THE FIRST LOVE OF ADAM AND EVE
from Paradise Lost
by: John Milton (1608-1674)
- HUS talking, hand in hand alone
- On to their blissful bower. It was a place
- Chosen by the sov'reign Planter, when he framed
- All things to Man's delightful use; the roof
- Of thickest covert was inwoven shade,
- Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
- Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
- Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,
- Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
- Iris all hues, roses, and jessamine,
- Rear'd high their flourished heads between, and wrought
- Mosaic; under foot the violet,
- Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay
- Broidered the ground, more coloured than the stone
- Of costliest emblem: Other creature here,
- Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
- Such was their awe of Man. In shadier bower
- More sacred and sequestered, though but feigned
- Pan or Sylvanus never slept, nor nymph,
- Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
- With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
- Espousèd Eve decked first her nuptial bed
- And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
- What day the genial Angel to our sire
- Brought her, in naked beauty more adorned,
- More lovely than Pandora, whom the Gods
- Endowed with all their gifts, and, O! too like
- In sad event, when to the unwiser son
- Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
- Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
- On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.
- Thus at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
- Both turned, and under open sky adored
- The God that made both sky, air, earth and heaven
- Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
- And starry pole: "Thou also madest the night,
- Maker Omnipotent; and thou the day,
- Which we in our appointed work employed,
- Have finished, happy in our mutual help
- And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
- Ordained by thee; and this delicious place,
- For us too large, where thy abundance wants
- Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
- But thou hast promised from us two a race
- To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
- They goodness infinite, both when we wake
- And when we seek, as now, the gift of sleep."
- This said unanimous, and other rites
- Observing none, but adoration pure
- Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
- Handed they went; and eased the putting off
- Those troublesome disguises which we wear,
- Straight side by side were laid; nor turned, I ween,
- Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
- Mysterious of connubial love refused:
- Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
- Of purity, and place, and innocence,
- Defaming as impure what God declares
- Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
- Our Maker bids increase; who bids abstain
- But our destroyer, foe to God and Man?
- Hail, wedded Love, mysterious law, true source
- Of human offspring, sole propriety
- In Paradise, of all things common else!
- By thee adult'rous love was driven from men
- Among the bestial herds to range; by thee,
- Founded in reason, loyal, just and pure,
- Relations dear, and all the charities
- Of father, son, and brother, first were known.
- Far be it that I should write thee sin or blame,
- Or think the unbefitting holiest place
- Perpetual fountain of domestic sweets,
- Whose bed is undefiled and chaste pronounced,
- Present or past, as saints and patriarchs used!
- Here love his golden shafts employs, here lights
- His constant lamp, and waves his purple wings,
- Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile
- Of harlots, loveless, joyless, unendeared,
- Casual fruition: nor in court amours
- Mixed dance, or wanton mask, or midnight ball,
- Or serenade, which the starved lover sings
- To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain.
- These lulled by nightingales embracing slept,
- And on their naked limbs the flow'ry roof
- Showered roses, which the morn repaired. Sleep on,
- Blest pair! and, O! yet happiest if ye seek
- No happier state, and know to know no more!
POEMS BY JOHN MILTON
"The First Love of Adam and
Eve" is reprinted from Paradise Lost. John Milton.
London: S. Simmons, 1671.