Psyche is restored by Charis and Phylax. The bulk of Canto VI is given over to retelling the story of the Creation and Fall. Joseph Beaumont's description of the Cave of Sleep recalls the house of Morpheus in the first book of The Faerie Queene.
Herbert E. Cory: "From Heaven Christ sees his bride's fall and despatches Phylax and Charis to her aid. Phylax stops her chariot in its mad course. Angry Thelema, the postilllon, would drive on, but Phylax shatters the car and chides both Thelema and the more reluctant Psyche to repentance. Pride is shown in Hell and the other passions are glad to submit to Thelma's stern orders. Logos and Syneidesis are freed. Psyche is instructed by the story of Adam and Eve and by a long account of the life of Christ, freely interspersed with allegory, which covers nine cantos" "Spenser, the Fletchers, and Milton" UCPMP 2 (1912) 338.
Her heav'nly Friends by Soul-subduing art
Recover Psyche from her shameful Glory:
And sure to seal upon her softned heart
Religious Meekness, Phylax tells the story
How Heav'n and Earth came Heav'n and Earth to be;
And what vile Stain blurr'd her Nativity.
But what is Home to most unhappy Her,
Whose only Castle is surrender'd to
A Pack of Rebels, who resolved are
To use the licence of their Conquest so,
That She shall in her own Dominion
Retain no power but to be Undone?
She might have safelier call'd all Tempests in,
And to the loudest Winds flung ope her Gate;
Or giv'n her key to Bears and Tigers, than
To those more dangerous Beasts, whose fair-tongu'd hate
Works by this strange Prerogative, that they
By Honey Poison, by Embraces slay.
Give me a Foe (if needs I one must have)
Who owns his Malice, and does fairly draw
In open field, not blushing to be brave
In his bold shame: One who's content to show
The worst he means, and dares Professor be
Of Wickednesse's Ingenuity.
Flat Enemies are honest courteous Things,
Because they tell us what we have to fear:
But double-hearted Friends, whose Blandishings
Tickle our ears, and sting our bosoms, are
Those dangerous Sirens whose smug maiden face
Is ugly mortal Treason's burnish'd Glass.
These are the Pit, whose mouths with flowers spread
Sweetly invite our feet into a fall;
The golden Cups, whose lips are sugared
To their dissembled Poison ours to call:
The crafty Hooks, which in a dainty Bait
To catch the liquorish Palate lie in wait.
The flattering Pipes, whose sweetly-thrilling Tune
Inchants the silly Birds into the Net:
The fairly-treacherous Beds of fragrant June
With smiling Roses and with Lilies set:
Where, th' unsuspecting Gardner to surprize
By fatal sleight, perdue the Serpent lies.
The dangerous Dalilahs, whose weeping eye,
Whose sighs, whose kisses, whose embraces be
The truer Withs, and Ropes, and Web, whereby
They bind the stoutest Samsons on their knee;
Where, while they dream of Rest, they polled are
At once both of their Liberty and Hair.
The politicly-mild Hyaenas, who
Make Savageness in human accents speak,
Whilst with such sweet hypocrisy they woo
The heedless Swain compassion to take;
That to his Foe his door he openeth,
And in fond pity letteth in his death.
The fair-tongu'd Judases, whose lips can drop
The honey of a friendly Salutation,
And with soft kisses seal the bargain up;
Though in their hearts a spightful conjuration
Rankles, and swells, and labors how it may
In looks and words of Love their God betray.
And surely Psyche by this Treason had
Been cheated of her Life and Self, if He
Who in his Judas, tryal of it made;
Had lent no Pity to her Misery:
Had Jesu's tender Goodness not outrode
Her whose proud Coach now roll'd her from her God.
Had He not found a way to make her see
The blindness of her own bewitched eyes;
To weigh how real was her Vanity;
To read the truth of all Agenor's Lys;
To learn in time, that War and Desolation
Lay breeding on her false Pacification.
Charis and Phylax He a while withdrew,
That being left to her sole self she might
Of her own weakness take convincing view,
When bold Temptations challeng'd her to fight.
But now he sends them back to help her down
From that high Ruin where he saw her thrown.
Make haste, said He, my Love and her Distress
Call for your speed: To you full power I give,
To ease her of her wretched Mightiness
Before it split her heart; to undeceive
Her blinded Soul, and shrink it till it be
Little enough to fit my Heav'n and Me.
(And well, O well it was, that gracious He
Gave them such full Commission; else had they
In vain unsheath'd their best Activity
Her ugly-tumid bulk to cut away.
Those who Pride's stubborn Castle down would bring,
Must be impowr'd by Lowlinesse's King.)
They having thrice his foot-stool kissed, flew
On flaming Zeal's stout wings through every sphear:
No Lightning's flash e'r made more haste to view
The East and West at once, than this swift Pair,
To reach their Errands but; or with more light
Did all Spectators' startled eyes affright.
For when the Passions saw them darting near,
Immediate Terror on their Souls did seize:
Down fell their changed looks and necks; tho' Fear
Was left at home, she present seem'd in these.
The sudden stroke on Psyche too did beat,
And damp'd her Chariots, and her stomack's heat.
But though the first assault of Lightning be
Pointed with Dread and Aure; the next are wont
To march in more abated Majesty,
And their bright Terror by degrees to blunt.
Custom, though young and breeding, yet can make,
The dint and edge of any strangeness slake.
Her daring Steeds adventur'd to recover
Some sense and spirit of their boiling Pride
As soon's that splendor's first Attempt was over:
But she her self by Confidence's tide
Stoutly presum'd to trust, that she might well
The torrent of those heav'nly Beams repel.
This made her to her radiant Friends dispense
Her frowns and lowring-loathing looks, and by
That silent language of Impatience
Her changed mind and sullen thoughts descry:
But when she mark'd them still resolv'd, she cries,
I thought you would have understood mine eyes.
If I must them interpret; Know, you are
As much mistaken now in Psyche, as
She was in you; I must, and therefore dare,
Tell you your own: your treacherous Counsel has
Too long bewitch'd my tender credulous heart:
Henceforth you may for evermore depart.
The saucy Courser's ears all prick'd up high,
Caught that proud Answer as from Her it flew;
Which, neighing in tumultuous jollity
With broad defiance lustily they threw
Full in the faces of the heav'nly Pair,
And then they kick'd and flung and snuff'd the air.
But Phylax pitching in her coach's way
Lift up his hand and wing and forc'd her back;
Crying much louder than her steeds could neigh:
Yet e'r you go, vouchsafe to hear me speak;
What tho' I be your Foe? you need not fear
Now you have learned that, my words to hear.
Whate'r I say, I can no longer cheat you
Whose Jealousy against me keeps a guard:
But if with wholesom Counsel now I greet you,
My Salutation must not be debarr'd
Of civil entertainment: Foes may meet;
Nor always is't in vain that met they treat.
This netled Thelema, who Postillion was
And had inflam'd the Coursers all the way:
For shooting scorn from her bent brows, Alas
She cry'd, thinks Phylax I'l his rub obey,
Who ride where e'r I list, and never meet
With Mount, or World, which stops my horses' feet?
Which said, she check'd her fiery Courser, (and
This Anger was, the most outragious steed;)
She with curvets strait answered her hand,
And aim'd to snatch her way o'r Phylax head.
Three times she leap'd, as often tumbling back,
Till with her bones she heard the Chariot crack.
