from Paradise Lost

by: John Milton (1608-1674)

      HUS talking, hand in hand alone they passed
      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!

"The First Love of Adam and Eve" is reprinted from Paradise Lost. John Milton. London: S. Simmons, 1671.




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