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With narrow fearch, and with inspection deep
Confider'd every creature, which of all

Moft opportune might serve his wiles, and found 85
The Serpent fubtlest beast of all the field.

Him after long debate, irrefolute

Of thoughts revolv'd, his final fentence chofe
Fit veffel, fitteft imp of fraud, in whom
To enter, and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpeft fight: for in the wily fnake,
Whatever fleights none would suspicious mark,
As from his wit and native subtlety
Proceeding, which in other beasts obferv'd
Doubt might beget of diabolic power
Active within beyond the sense of brute.
Thus he resolv'd, but first from inward grief
His bursting paffion into plaints thus pour'd.

O Earth, how like to Heav'n, if not preferr'd
More justly, feat worthier of Gods, as built
With fecond thoughts, reforming what was old!
For what God after better worse would build?
Terreftrial Heav'n, danc'd round by other Heavens
That shine, yet bear their bright officious lamps,
Light above light, for thee alone, as feems,
In thee concentring all their precious beams
Of facred influence! As God in Heaven
Is center, yet extends to all, fo thou

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Centring receiv'ft from all those orbs; in thee,
Not in themselves, all their known virtue' appears 110
Productive in herb, plant, and nobler birth

Of creatures animate with gradual life

Of

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Of growth, sense, reason, all fumm'd up in Man.
With what delight could I have walk'd thee round,
If I could joy in ought, fweet interchange
Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods, and plains,
Now land, now fea, and fhores with foreft crown'd,
Rocks, dens, and caves! but I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I fee
Pleasures about me, fo much more I feel
Torment within me', as from the hateful fiege
Of contraries; all good to me becomes

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Bane, and in Heav'n much worfe would be my state. But neither here feek I, no nor in Heaven

To dwell, unless by maft'ring Heav'n's Supreme; 125
Nor hope to be myself less miferable

By what I feek, but others to make fuch
As I, though thereby worse to me redound:
For only in destroying I find ease

To my relentless thoughts; and him destroy'd,
Or won to what may work his utter lofs,
For whom all this was made, all this will foon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe;
In woe then; that deftruction wide may range:
To me fhall be the glory fole among

Th' infernal Pow'rs, in one day to have marr'd
What he Almighty ftil'd, fix nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than fince I in one night freed
From fervitude inglorious well nigh half
Th' angelic name, and thinner left the throng

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Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,

And to repair his numbers thus impair'd,
Whether fuch virtue fpent of old now fail'd
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to fpite us more,
Determin'd to advance into our room

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A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from fo bafe original,

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With heav'nly fpoils, our fpoils: What he decreed

He' effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his feat,
Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his fervice Angel wings,
And flaming minifters to watch and tend
Their earthly charge: Of thefe the vigilance
I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mift
Of midnight vapor glide obfcure, and pry

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In every bush and brake, where hap may find

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The ferpent fleeping, in whofe mazy folds

To hide me, and the dark intent I bring.

O foul defcent! that I who erft contended

With Gods to fit the high'eft, am now constrain'd

Into a beaft, and mix'd with beftial flime,

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To bafeft things. Revenge, at firft though fweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils;

Let

Let it; I reck not, fo it light well aim'd,
Since higher I fall fhort, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favorite
Of Heav'n, this man of clay, fon of defpite,
Whom us the more to fpite his Maker rais'd
From duft: fpite then with fpite is best repaid.
So faying, through each thicket dank or dry,
Like a black mist low creeping, he held on
His midnight fearch, where fooneft he might find
The ferpent him faft fleeping foon he found

:

In labyrinth of many a round felf-roll'd,

His head the midft, well ftor'd with fubtle wiles :
Not yet in horrid fhade or difmal den,

Nor nocent yet, but on the graffy herb
Fearless unfear'd he flept: in at his mouth
The Devil enter'd, and his brutal fenfe,
In heart or head, poffeffing foon infpir'd
With act intelligential; but his fleep

Disturb'd not, waiting clofe th' approach of morn.
Now when as facred light began to dawn

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In Eden on the humid flow'rs, that breath'd
Their morning incenfe, when all things that breathe,
From th' earth's great altar fend up filent praise
To the Creator, and his noftrils fill

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With grateful finell, forth came the human pair,
And join'd their vocal worship to the quire
Of creatures wanting voice; that done, partake
The feafon, prime for fweeteft fcents and airs:
Then commune how that day they beft may ply
Their growing work: for much their work outgrew

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The

.

The hands dispatch of two gard'ning so wide.
And Eve first to her husband thus began.

Adam, well may we labor ftill to drefs

This garden, ftill to tend plant, herb, and flower,

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Our pleasant task injoin'd, but till more hands
Aid us, the work under our labor grows,
Luxurious by restraint; what we by day
Lop overgrown, or prune, or prop, or bind,
One night or two with wanton growth derides
Tending to wild. Thou therefore now advise,
Or bear what to my mind first thoughts prefent;
Let us divide our labors, thou where choice
Leads thee, or where most needs, whether to wind 215
The woodbine round this arbor, or direct
The clafping ivy where to climb, while I
In yonder fpring of rofes intermix'd
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon :
For while fo near each other thus all day
Our task we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and fmiles, or object new
Cafual difcourfe draw on, which intermits

Our day's work brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of fupper comes unearn'd.

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To whom mild anfwer Adam thus return'd. Sole Eve, affociate fole, to me beyond

Compare above all living creatures dear,

Well haft thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd
How we might best fulfil the work which here

God hath affign'd us, nor of me fhalt pafs
Unprais'd: for nothing lovelier can be found

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