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The hands dispatch of two gard'ning so wide.
And Eve first to her husband thus began.
Adam, well may we labor still to dress 205
This garden, ftill to tend plant, herb, and flower,
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 present;
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 clasping ivy where to climb, while I
In yonder spring of roses intermix'd
With myrtle, find what to redress till noon :
For while so near each other thus all day
Our talk we choose, what wonder if so near
Looks intervene and smiles, or object new
Casual discourse draw on, which intermits
Our day's work brought to little, though begun
Early, and th' hour of supper comes unearn'd. 225
To whom mild answer Adam thus return'd,
Sole Eve, asociate sole, to me beyond
Compare above all living creatures dear,
Well halt thou motion'd, well thy thoughts employ'd
How we might belt fulfil the work which here 230
God hath afsign'd us, nor of me Malt pass
Unprais’d: for nothing lovelier can be found
In woman, than to study houshold good,
And good works in her husband to promote.
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord impos’d
Labor, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles, for smiles from reason flow,
To brute deny’d, and are of love the food, 240
Love not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason join’d.
These paths and bow’rs doubt not but our joint hands
Will keep from wilderness with ease, as wide 245
As we need walk, till younger hands ere long
Affist us : but if much converse perhaps
Thee fatiate, to short absence I could yield:
For folitude sometimes is best fociety,
And Mort retirement urges sweet return.
But other doubt possesses me, left harm
Befall thee sever'd from me ; for thou know it
What hath been warn'd us, what malicious foe
Envying our happiness, and of his own
Despairing, seeks to work us woe and Mame
25$ By lly assault; and somewhere nigh at hand Watches, no doubt, with greedy hope to find His wish and best advantage, us asunder, Hopeless to circumvent us join’d, where each To other speedy aid might lend at need;
260 Whether his first design be to withdraw Our feälty from God, or to disturb
Conjugal love, than which perhaps no bliss
Enjoy'd by us excites his envy more;
Or this, or worse, leave not the faithful fide 265
gave thee be’ing, still shades thee and protects.
The wife, where danger or dishonor lurks,
Safest and seemliest by her husband stays,
Who guards her, or with her the worst indures.
To whom the virgin majesty of Eve,
As one who loves, and some unkindness meets,
With sweet austere composure thus reply'd.
Offspring of Heav'n and Earth, and all Earth's Lord,
That such an enemy we have, who seeks
Qur ruin, both by thee inform'd I learn,
And from the parting Angel over-heard,
As in a shady nook I stood behind,
Just then returnd at shut of evening flowers.
But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear.
His violence thou fear'st not, being such
As we, not capable of death or pain,
Can either not receive, or can repel.
His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers
Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love
Can by his fraud be shaken or seduc'd ;
Thoughts, which how found they harbour in thy breast,
Adam, mis-thought of her to thee so dear?
To whom with healing words Adam reply'd. 290
Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve,
For such thou art, from sin and blame entire :
Not diffident of thee do I dissuade
Thy absence from my sight, but to avoid
Th' attempt itself, intended by our foe.
For he who tempts, though' in vain, at least asperses
The tempted with dishonor foul, suppos’d
Not incorruptible of faith, not proof
Against temptation : thou thyself with scorn
wouldit resent the offer'd wrong,
Though ineffectual found : misdeem not then,
If such affront I labor to avert
From thee alone, which on us both at once
The enemy, though bold, will hardly dare,
Or daring, first on me th' assault shall light. 305
Nor thou his malice and false guile contemn;
Subtle he needs must be, who could seduce
Angels; nor think superfluous others aid.
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue, in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame, thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or over-reach'd
Would utmost vigor raise, and rais d unite.
Why shouldīt not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue try'd ?
So fpake domestic Adam in his care
And matrimonial love; but Eve, who thought
Less attributed to her faith fincere,
Thus her reply with accent sweet renewid.
If this be our condition, thus to dwell
In narrow circuit straiten’d by a foe,
Subtle or violent, we not indued
Single with like defense, wherever met,
How are we happy, still in fear of harm?
But harm precedes not sin : only our foe
Tempting affronts us with his foul esteem
Of our integrity: his foul esteem
Sticks no dishonor on our front, but turns
330 Foul on himself; then wherefore fhunn'd or fear'd By us? who rather double honor gain From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within, Favor from Heav'n, our witness from th' event, And what is faith, love, virtue unassay'd
335 Alone, without exterior help sustain'd ? Let us not then suspect our happy state Left so imperfect by the Maker wise, As not secure to single or combin'd. Frail is our happiness, if this be so,
340 And Eden were no Eden thus expos’d.
To whom thus Adam fervently reply'd. O Woman, best are all things as the will Of God ordain'd them ; his creating hand Nothing imperfect or deficient left
345 Of all that he created, much less Man, Or ought that might his happy state secure, Secure from outward force; within himself The danger lies, yet lies within his
power : Against his will he can receive no harm.
350 But God left free the will, for what obeys Reason, is free, and reason he made right,