For Phylax' thether having reach'd a Ray
Of mystic pow'r, attact the Axel-tree;
Which with a splitting shriek gave woful way,
And by the voice of its fragility
Admonish'd all the Coach, that Ruin now
Ment there to ride, and Psyche out would throw.
And true the warning was: the Wheels, the Team,
The Barrs, the Pillars, Seat, Sides, Back and Head
Shatter'd, and made Confusion's dismal game;
Strait felt how sure the Axel prefaced
To their strange Tragedy, who now no more
Could own their several Names as heretofore.
Twas all but one rude Heap: upon whose back
Lay Psyche bruised with the boistrous fall;
But wounded more to see who made that Crack,
And rais'd that Pile as for her Funeral.
She scorn'd to take Him for an equal Foe,
But swel'd and puff'd, and knew not what to do.
He in her sullen eye observing well
Those troubled motions of her smoking heart,
Which she could neither utter nor conceal;
Pitied the sadness of her wilful smart:
And, for compliance, her own course he took,
Speaking not by his mouth, but by his Look.
This is the Dialect of strongest Love,
Which, when the fruitless Tongue hath said her Say,
With soul-commanding pow'r doth plead, and prove;
That purest Rhetoric reigns in eyes; that they
Who to the bottom of the heart would speak,
In Looking Lines must their Orations make.
His serious Aspect upon Her was bent
Compos'd of gentle wrath and mild disdain.
Expressive were the Glances which he sent,
And every Word that darted forth was plain.
Some Rays grew hot, and stoutly chode, but others
With melting Pity mollify'd their brothers.
O what a long long story ran he over
In this short ocular Discourse I how fast
Did he her bosom and his own discover,
And what of old, and what of late had past;
And what was dawning, if she still rush'd on
With obstinate confidence to be undone.
But ireful She deign'd not to understand
This Language, since the Speaker she despis'd:
She proudly look'd, and coily wav'd her hand,
And told him by those signs she was advis'd
So well of what she did, that He might go
And somewhere else his scorned pain bestow.
So when the faithful Tutor's tender eye
Reads his stern Lecture of Admonishment:
His stubborn Pupil ventures to defy
With disrespectful Looks the sweet intent
Of those smart Memorandums, and by mute
Disdain kicks back what Words could not confute.
Mean while as Thelema, tumbled from her Steed,
Lay biting both the ground and her own lip;
Charis her sweetest Pow'rs had mustered
From her worse precipice to help her up:
And see, said she, when it was grown so tall
How suddenly your Pride has caught a fall.
Yet this is not the bottom, but a step
To that sad Ruin whether you did ride,
O had you known how black and vast a Deep
Gapes in your journy's end, all Deaths beside
You would have woo'd and hugged, rather than
Have posted thus to plunge into that one.
Here with her potent Wand she stroke the Earth:
Which knock when Tellus heard, she op'd, her door;
When lo a Night of smoke came stinking forth,
And then a dusky day of fire: the Roar
Of that great Crack made surly Thelema start,
And terribly reach'd Psyche's vexed heart.
Yet though Dread shook their Souls, they deemed it
Shame to confess their fear and run away:
Their adamantine Stomachs would not let
Their lives be longer precious: still they stay,
Not out of curious Desire to see,
But to outface the hideous Prodigy.
The monstrous Jaws of that wide-gaping Pit
With baneful soot were lined thick: from which
Incensed Sutphure flashing rage did spit;
And Clouds of Grones array'd in horrid pitch
Breath'd sad confession who below did dwell:
These proofs authentic were to speak it Hell.
Plung'd in the gloomy Cavern's centre were
A wofull Rout chain'd up in fire and death;
Abiram, Corah, Dathan, fried there,
With Peleth's venturous Son, whose traiterous
Wrath Kindled that old Combustion, which now
Concluded is in their own flames below.
Their howling Wives, and shrieking Children lay
Broiling about them; and desir'd in vain
One drop of water, after dying, they
Had burnt so long in their still-living pain.
Thick flow'd their tears, but mocked them the more
And only scalt their cheeks which flam'd before.
As Thelema's thoughts chew'd these Soul-piercing sights,
Behold this last Preferment, — Charis cry'd,—
To which Ambition desperate fools invites:
Say, is't not pity that thou didst not ride
Thy Journey out; And am not I thy foe
Who down this fair Hill would not let thee go?
Behold how glorious a Realm of Bliss
It is, to which thou bend'st thy fierce carrier:
A Realm, wherein all bitterest Excess
Grief, Anguish, Howlings, Tortures reigning are:
Where every Ejulation, every Pain
Alas, is too too truly Soverain.
Seest thou that arrogant Brood of Rebels, who
Too lofty grown to stoop to heav'nly Law
Basely abus'd their Pride, and blush'd not to
Their vile and earthly Passions to bow.
Moses and Aaron, whom they kick'd at there,
Are but your Phylax, and your Charis here.
Moses and Aaron there usurp'd too much
And bare their tyrannizing heads too high:
And was not our Indictment only such
When Love impeach'd us? Though we were not by
Yet He was present then, whose Vengeance now
Feeds on your proud Agenor's heart below.
Observe that Feind who holds fell Corah's chain
Himself bound in a greater: know'st thou why
He gathers up his Tail's ashamed train,
And steals it round about his scaly thigh?
Ask but his Looks, and they will tell thee plain
What Spot it is whose guilt doth them ingrain.
This high-swoll'n Mountain of Deformity,
Once vy'd with Beautie's self by borrow'd grace:
But now uncased in his cursed sty,
His shape is correspondent to his place:
Here, here see what without a Ly is his;
This Monster your admir'd Agenor is.
Hearing this word the tumid Spirit split
His overcharged mouth, and tumbled out
A stream of brimstone, belching after it
More horrid Cries; which bellowing about
His hallow Home, and finding it too narrow,
Into the Air let loose his thundering sorrow.
Earth's bones all shak'd as through her sides it broke
And startled Psyche felt her fears beat high.
But Thelema disdain'd the Terrors' stroke,
Confuting it with her all-daring eye:
For well she knew her strength was Proof, and still
Resolv'd whate'r it cost to have her Will.
Thus when a wilful Heir to age is come
And in his own hand feels the golden rain
Of his long-wish'd Revenues, if by some
Well-practis'd spend-thrift he be taught to drain
His over-flowing Bags; in vain his friends
Shew him what Ebb of want that Tide attends.
But trusty Charis still remembring what
Her Master's love commanded, ply'd her part
And since Fear's darts were thus repulsed, shot
The shafts of Love into the Virgin's heart;
Which in a diamond case from heav'n she brought,
With many other precious Powers fraught.
Strong were the Blows, and op'd themselves the way
Down to the bottom of their Mark, but yet
Both sweet and silent. Thus the noble Ray
Discharg'd from Titan's eye doth never hit
The solid Crystal, but with dainty force
Quite through and through it takes its harmless course.
On Thelema's Soul the gallant Arrows wrought
With blessed wounds of heav'n-begotten joy:
Yet she with such perverse resistance fought
That had kind Charis, known how to be coy,
Her scorn'd pains she had spar'd, and left the Maid
By her own stubborn Victory betray'd.
But she as obstinate was in Patience
And many a dear time shot and shot again:
Until th' importunate strokes awak'd a sense
Of both delightful and convincing pain;
With which pierc'd through, now I must, I see,
Cry'd Thelema, by this Sweetness conquer'd be.
I know I need not yield, except I will;
But this Soul-plying violence which now
Severely sweet through all my wounds doth thrill,
Inforceth me to force myself to bow:
With that she louted low, and on her knee
Beg'd pardon for her pertinacity.
