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580

The trodden herb, of abject thoughts and low,
As was my food; nor ought but food discern'd
Ör sex, and apprehended nothing high:
Till on a day roving the field, I chanc'd 575
A goodly tree far diftant to behold
Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mix'd,
Ruddy and gold: I nearer drew to gaze;
When from the boughs a favory odor blown,
Grateful to appetite, more pleas’d my sense
Than smell of sweetest fenel, or the teats
Of ewe or goat dropping with milk at even,
Unsuck'd of lamb or kid, that tend their play.
To satisfy the sharp desire I had
Of tasting those fair apples, I resolv'd 585
Not to defer; hunger and thirst at once,
Pow'rful persuaders, quicken'd at the sent

Of - fed omnes illacrymabiles Sect. 56. They were likewise fupUrgentur ;

posed to suck the tears of ewes and and in its active signification, Od. II. goats. XIV. 6.

585. those fair apples,] There places illacrymabilem

is no knowing for certain what the

forbidden fruit was. The common Plutona tauris.

notion is that it was a sort of apple,

and that is sufficient to justify a poet. 581.- sweetefi fenel, or the teats) So Otway, He mentions such things as were reputed most agreeable to serpents. and for an apple damn'd manFeniculum anguibus gratissimum,

kind. says Pliny, Nat. Hist. L, 19. c. 9.

601, - Joape

Of that alluring fruit, urg'd me so keen.
About the mofly trunk I wound me soon,
For high from ground the branches would require 590
Thy utmost reach or Adam's: Round the tree
All other beasts that saw, with like defire
Longing and envying stood, but could not reach.
Amid the tree now got, where plenty hung
Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my

fill

595 I spar’d not, for such pleasure till that hour At feed or fountain never had I found. Sated at length, ere long I might perceive Strange alteration in me, to degree Of reason in my inward pow'rs, and speech 600 Wanted not long, though to this shape retain’d. Thenceforth to speculations high or deep

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601. - shape retain'd.) Bentley 605. all things fair and good; would have it restrain'd. But the But all that fair and good in thy word of exactest propriety is retain'd. divine For retain'd signifies the being kept

Semblance, and in thy beauty's within such and such bounds in a

beav'nlı ray natural state; reftraind to be kept United I bebeld;] This is very like within them in an unnatural; but what Adam had said before to the the serpent's being confin'd to his Angel, VIII. 471. own shape, was being in his natural

so lovely fair, ftate. Warburton

That what seem'd fair in all the 605. or Middle,] In the air, world, seem'd now the element placed between, and as Mean, or in her summ'd up, in het our author fays spun out between,

contain'd Heaven and Earth VII. 241. Hume. And in her looks.

And

I turn'd my thoughts, and with capacious mind
Consider'd all things visible in Heaven,
Or Earth, or Middle, all things fair and good; 605
But all that fair and good in thy divine
Semblance, and in thy beauty's heav'nly ray
United I beheld; no fair to thine
Equivalent or second, which compellid
Me thus, though importune perhaps, to come 610
And

gaze, and worship thee of right declar'd Sovran of creatures, universal Dame.

So talk'd the spirited fly Snake; and Eve Yet more amaz’d unwary thus reply'd. Serpent, thy overpraising leaves in doubt The virtue of that fruit, in thee first prov'd : But say, where grows the tree, from hence how far?

For

615

And it is really wonderful, that the signified mistress or lady, and was poet could express things so much probably derived from the French alike so differently, and yet both so dame and the Latin domina Uni well. The numbers too, as well as versal Dame, Domina universi. the sentiments, are equally admirable in both places.

613. A. So talk'd &c] Milton

has shown more art and ability in 609. Equivalent or second,] Nec viget quicquam fimile aut fecundum. taking off the common objections to

. the Mosaic history of the temptaHor. Od. I. XII. 18.

tion by the addition of some circum612. – universal Dame.) The stances of his own invention, than word Dame conveys a low idea at in any other theologic part of his present: but formerly it was an ap- poem.

Warburton. pellation of respect and honor, and VOL. II.

M

618. trees

For many are the trees of God that

grow In Paradise, and various, yet unknown To us, in such abundance lies our choice, 620 As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, Still hanging incorruptible, till men Grow up to their provision, and more hands Help to disburden Nature of her birth.

To whom the wily Adder, blithe and glad. 625 Empress, the way is ready, and not long, Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat, Fast by a fountain, one finall thicket past Of blowing myrrh and balm ; if thou accept My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon. 630 Lead then, said Eve. He leading swiftly rollid

In

634.

618. trees of God] A Scrip. Hor rientra in se stesso, hor le no. ture phrase, as in Pfal. CIV. 16.

dose

Rote distende, e se dopo se tira. 624. birth.] In Milton's own editions this word is spelt bearth in

Thyer. this place, but as in all other places

as when a wand'ring he spells it birth, we see no reason for an alteration here, and posibly mentioning any particular fimilitudes

fire, &c.] I have avoided this may be nothing but an error of

in my remarks on this great work, the press.

because I have given a general ac631. - He leading fwiftly rolld count of them in my notes on the

In tangles,] This is Virgil's rapitfirft book. There is one however, orbes per bumum: but I think Taslo in this part of the poem, which I much exceeds them both in describing hall here quote, as it is not only the rolling of a serpent. Cant. 15. very beautiful, but the closest of any

in the whole poem; I mean that

where

St. 48.

635

In tangles, and made intricate seem strait,
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy
Brightens his crest; as when a wand'ring fire,
Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night
Condenses, and the cold environs round,
Kindled through agitation to a flame,
Which oft, they say, some evil Spi'rit attends,
Hovering and blazing with delusive light,
Misleads th’amaz'd night-wand'rer from his way 640
To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool,
There swallow'd

up and lost, from succour far.
So glifter'd the dire Snake, and into fraud
Led Eve our credulous mother, to the tree
Of prohibition, root of all our woe;

Which

645

where the serpent is describ'd as lines. Philosophy and poetry are rolling forward in all his pride, ani- here mix'd together. mated by the evil Spirit, and conducting Éve to her deftruction, while fignifies hurt and damage, as well

643. and into fraud] Fraud Adam was at too great a distance

as deceit and delusion. Virg. Æn. from her to give her his assistance.

X. These several particulars are all of

72. them wrought into the following Quis Deus in fraudem, quæ durafimilitude.

potentia nostra Hope elevates, and joy

Egit? Brightens his crest; as when a wan- And Milton often uses English words

d'ring fire, &c. Addison. in the Latin fignification. And there is not perhaps any more 644.

the tree philosophic account of the ignis fa of probibition) An Hebraism for fans, than what is containd in these the prohibited or forbidden tree.

648. Fruit.

M 2

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