Two of far nobler Shape erect and tall,
God-like erect! with native honour clad
In naked Majesty, seem’d lords of all;
And worthy seem’d: for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shon,
Truth, Wisdom, Sanctitude severe and pure;
Severe, but in true filial freedom plac’d:
For contemplation he and valour form’d,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
His fair large front, and eye sublime, declar’d
Absolute rule; and Hyacinthin Locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustring, but not beneath his Shoulders broad.
She, as a Veil, down to her slender waste
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dis-shevel’d, but in wanton ringlets wav’d.
So pass’d they naked on, nor shun’d the Sight
Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair
That ever since in loves embraces met.
There is a fine Spirit of Poetry in the Lines which follow, wherein they are described as sitting on a Bed of Flowers by the side of a Fountain, amidst a mixed Assembly of Animals.
The Speeches of these two first Lovers flow equally from Passion and Sincerity. The Professions they make to one another are full of Warmth: but at the same time founded on Truth. In a Word, they are the Gallantries of Paradise:
—When Adam first of Men—
Sole partner and sole part of all these joys,
Dearer thy self than all;—
But let us ever praise him, and extol
His bounty, following our delightful Task,
To prune these growing plants, and tend these flowrs;
Which were it toilsome, yet with thee were sweet.
To whom thus Eve reply’d. O
thou for whom,
And from whom I was form’d, flesh of thy flesh,
And without whom am to no end, my Guide
And Head, what thou hast said is just and right.
For we to him indeed all praises owe.
And daily thanks; I chiefly, who enjoy
So far the happier Lot, enjoying thee
Preeminent by so much odds, while thou
Like consort to thy self canst no where find, &c.
The remaining part of Eves Speech, in which she gives an Account of her self upon her first Creation, and the manner in which she was brought to Adam, is I think as beautiful a Passage as any in Milton, or perhaps in any other Poet whatsoever. These Passages are all worked off with so much Art, that they are capable of pleasing the most delicate Reader, without offending the most severe.
That Day I oft remember, when from Sleep, &c.