O noble Virtue of Immortal Grace!
How uncontro'd is its mild mighty Art,
Which can a Bosom of itself unease
And teach the Heart how to subdue the Heart;
Which gains unbloody Bays and triumphs thus
In delicately conquering Us by Us!
So when into the Swain's unwary foot
The venemous earnest of a Swelling Death
Is from the treacherous Tarantula shot;
Music's sweet Accents wisely temper'd, breath
A mystic Antidote, which by delight
Deceives the Poison, charming out its spight.
Here Psyche, seeing Thelema relent,
Knew her own stomach's power in vain would swell:
Necessity convinc'd her to recant
And find how lost a thing she was: Her fell
And useless Arrogance away she threw,
And after it, three sighs sad farewell blew.
That thus ejected; shame and Modesty
Of their ingenious Home took fresh possession,
And in her purple cheek and gloomy eye
Displaid a scene of penitent Confession:
Then, as her pride above her self had toss'd her,
No less beneath these on the ground did cast her.
'Twas easier now for her to weep than speak:
Yet striking stifly on her guilty breast
A passage to her stifeling grief she broke,
And wrought out this sad cry: O turn at least
From shameful Psyche, turn your spotless eye;
Leave me alone to perish where I lie.
Leave me alone, or kick me down into
That mouth of Torment gaping for me there;
That I may to my lov'd Agenor go
Whose lies against your truths block'd up mine ear.
Sure Corah and his damned Company
Take not up all the room; there's some for me.
There must be some; else Justice is not just:
For what have they deserved more than I!
I would not thither go; and yet I must,
Because till now I would. I would not die,
And yet I dare not live; such deadly pain
In this my life of shameful Guilt doth reign.
'Twas more then death to me to view the face
Of my too-late-believ'd Syneidesis.
When she presented in her trusty glass
The faithful Copy of my Hideousness.
What in your Lustre's dint then shall I do!
No vail has night enough to smother you.
Ay me! that most calcining Purity
Of your celestial Looks I cannot bear:
Pride has so tainted my unhappy eye,
That nothing more than purest sights I fear;
For they my Torments are, and burn me so
That to a cooler Hell I fain would go.
This woful out-cry grated Charis' heart
Wont not to break but heal the brused reed:
She knew what Lenitives would tame that smart,
Yet gave no more than for the present need:
Leaving the perfect cure a while; for she
Perceiv'd how wholsome longer Grief would be.
Mean time the rampant Passions were stray'd
And in wild madness roved all about:
But Thelema, before by them betray'd,
Reveng'd that treachery, and by a stout
Command unto their duties warn'd them back:
The whole field at the awful Voice did quake.
They started all, and strait of one another
Ask'd mutual counsel with a doubting eye:
But after that first Call out brake it's Brother,
And thundered with Imperious Majesty.
Forthwith they look'd, and spy'd their Mistress's hand
High lifted up, which spake a third Command.
They knew these Summons' did in earnest call,
And always had disdain'd to be deny'd:
This forc'd their stiff unwilling crests to fall,
And into slavish quaking turn'd their Pride;
When angry Thelema snatching up the reins,
Severely of their harness, made their chains.
So when the Master shakes his dreadful rod
High in the view of his licentious Boies,
Who rambling were and truanting abroad;
Their loth adieu they bid to all their totes.
And trembling into School expect when they
The price of their Extravagance should pay.
This done, she stoutly lash'd her shivering Teem
Close to the lip of that dread mouth of Hell;
Where their late General she shew'd to them;
Tearing his Feindship he could not conceal:
Which Sight them and their treacherous Itching parted.
And through their Souls immortal Terror darted.
Which Act perform'd; the Scene they all remove
To Psyche's house; who now profoundly crown'd
In her disconsolate self, no longer strove
Against her Friends. No matter 'tis what ground
Receives this wretched corps, said she, since I
Have pass'd the worst of Death's extremity.
As thus She through the solitary field
With doleful pace returned homeward, She
The lately-scorned Ermitage beheld
With reverent blushing: but when pious He
Who reign'd King of himself and it, espy'd
This blessed Change, he sate him down and cry'd.
He cry'd for joy, and answer'd Psyche's tears
Which multiply'd with every step she took;
With noble Charis he had many years
Been well acquainted; and in's heavenly Look,
He read that Phylax was to him of kin,
Who his own Guardian from his birth had been.
What They had done, his wisdom well could guess
When he the stubborn Queen thus melted saw;
Her frowns, her taunts, her coach, her stateliness
Were vanish'd all, and she thrown down so low;
That by Agenor's and Heaven's help she seems
In one day to have reached both Extreams.
Full many a blessing did the good Man pour
On Charis and on Phylax as they went:
But panted out to his dear Master more
Who them to that Exploit of Mercy sent.
He threw good Wishes after Psyche too
Tracing her steps as far's his eye could go.
And when the Air's vast Sea had crown'd his eye,
He launch'd fresh Prayers for her happy weal:
Profoundly importuning Heav'n to be
The Booty fast it thus had snatch'd from Hell:
To tie her fast to holy Meekness, that
No swelling Pride might burst the blessed knot.
Heroic Charity how soon dost thou
Subdue all wrongs, Contempt can shoot at thee:
And freely bless all Patrons which bestow
Successe's boon on thy proud Enemy!
Right noble is thy Valor, which alone
Can make thy Foes' good fortune be thine own.
But they now to their journey's period come,
Psyche with stiff sighs open blew the gate;
And sadly viewing her abused Home
Thought every wall did chide for what of late
She trespass'd there; and that at every groan
The Echo cry'd, She had herself undone.
As loth she to her Chamber was to go
As Thief into the cell, where he has hid
His wicked goods: Yet they would have it so
Who from self-theft had her delivered.
But two deep Groans, as up the stairs they went
Summon'd their eyes to search whence they were sent.
A slie Trapdoor they lurking there discover'd
Keeping its counsel with bar, lock, and seal:
Where whilst their wise consideration hover'd
Two other Groans did to their aid appeal:
When Thelema convinc'd by shame and fear,
Broke ope the door, to shew them who were there.
Deep was the Dungeon, and as dark as Night
When neither Moon nor Stars befriend the skies:
But Charis looking in, a morning light
Upon that gloominess rose from her eyes
When lo, Syneidesis and Logos tied
Fast in the bottom of the mire they spied.
So fast, that nothing but their Lamentations
And sighs and tears had any room to stir:
Yea these, alas, through long ingeminations;
In languid weariness inchained were.
Yet now this Spectacle's free Looks could cry
They strait found audience in Pity's eye.
Down Phylax flies, and hovering over them
(For no dirt may deflower his virgin wings,)
Unties their cords; and by their mantles' hem
Up to the dungeon's mouth the Pris'ners brings.
Full thick about them stuck the mire and clay
Yet Psyche thought herself more foul than they.
And falling on them with a show'r of tears,
These soon may wash your filth away, said she
But my deep-grain'd Pollution out-dares
The utmost purging power of Oceans: Ye
Besmeared are with none but others' spots;
I blur'd all over am with mine own blots.
O add no stings to my deep Anguish, by
Denying pardon of my mad Offence!
Saw you but half the flames in which I fry
The sight would thaw your breasts, and kindle sense
Of my sufficient woe —. But here between
Her and her further Cries step'd Charis in:
Who hastned her into her Chamber: where
No sooner entred, they the Mirror Spy,
Which strait grew pale, and quak'd for guilty fear
At that bright dawn of genuine Purity.
