« FöregåendeFortsätt »
“Upon Egypt's land, of so healing a power,
“So balmy a virtue, that ev’n in the hour
“That drop descends, contagion dies,
“And health reanimates earth and skies!—
“Oh, is it not thus, thou man of sin,
“The precious tears of repentence fall?
“Though foul thy very plagues within,
“One heavenly drop hath dispelled them all.”
And now—behold him kneeling there,
By the child’s side, in humble prayer,
While the same sun-beam shines upon
The guilty and the guiltless one,
And hymns of joy proclaim through Heaven
The triumph of a Soul Forgiven! -
For man to tell how human life began Is hard; for who himself beginning knew? Desire with thee still longer to converse Induces me. As new waked from soundest sleep Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. Straight toward heaven my wandering eyes I turn'd, And gazed awhile the ample sky; till, raised By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, As thitherward endeavoring, and upright Stood on my feet: about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plairs,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
Creatures that lived and moved, and walk’d or flew.
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled,
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow’d.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigor led:
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. “Thou sun,” said I “fair light,
And thou enlighten’d earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills, and dales, ye rivers, woods and plains
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?”
DESCRIPTION OF EVE'S FIRST FINDING HERSELF ON EARTH.
That day I oft remember when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed,
Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence a murmuring sound
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain, then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of heaven; I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear
Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appear'd,
Bending to look on me: I started back,
It started back: but pleased I soon return’d,
Pleased it return’d as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love: there I had fix’d
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me: what thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;
With thee it came and goes; but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces, he
Whose image thou art; him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine, to him shalt bear
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be call’d
Mother of human race. What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed, and tall,
Under a plantain, yet methought less fair,
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image: back I turned;
Thou following, cry’dst aloud, return, fair Eve;
Whom fly'st thou? whom thou fly'st, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear;
Part of my soul, I seek thee, and thee claim,
My other half. With that thy gentle hand
Seized mine: I yielded; and from that time see
How beauty is excelled by manly grace,
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.
Now morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime Advancing, sow'd the earth with orient pearl, When Adam waked, so custom’d: for his sleep Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred, And temperate vapors bland, which the only sound Of leaves and fuming rills Aurora’s fan, Lightly dispersed, and the shrill matin song Of Birds on every bough; so much the more His wonder was to find unwaken’d Eve With tresses discomposed, and glowing cheek As through unquiet rest: he, on his side Leaning, half raised, with looks of cordial love Hung over her enamour’d, and beheld Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep, Shot forth peculiar graces; then with voice . Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes, Her hand soft touching, whisper'd thus: “Awake My fairest, my espoused, my latest found, Heaven's last, best gift, my ever new delight! Awake : the morning shines, and the fresh field Calls us; we lose the prime to mark how spring Our tended plants, how blows the citron grove What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, How Nature paints her colors, how the bee Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweets.” Such whispering waked her, but with startled eye On Adam, whom embracing, thus she spake. “O sole in whom my thoughts find all repose, My glory, my perfection glad I see Thy face and morn return’d; for I this night, Such night till this I never pass'd, have dream’d, If dream’d, not, as I oft am wont, of thee, Works of day past, or morrow’s next design;
But of offence and trouble, which my mind
Knew never till this irksome night. Methought
Close at mine ear one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice; I thought it thine: it said,
Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the silent, save where silence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes sweetest his love-labor"d song; now reigns
Full-orb’d the moon, and with more pleasing light
Shadowy sets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard; heaven wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, Nature's desire?
In whose sight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty still to gaze.
I rose as at thy call, but found thee not;
To find thee I directed then my walk;
And on, methought, alone I pass'd through ways
That brought me on a sudden to the tree
Of interdicted knowledge; fair it seem’d,
Much fairer to my fancy than by day:
And, as I wondering look'd, beside it stood
One shaped and wing’d like one of those from heaven
By us oft seen: his dewy locks distill’d
Ambrosia: on that tree he also gazed;
And, O, fair plant, said he, with fruit surcharg’d,
Deigns none to ease thy load, and taste thy sweet,
Nor God, nor man? Is knowledge so despised?
Or envy, or what reserve forbids to taste?
Forbid who will, none shall from me withhold
Longer thy offer'd good; why else set here?
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm
He pluck'd, he tasted; me damp horror chill'd
At such bold words, vouch'd with a deed so bold:
But he thus, overjoyed; O fruit divine,
Sweet of thyself, but much more sweet thus cropt,
Forbidden here, it seems, as only fit
For gods, yet able to make gods of men;
And why not gods of men; since good, the more
Communicated, more abundant grows,
The author not impair’d, but honor'd more?
Here, happy creature, fair angelic Eve!
Partake thou also: happy though thou art,
Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be:
Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods
Thyself a goddess, not to earth confined,
But sometimes in the air, as we, sometimes
Ascend to heaven, by merit thine, and see
What life the gods live there, and such live thou.
So saying, he drew nigh, and to me held,
Even to my mouth of that same fruit held part
Which he had pluck'd; the pleasant savory smell
So quicken'd appetite, that I, methought, Could not but taste. Forthwith up to the clouds With him I flew, and underneath beheld The earth outstretch'd immense, a prospect wide And various; wondering at my flight and change To this high exaltation; suddenly My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down, And fell asleep; but, O, how glad I waked To find this but a dream.” Thus Eve her night . Related, and thus Adam answer'd sad: * Best image of myself, and dearer half, The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep Affects me equally; nor can I like This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear, Yet evil whence? in thee can harbor none, Created pure. But know, that in the soul Are many lesser faculties, that serve Reason as chief; among these, Fancy next Her office holds; of all external things, Which the five watchful senses represent, She forms imaginations, aery shapes, Which reason, joining or disjoining, frames All what we affirm or what deny, and call Our knowledge or opinion; then retires Into her private cell. When nature rests. Oft in her absence mimic Fancy wakes To imitate her; but misjoining shapes, Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams; Ill matching words and deeds long past or late. Some such resemblances, methinks I find Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream, But with addition strange; yet be not sad. Evil into the mind of God or man May come and go, so unapproved, and leave No spot or blame behind; which gives me hope That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream, Waking thou never wilt consent to do. Be not dishearten’d then, nor cloud those looks, That wont to be more cheerful and serene, Than when fair morning first smiles on the world; And let us to our fresh employments rise , Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers, That open now their choicest bosom’d smells, Reserv’d from night, and kept for thee in store. So cheer'd he his fair spouse, and she was cheer'd; But silently a gentle tear let fall From either eye, and wiped them with her hair; Two other precious drops that ready stood Each in their crystal sluice, he, ere they fell, Kiss'd, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.