, which our Nourisher, from whom



All perfect good, unmeasur'd out, descends,
To us for food and for delight hath caus’d
The earth to yield; unsavory 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 405
Spiritual, may of purest spi'rits be found
No' ingrateful food : and food alike those pure
Intelligential substances require,
As doth your rational; and both contain
Within them every lower faculty

410 Of sense, whereby they hear, see, smell, touch, Tasting concoct, digest, assimilate, (taste, And corporeal to incorporeal cura. For know, whatever was created, needs To be sustain's and fed; of clements

415 The grosser feeds the

purer, 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. 420 Nor doth the moon no nourishment exhale From her moist continent to higher orbs. The sun, that light imparts to all, receives From all bis alimental recompense In humid exhalations, and at even

425 Sups with the ocean. Though in Heaven the trees of life ambrosial fruitage bear, and vines Yield nectar; though from off the boughs cach morn

earth the sea,

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