Away thus Night's false Fires and Phantoms sneak
When through the East the gallant Day doth break.
As Phylax to the Glass drew Psyche nigh,
She quaked more than that, and started back:
When lo, said He, this Engine, fram'd to ly,
Now of itself shall true confession make;
Urge it but with the Touch of any Gem,
Whose place is meanest in thy Girdle's hem.
Abased she, afraid of further shame,
Waver'd a while in anxious suspense;
Her jealous fond demurs still went and came,
And fain she would have found Delay's presence;
Yet judg'd it best at length, not to withstand
Her Guardian's however strange Command.
O glorious power of heav'nly Gifts! the Glass
Remembred quickly its original eyes.
And weep'd to see its stately-beautious face
Dissolv'd by one short Touch: Its fallacies
Melted amain, nod on th' amazed floor
In floods of loathsome slime themselves did pour.
A slime which smelt so rank of death, that had
Not Charis stood 'twixt Psyche and the Harm,
T' had chok'd her heart: but Heav'n's assistance made
Her spirits chear and kept her courage warm.
Secured thus; take these drops more, she cry'd.
And on the slime thrice spitting, turn'd aside.
Then jealous of the other Cabinet,
Look here dear Friends, said she, I needs must fear
Some foul Enchantment hatcheth here its plot,
And that these Treasures in false shapes appear:
They are Agenor's gifts; how can his Pelf
Be made of truer Beauties than himself?
Yon know your Touchstone, Phylax cryed; let
Your Girdle question 't and it will confess.
That Item she obey'd no sooner; but
Forthwith her Touch was answer'd by an Hiss:
Their heads the starting Bracelets having reard
No Nest of Jewels but of Snakes appear'd'
Of younger Serpents an intangled fry
Thick in the sprucer Networks twisted were;
Who sham'd and vex'd by this discovery
Wheted their peevish teeth, and try'd to tear
Their textures' bands; but when they felt the bite
Their own backs dig, they angry poison spit.
The Tires and Hoods shrunk into Horns; the Rings
Dilated into Fetters; every Lace
Like scorched Thongs, or singed shrivel'd strings,
Shew'd in what burning shop it woven was:
The gaudy Bonnets and the dainty Vails
Were nothing now but brass or iron scales.
The Crisping-pins return'd to Forks and Hooks,
And Tongs, and Prongs; the Lawns to Dragons Wings;
The golden Wires abjur'd their glorious looks,
And proved red hot Nails, or Darts, or Stings;
The Busks, were Gaggs; the Gloves were fiery Claws;
The Tablets, Boiles; the Sandals, Tigers' Paws.
The Pearls, were Coals; the Coronets, wreaths of Fire;
The brisk Vermilion, was Gore or Ink;
The Pencils, Rods of ever-burning Wire;
The Powders, Brimstone; the Perfumes, a Stink;
The smiles, dark frowns; the youth and blooming
Dread-darting wrinkles, and stern Vulturs' Beaks.
The high-looks, deep dispairs and shames; the fashions,
Sundry Inventions of most learned Spight,
And never-dying Torture's Variations;
The Silks and Satins, Coats of Aspes; the bright
Purple, a Lion's or a Panther's Hide
In innocent blood of slaughter'd Infants dy'd.
The Ermins and the Sables, were the Skins
Which monstrous Cerberus casteth thrice a year;
The rich Embroideries, Ranks and Files of Pins
Pointed with steely Torment and Dispair;
The Silver and the Gold that lay below,
Old Rust and Cankers which themselves did knaw.
As when a fond Child wantonizing on
The flowry Pillows of the Garden, and
Feasting his heedless eyes and hands upon
Soft Maia's Delicates, espies a band
Of ireful Snakes rang'd in that field of Joy,
On horror's head-long wheels he posts away:
So all these dreadful sights stroke Psyche through
With full as many fears; and back she ran:
But Phylax stopping her, demanded how
She dar'd those Trappings trust, herself had on?
They too are of the same foul breed, said he;
And will you still with Hell arrayed be?
With that, he snatched off that Tire which Pride
On her abused body planted had:
Which as his Indignation threw aside,
The gaudy Ornaments confession made
Of their hypocrisy; and laid their true
And native horrid shapes in open view.
Poor Psyche seeing with what Monsters she
Had trim'd without and pleased been within
Cry'd out, O wilfully deluded Me
Who joyed in my self-revenging sin!
Rise rise, O righteous Wrath, help thou my fist
(And here she stroke,) to pierce this treacherous breast.
A noble Stroke was this, and won its way,
Its happy way, quite through her broken heart.
Forthwith a cole-black stream, which swelling lay
And belking there, took warning to depart:
Out gush'd the Bane, and split the pois'ned floor
Hasting into its Hell to find a door.
Deliver'd of this monstrous Guest, the Wound
Clos'd gently up, and further harm shut out.
But she her sides so lank and hollow found,
That for her self within her self she sought,
And stood awhile amaz'd, as if the Stroke
Had only some Dream's brittle Wonders broke.
Confounded then with pious shame, she to
Her former Weeds turn'd her most piteous eye
Whose decent honest Looks rebuk'd her so
That back again she stagger'd, stricken by
Remembrance how she them disdain'd, which now
Outshined all Agenor's cheating Show.
At length, in Sorrow's penitential voice
Give leave, said she, my genuine Furniture
That once again I make my prudent choice
Henceforth inalterably to indure.
Or, if again I scorn your poverty
From Hell's foul Wardrobe may I clothed be.
Come trusty Hairclothes, you did never yet
Undress me of myself by garish Pride:
Come hard, but honest Rope, thou ne'r would'st let
Ambition blister me, but gird'st my side
Close to my heart, and leftst no room between
For puffing strutting Thoughts to harbor in.
So, now I'm dress'd indeed: how shamelesly
Have I unclothed wander'd up and down I
No Nakedness in Heav'n's all-searching eye
To that sin clothes us with; thus overgrown
With Leprosy the Man more naked is
Than when bare nothing but his skin was his.
No wonder that wise Ermite seeing me
Mounted in Vanitie's enchanted state,
So sadly pity'd my proud Bravery.
Good Man, he soberly perceived what
Neither my Eyes nor Glass would tell me; He
Ev'n by my Robes my want of clothes did see.
Yet can it be, that jealous Heav'n, and you
O my provoked-friends, should not be just!
What Privilege shields rebellious me, that now
Vengeance should sheath its dared Lightning? must
Your Patience from my Crime its copy write,
That both may equally be Infinite!
It must, said Charis; and be sure to pay
Thy Spouse due thanks for this Necessity
Yet if his favours still thou kickst away,
Know, that this Soul is not so seal'd to Thee
But He can find out some more faithful Breast
Which will not Love's dear Violence resist.
She thus reform'd into her lowly Tire
Their Convert, her celestial Friends embrace;
Kissing into her Soul fresh joies of fire,
And printing gracious Looks upon her face.
Then sitting down, to what I now prepare
To tell, said Phylax, lend thy heedful ear.
The story, Psyche, bends its aim at Thee
And fetch't I will from its deep bottom, that
Thou may'st the long and total prospect see
Of thine Extraction and original State.
That sight wil teach thee that these simple Weeds
Are full as fine and gorgeous as needs.
Nay more than so; when I withal have shown
What peerless sovereign Powers flourish in
Thy Spouse's Hand and Word; how far thine own
Condition flags below his Worth; how mean
A Match thou art for Him, who nothing hast
In dowry, but vile Vanity and Dust.
ALL things at first was God, who dwelt alone
In his unbounded self: but bounteous He
Conceiv'd the form of this Creation
That other things by Him might Happy be.
A way to ease his streams his Goodness sought,
And at the last into a World burst out.
Which World at first was but one single step
From simple Nothing; yet that step was wide:
No Power but His, or could, or yet can leap
Over to Something's bank from Nothing's side.
If you those Distances compare with this,
The East and West are one, the Poles will Kiss.
This Something, Son of Nothing, in the gulf
Of its own monstrous Darkness wallowing lay.
And strangely lost in its confounded self
Knew neither where to go, nor where to stay,
Being hideously besieg'd on every side
With Tohu's and with Bohu's boundless Tide.
The foulest Portents never frighted Day
With such unshapen Shapes as strugled here;
Whilst all the Heap, as if resolv'd to slay
What scarce was born, broke into desperate War.
No Hydra's heads so snarl'd at one another,
As every Parcel rag'd against its brother.
The Deep climb'd up and tumbled down the Hight,
And then again rush'd headlong after it.
Brisk busy Lightness wroth with lazy Weight,
Him from his sleepy groveling quarters beat.
The rude tempestuous Windes blew all together,
And fill'd the World at once with every Weather.
Scuffling for place, the Cold projected how,
To frieze the Heat; the Heat the Cold to fry.
The Centre fouly scorn'd to sneak below,
And in Heav'n's face forc'd sluggish Earth to fly,
Winter took heat, and stoutly found a way,
To fling December through the heart of May.
All Qualities ran wildely up and down,
Ne'r thinking of Symbolic amity.
All Motions were transverse; as yet unknown
Were Rest and Quiet; hideous Ataxy
Was every thing: and neither Here nor There
Keep'd their own homes, but All were every where.
No shores the Ocean in this Tempest knew,
But swallow'd up the Sands; and rushing out,
Whilst all things else were plung'd in quarrels, threw
His billowy arms the Universe about;
Which in this civil Deluge crown'd had been,
Had not the kind Creator's help come in.
Forth flew th' Eternal Dove, and tenderly
Over the flood's blind tumult hovering;
The secret seeds of vital Energy
Wak'd by the virtue of his fostering Wing:
Much like the loving Hen, whose brooding care
Doth hatch her eggs and life's warm way prepare.
When lo a Voice (that all-producing Word
Whose Majesty both Heav'n and Earth adore)
Broke from the Father's mouth, with joint accord
Of th' Undivided Three; and deign'd to poure
Itself upon the Deep, commanding Light
To cheer that universal face of Night.
As when the gloomy Cloud in sunder parts,
The nimble Lightning flasheth through the sky:
So from this Mass of Darkness, thousand Darts
Of orient beams shot their brisk selves, and by
Obedient Splendor answer'd that great Call
Which summon'd them to gild this groping Ball.
The Shades affrighted at the looks of Light
To blind holes crept their shamed heads to hide.
God pitied them, and hastning on their flight,
Safe lodging gave them in the World's back-side.
There slept dull Night: but Day was brave and bold,
And in the face of God display'd her gold.
Before the Sun was born, the Day was Day,
Least his fair count'nance should the World intice
Unlawful homage to his Beams to pay.
Day's parentage is clear to pious eyes;
Nor can she Daughter be to any other
But Him, who is of Lights the sovereign Father.
The next Command call'd for the firmament
To part the Waters which unruly grew.
Strait in the midst of them a Bow was bent
Of solid substance and of crystal hue.
The purer streams had leave on Heav'n to flow,
The gross sunk down and roared here below.
Which loud Impatience to restrain, their Lord
The third day thrust them into prison; and
To check their pride and fury, set a guard
Of most invincible though feeble Sand:
For in those bounds his Law ingraved is,
Which not the proudest Billow dares transgress.
Thus from this flood of deep oppression fre'd
The joyful Earth made haste to wipe and dry
Her blubber'd face; and raising up her head
Admir'd to see her own Security.
Then smiling at the welcome sight, her smiles
Distinguished her face with Vales and Hills.
But being naked, and not knowing whence
To cloth her self, God her appearel made.
He spake; and lo a floury Confluence
Her Plains and Dales with fragrant robes array'd.
Trim'd were the heads of all her Hills with Tresses
Of goodly Trees, and shrubby crisped Dresses.
The fourth Day's work was spent on Heav'n, which yet
Look'd like a virgin Scrol spread fair and wide;
But with no characters of beauty writ
Till God's great Word ingrav'd its radiant pride:
But Titan then came sweetly-flaming forth,
And all the World inamor'd at his birth.
Light, which till now had flitted here and there
Born on the back of an ignoble Cloud;
No sooner spy'd his royal face appear,
But in his bosom she desir'd to shroud:
He courteous was, and to her wished throne
Receiv'd her glorious ambition.
But being bounteous too, and marking how
The bashful Sparks to beg ashamed were;
His lustre's flames abroad he freely threw.
The Moon strait reach'd her horns, and caught her share;
So did the Stars: and now all Heav'n grew fine
Whilst He both in himself and them did shine.
The Hours flock'd to his foot, and louting low
Su'd for a room in his bright Family:
The like did cheerly Day, and made a vow
With him to wake and sleep, to live and die.
But conscious Wight afray'd of his pure look,
To spotted Luna her black self betook.
Then gorgeous Summer came, and spred his way
With gales of gentle air and clouds of spice
Whilst jolly Flora in her best array
Was prodigal of her Varieties.
But plainer Winter reverent distance kept
And far behind his burning chariot crept.
The surly Sea the fift day awed by
Her Lord's express Command, reply'd with speed
And in most dutiful fertility
Opened her mighty womb, whence issued
The Winged Nations all Pair by Pair
Fine musical Inhabitants of Air.
The other german Brood, whose moister wings
Abhor the drying Winds, she kept at home
Where through the Deeps they fly: born-unborn Things
Which, though brought forth, live in their Mother's womb:
A womb of Wonders, whose dimensions can
Afford full flight to vast Leviathan.
Leviathan, whose smoking Nostrils blow
Those seas of fire which from his stomack break
Whose dreadful sneesings by their flashes show
The brazen scales which seal his sturdy back:
Whose Beacon's flames out-face the Morning's eyes;
Whose Heart in hardness with the Milstone vies.
Leviathan, who laughs at him that shakes
The bugbear spear, and slings the idle stone:
Who steely darts for wretched stubble takes;
Firm Iron, for hollow feeble straw; who on
The boiling Ocean wreaks his hotter wrath
Who where he goes, plows up his hoary path.
Who on his Neck no other collar wears
But never-daunted Strength; who fatned by
His diet of perpetual Triumphs, dares
The challenges of all Dismays defy;
And by his sprightful Looks commands the face
Of frowning Grief to turn Joy's smiling Glass.
He at whose dismal generation Fear
Fled faraway, and nothing left behind
But Scorn and Boldness; which compounded were
Into the metal of the monster's Mind.
Who mounted in his thoughts, doubts not to ride
As Sovereign Prince of all the Sons of Pride.
But now the Sixt Day dawn'd: and Tellus is
Commanded to bring forth her People too:
She heard the Voice, and with strange activeness
Made Beasts and Reptiles with her answer go;
For startling up whilst yet their Mother's ear
Rung with the sound, they cry'd Lo we are here.
Hast thou not seen the Princely Horse; whose eye
With living Lightning's fed; whose portly neck
Is cloth'd with mighty Thunder's Majesty
Whose glorious nostrils Terror's language speak;
Who never would believe the Trumpet's sound
But with proud fierceness swallows up the ground;
Who with impatient heat the Vallies paws,
When he hath smelt the battel from afar;
Who mocks the sword, and brave defiance throws
Upon the Quiver and the glittering spear;
Who both the Trumpet's and the Soldier's shout
With his more martial Ha ha doth flout.
Hast not Behemoth seen, that moving Mount
Of flesh and bone, that Earth's Leviathan;
Whose monstrous thirst, though many a living fount
And River it hath slain, still trusts it can
Down through the deeper chanel of his throat
All Jordan (ev'n in time of harvest) shoot:
Whose Navel's Power's Knot; whose strong-built Loins
The garrison of Might whose massy Bones,
Which grisselly steel fast to their sockets joins,
Are brass, the less, the greater, iron ones;
Who mounts his awful Tail so high, that he
Seems like the Hill, that, like the Cedar tree.
These goodly Sons, with many thousands more,
Were they which teeming Tellus then brought forth:
But who shall now reign Sovereign Monarch o'r
This and the Ocean's more numerous Birth?
So great and weighty was this Business, that
About it God himself in council sate.
A Place there is retired far and high
Amidst the Tower of eternal Rest;
Roof'd, pav'd, and walled with Immensity
Through which no Creature's boldness ever prest:
In this, th' Almighty Three's joint Consultation
Determin'd of the Work and of the Fashion.
Then stepping down to earth, this Triple One
Moulds up the Dust which trembled at his feet;
And ends his work as soon as 'twas begun:
For now the quick shape rather seem'd to meet
His Hand, than follow it, and every Part
As wak'd by's touch, up from the Dust to start.
Forthwith about the Universe he reach'd
His potent Arm, and cull'd from every thing,
The choicest Excellence which had inrich'd
Their several Tribes, to trim their breeding King;
That they with willing hearts might Him obey
In whom their own selected Treasures lay.
Fair was the Image; for its lines were true
To that brave Form which Heav'n's eternal Son
Had for himself design'd; that Form which drew
His Hand to Frame this whole Creation,
All things attend on this grand Mystery;
The world was made that God a Man might be.
Yet still this hopful Model was no more
Than, Statue-like; well lim'd but cold and dead:
When lo th' Almighty's Breath vouchsaf'd to pour
Life's flood into his Nostrils; whence it spred
Through secret chapels into every Part,
But chose its Mannor-house amidst the heart.
That Breath immortal was, as flowing from
If is bosom whom Eternity calls Sire:
And kindled by its Blast that noble flame,
Which shall out-live Heav'n's stoutest fairest Fire,
'Tis not the Crack and Ruin of the less
Or greater World, that can the Soul suppress.
Thus Adam op'd his eyes; through which such beams
Of Majesty look'd out, that gallant He
Now by a new resemblance truly seems,
The royal Image of his Lord to be:
Heav'n's Sovereignty shines in God, and who
But Man looks like the King of all below?
And yet those Looks of his had look'd in vain,
If he had on his feeble self alone
Founded his Title, and his Right to reign:
The lofty structure of Dominion
Requires a correspondent Base, nor must
Such massy Buildings founded be on Dust.
But by his Maker's into his own hand
Were put the Reins of Air, of Earth, of Sea;
That under his imperial Command,
All Fishes, Beasts and Birds might ranged be:
Which, though so boistrous now they seem and wild.
Before their King at first were tame and mild.
This lower World's high Prince thus nobly made,
God seeks a Palace where be might reside:
And when the Earth his eye examin'd had,
A dainty Place which in the East he spy'd
His liking won; where he contriv'd the Seat
Of his new Viceroy, delicate and great.
It was a Garden, if that Name can speak
The worth of those illustrious Sweets, which there
Conspir'd to prove that fancy a mistake,
That Heaven dwells only in the starry sphere.
The Earth look'd poor in all her other soil,
Those Meanness serv'd but for this Jewel's foil.
No Weed presum'd to shew its roitish face
On this fair Stage; the Nettles, Thistles, Brakes,
Thorns, Bryars, Cockle, Hemlock, rampant Grass
With those dire Herbs the meagre Wizzard rakes
Into his deadly boxes; either yet
Were not at all, or far from Eden set.
The Yew, the Box, the Cypress, and all other
Sad waiters on the Grave's solemnity
Had there no business; Death, or Death's black Mother
Not being yet conceiv'd: No crookback'd Tree
Disgrac'd the place, no foolish scrambling shrub,
No wild and careless Bush, no clownish Stub.
Grim Winter and rude Boreas forbare
To walk this way; so did Distempers, Cares
Perplexities, Sighs, Melancholy, Fear
Doubts, Jealousies, Seditions, Treasons, Wars
Storms, Thunders, Lightnings, Earthquakes, Ruptures, Streins,
Wounds, Boils, Diseases, inward, outward Pains.
For on the Garden's margin ran a wall
Built of Delight, and buttress'd with Content;
Beauty stood at the gate, and let in all
Who brought the Pass of fair Accomplishment;
But if she spy'd a Wrinkle, Scar, or Blot,
The inconsistent stranger out she shut.
Within rose Hills of Spice and Frankincence
Which smil'd upon the flowry Vales below
Where living Crystal found a sweet presence
With musical impatience to flow,
And delicately chide the Gems beneath
Because no smoother they had pav'd its path.
The Nymphs which sported on this Current's side
Were milky Thoughts, tralucid pure Desires,
Soft Turtles' Kisses, Looks of virgin Brides,
Sweet Coolness which nor needs nor feareth fires,
Snowy Imbraces, cheerly-sober Eyes,
Gentileness, Mildness, Ingenuities.
A goodly Army of peace-breathing Graces
Were rang'd by these in Love's serene array;
And in those multitudes of fragrant faces
Sweet Order with Variety did play.
Nor was it lawful One above the rest
To magnify, for every one was best.
Stretch'd at full length upon th' Embroidery
Of flowry beds lay Softness, Ease, and Pleasure
Whilst in the carpet walks there danced by
Calmness, Longdays, Security, and Leisure;
Accomplish'd Growth, brisk Firmitude, and Health;
The only Jewel which makes wealthy Wealth.
Your Roses here would soon confess their Blush
Due to their own Defects, should they compare
With those brisk Eyes with which the Rosy Bush
Looks up and views its beauteous Neighbours there:
Nor are your Lilies white, if those were by
Whose leaves lay ope the books of Purity.
Liban and Carmel bow their goodly heads
To Paradise's foot: the Balm, Nard, Myrrh,
And all the Spices of Arabia's Meads
Freely acknowledge richer Sweetness here.
Adonis Garden paralleld with this,
No more a Garden but a Desert is.
The early Gales knocks gently at the door
Of every Flower to bid the Odours wake;
Which catching in their softest arms, they bore
From bed to bed, and so return'd them back
To their own Lodgings, doubled by the blisses
They sip'd from their delicious brethren's kisses.
Upon the wings of those inamoring Breasts,
Refreshment, Vigor, Nimbleness attended;
Which wheresoe'r they flew, cheer'd up their paths,
And with fresh Airs of life all things befriended:
For Heav'n's sweet Spirit deign'd his breath to join
And make the powers of these Blasts divine.
The goodly Trees' bent Arms, their nobler load
Of Fruit with blest oppression overbore:
That Orchard where the Dragon warder stood
For all its golden boughs, to this was poor
To this, in which the greater Serpent lay
Through not to guard the Trees, but to betray.
Of Fortitude there, rose a stately Row
Here, of Munificence a thick set Grove;
There, of wise Industry a Quickset grew
Here, flourished a dainty Cops of Love;
There, sprang up pleasant Twigs of ready Wit,
Here, larger Trees of Gravity were set.
Here, Temperance and widespred Justice there;
Under whose sheltering shadow Piety
Devotion, Mildness, Friendship planted were;
Next stood Renown with head exalted high;
Then, twin'd together Plenty, Fatness, Peace.
O blessed Place, where grew such things as these!
Yet what are these, if Death's malignant hand
May either them or their fruition blast?
This to prevent, at careful Heav'n's command
An hopeful Tree sprung up amidst the rest;
Which nobly prov'd itself a Branch to be
Pluck'd from the grand stock of Eternity.
Amidst them all it sprung; for well it knew
Its proper seat, and chose the Garden's heart:
No station but that to Life was due,
Whence Vigor's streams might reach to every Part.
Fresh Heat and Spirits hung about it thick,
The boughs all breathed and the fruit was quick.
By this th' alluring Tree of Knowledge stood
(For where should Wisdom dwell but next the heart?)
Whose leaves were written fair, but writ with Blood,
And fill'd with Learning and capricious Art.
O fatal Tree! how wise had Adam grown
If he thy woful Knowledge had not known.
High in the shady Galleries sate a Quire
Suting their noble Chapel; Birds of praise
Whose lofty Pipes were tun'd by strong desire
To pay for their sweet Home in sweeter Laies:
With whom soft Echo, proud her skill to shew,
Though slower time she kept, yet sung she true.
This Map of Wonders, this Epitomy
Of Heav'n's best pride; this Court of Rarities,
This Confluence of blessed Gallantry;
Was that so much renowned Paradise:
Renowned; yet how much sublimer than
The loftiest praise it ever reap'd from Man!
For Man no sooner forfeited his Tenure
In this Possession, but withal he lost
All his Capacity to paint the honor
Of his escheated Home: and now the most
Which ev'n Poetic sprucest Pens can draw
Doth more their own weak Art, than Eden shew.
The great Creator hither Adam brings
As to the Portal of celestial Bliss:
And, see, said He, of these illustrious Things
Free choise I give thee, bating only this
One Tree of Knowledge: all the rest are thine;
Eat what thou wilt; but still let that be mine.
If thy presumptious hand invades that Tree
Thy licorish crime must cost thy life; and thou
By Death's immediate tallons seized be:
Death, Adam, Death hangs thick on every bough,
What will that knowledge boot thy soul, whereby
Thou nothing shalt be taught but Misery?
O noble Lord! who to his Creature gave
A World at once, and yet requir'd of him
No more but that he would have care to live,
And long injoy the World's fair diadem;
Who ties him to no homage, but to shun
Being by his own fond needless fault undone.
Did he some hardy knotty Task propound
Which must have daily swum in tedious sweat;
His Vassal sure could no presence have found
To disobey, when hired by so great
A price as All this All: yet bounteous He
Will, like his Gift, have ev'n his servant free.
After this easy Charge; upon a Throne
Built all of Power he his Lieutenant set,
And at his high Inauguration
His noblest Subjects ordered to meet;
Who now before his footstool marshall'd were
In modest equipage all Pair by Pair.
Strait, as his awful Look their duty try'd;
The Lyon couch'd, the Horse let fall his crest;
Behemoth's tail forgot its mounting pride,
And melted to the ground; the Bull deprest
His horns; the Boar suck'd in his foam; the Bear,
The Wolf, the Tigre, louted low for fear.
Like reverence humbled down the other Crew,
Whilst from their Sovereign's fairly-dreadful face
Such beams of full imperial Brightness flew
As spake it plainly their Creator's Glass:
Strong that Reflection was, which could command
The rudest Beasts this Truth to understand.
As these admiring lay; the Eagle drew
Up every rank and file of winged things:
Thither the Estrich, Vulture, Falcon flew,
Thither a flock of every Bird that sings;
Thither the Peacock, but eclipsed so,
That down fell all his Stars and trail'd below.
On came the most magnanimous strutting Cock
Disdaining heav'n and earth, till drawing nigh
His nobler Sovereign, his surly neck
He felt arrested by Humility;
His wings flag'd low, his fiery gullet grew
Languid and pale, his comb and forehead blew.
Wise Adam mark'd them all, and sent his eye
To search their bosoms' closets; where he read
Th' essential lines profoundly graved by
Judicious Nature, when she fashioned
Their Difference, their Kindred and Relations,
Their Powers, their Properties and Inclinations.
Thus privy to their inmost selves, he sought
What Titles would most clearly signify
Their bosoms' hidden sence; and up he wrought
In singe Words each Nature's mystery.
Acquaintance then he took of them by Name;
And with a princely Nod dismissed them.
But when their march in loving Pairs he view'd,
A gentle sigh he fetch'd, to think that He
Should spend his nobler life in solitude,
Whilst all Things else injoy'd society.
What boots it him to reign as sovereign Lord,
If all his World can him no Queen afford.
If whilst each Bird and Beast hath leave to read
His iterated self in his dear Mate,
And by strait Love's prerogative can lead
A double life in one: His sullen fate
Imprisons him in his own breast alone:
Alas! this thought heav'd up another Groan.
And heav'd it up so high, that to the ear
Of God it reach'd; who calling Pity forth,
Gave her an errand to the Deep to bear:
Which nimble Nymph strait started through the earth
Down to the silent mouth of that dark Cave
Where Sorrows find their sink, and Cares their grave.
A lazy Moat the Grot incompassed
With waters which were never known to stir;
Upon whose bank secure Oblivion's bed
Was made of sluggish Moss and caked fur
The Remoras and Crampfish groping lay
About the bottom of the Mud and Clay.
Up from the Water crept an heavy Cloud
Of dusky Vapours, on whose shoulders rid
Fat Drowsines; who rub'd her eyes and bow'd
Down to her bosom her unwieldy head.
Bats, Owles, and other purblind birds of night
Stole through the swarthy shades their doubtful flight.
Mandrakes within the Moat, and Poppy grew,
Which nodded to their neighbour clump of Trees:
Those were the Willow, Cypress, Box, and Yew
Close at whose feet lay Quietness and Ease,
And nestling by their side, an half-dead crow'd
Of Dormise and of Bears, all snorting loud.
Through these pas'd Pity to a door of Jet,
Whose wary ringle round was cloth'd in wool:
The porter Silence, with his finger at
His mouth; when by her looks he guess'd her full
Of more than common business with his Queen,
Softly stole ope the lock, and let her in.
There found she on a bed of ebony
Sleep lay'd at length; her pillow, badgers' hair;
Thick Night, full Peace, and soft Security
Her rug, her counterpane, and blankets were.
Close by her couch's side drop'd pipes of lead;
A swarm of Bees were humming at the head.
But greater was the swarm of Dreams which walk'd
In shapeless shapes about the thronged room;
Who though they laugh'd, and sung, and cry'd, and talk'd,
No noise was heard in that confusion: some
Wanted an head, a cheek, an eye, a nose,
Some arms, some legs, some feet, and some their toes.
Some wanton seem'd, some chast, some spruce, some course;
Some tame, some terrible, some black, some white;
Some Men before, and yet behind a Horse;
Some Swan on one side, on the other Kite;
Some Love, some Hate, some Half-hope and Half-fear;
Some heav'n, some hell, some both; most monsters were.
Indeed a few, who sleighted all the rest
Were lim'd and form'd by due Proportion's art;
With sober gravity their looks were drest;
Deep wonderous thoughts were hatching in their heart;
Sharp was their sight, and further could descry
Than any Eagle's Sun-affronting eye.
But now the Nymph aloud delivered
Her earnest Message, jogging heavy Sleep.
She shrug'd and yawn'd, and thrice lift up her head
And with one eye half ope began to peep:
Then Pity to a Box she nodded, (for
'Twas death to speak) and so return'd to snore.
Black was the Box, and though its bulk was little,
It seem'd the massy mansion-house of Weight.
But Heav'n's stout Messenger was made of Metal
So valiant, that she snatch'd it up, and strait
On noble Fervor's wings devour'd the road
To Eden, with her slender-mighty load.
Where she no sooner dawn'd in Adam's view,
But he began to streak, and nod, and yawn;
Forthwith the Nymph a sable powder threw
Full in his eyes; by which quite overthrown,
He lay supinely on a spicy bed
Proud of the grace to kiss his sweeter head.
His sences thus seal'd up in dainty night,
His Soul walk'd to his brain, to take a view
Of that prophetick but obscure Delight
Which in his fancies' fertile garden grew.
When lo, a goodly Tree salutes his eye
Tall, wide, and full of florid Majesty.
The Woods look'd all that way, and bow'd ther head;
Low crept the shrubs and due obeysance made;
The Plants and Flowers their fragrant duties did,
Ambitious to be gilded by his shade.
Thus happy he in glorie's zenith reigns
King of the Hills, the Vales, the Woods, the Plains.
But from his own brave stock, out at his side
A Twig sprung up, which grew as fair as he:
As high it reach'd its head, its arms as wide,
And flourished with equal gallantry.
Their leaves all kiss'd, their arms embrac'd each other,
They liv'd and lov'd and joy'd and reign'd together.
Yet soon their throne was undermin'd; for at
Their heedless Root a desperate Canker grew;
Which knaw'd with restless venom, till it got
The day, and down their stately bodies threw.
Amaz'd stood Nature at the sight, and all
The World deep groaned at their mighty fall.
As thus the royal Trunks in public view
Exposed lay, abandon'd and forlorn;
From courteous Tellus they compassion drew,
And sanctuary found from further scorn:
For in her bosom's safe and silent bed
Them and her Ruins up she covered.
The deepset Root still held its sturdy hold
And kept its place: so did the Canker his.
New Sprouts took heart, and followed the old
With answerable bulk and haughtiness:
Whose fretful foe persisted still to knew,
And soon or late lay'd all their glory low.
Long held these Conflicts, till at length a Sprout
Sprung from a new and unsuspected place;
For on that side the indisposed Root
In all the World's opinion arid was.
This only Branch scap'd being tainted by
The inbred Canker's foul affinity.
Yet scap'd he not its restles envie's stroke,
By which the Monster stoutly him assaild;
Whom, when it shrinking saw and giving back,
It impudently hop'd to have prevail'd:
But he recoil'd, and was content to die,
Only to gain the surer Victory.
For, wisely ordering his brave Ruin, He
With his dead Weight full on his Enemy fell;
Who crushed under this calamity,
Pay'd for his boldness and sunk down to hell.
When lo, the conquer'd yet victorious Tree
Started up into new life's bravery.
And after Him those other Trees arose
Which dead had lain and rotten long before;
For 'twas his pleasure to impart to those
His own vivacious overflowing store.
They every where leap'd up to life, and stood
So thick, that all the plain became a Wood:
A royal wood of everlasting Trees
Whose Arms all reach'd out vegetable gold;
Whose dangling Gems sham'd India's Rarities;
Whose towring Heads saw heav'n beneath them roll'd.
Yet these were shrubs to that brave Cedar which
Had rais'd them up to this triumphant pitch.
Whilst Adam fetter'd lay in senseless chains
Viewing this wonderous Sight with musing thought;
God op'd his side, but strictly charg'd the veins
To seal their mouths, and let no drop peep out.
From thence he chose a single Rib, and then
The wicket clos'd, and all was whole again.
That Bone he handled with such breeding art
That it dissolved into many more;
And due materials for every part
Most perfectly supply'd: what was before
A single Rib, is now flesh, sinews, grissels,
Blood, bones, skin, entrails, arteries and muscles.
And that the work might suit its beauteous shop
In which no Creature formed was but this;
The willing Garden's Pride he pleas'd to crop,
This Paradise of Paradise to dress.
All Sweets and Delicacies flowed hither,
And in one Eve were moulded up together.
Eve, blessed Eden's only native Queen;
(ye, whose own Husband was her wond'rous Mother;
Whose privileged Birth hath neither been
Nor shall be copied by any other:
Eve that fair Pipe through which Humanity
Must into God himself conveyed be.
Eve, Topstone of the goodly-fram'd Creation
The Bliss of Adam and the Crown of Nature,
Eve, who enjoys the most removed station
From ugly Chaos; Eve that final Creature
In whom th' Almighty Lord set up his rest,
And only spar'd to say He'd done his kest.
Her spatious polish'd forehead was the fair
And lovely Plain, where gentle Majesty
Walk'd in delicious state: her temples clear
Pomegranate fragments, which rejoyc'd to lie
In dainty ambush, and peep through their cover
Of amber-locks, whose volumes curled over.
The fuller stream of her luxuriant Hair
Pour'd down itself upon her ivory back:
In which soft flood ten thousand Graces were
Sporting and dallying with every Lock;
The rival Winds for kisses fell to fight,
And rais'd a ruffling tempest of Delight.
Two princely Arches of most equal measures
Held up the Canopy above her eyes
And open'd to the heav'ns far richer Treasures,
Than with their Stars or Sun e'r learn'd to rise:
Those beams can ravish but the Bodie's sight,
These dazel stoutest Souls with mystic light.
Two Garrisons were these of conquering Love
Two founts of Life, of Spirit, of Joy, of Grace;
Two Easts in one fair Heav'ns no more above,
But in the hemisphere of her own face;
Two Thrones of Gallantry; two shops of miracles;
Two shrines of Deities; two silent Oracles.
For silence here could eloquently plead;
Here might the unseen Soul be clearly read;
Though gentle Humours their mild mixture made,
They prov'd a double Burning-glass; which shed
Those living flames which with enlivening Darts
Shoot deaths of love into Spectators' hearts.
'Twixt these an alabaster Promontory
Slop'd gently down to part each Cheek from other;
Where White and Red strove for the fairer glory
Blending in sweet confusion together.
The Rose and Lily never joined were
In so Divine a marriage as there.
Couchant upon these precious Cushonets
Were thousand Beauties and as many Smiles;
Chaste Blandishments, and modest cooling Heats,
Harmless Temptations, and honest Guiles.
For heav'n, though up betimes the Maid to deck,
Ne'r made Aurora's cheeks so fair and sleek.
Inamoring Neatness, Softness, Pleasure, at
Her gracious Mouth in full retinue stood:
For, next the Eyes' bright Glass, the Soul at that
Takes most delight to look and walk abroad.
But at her lips two shreds of scarlet lay
Or two warm Corrals, to adorn the way;
The precious Way, where by her breath and tongue
Her Odours and her Honey travelled;
Which nicest Criticks would have judg'd among
Arabian or Hyblaean mountains bred.
Indeed the richer Araby in her
Dear mouth, and sweeter Hybla dwelling were.
More gracefully its golden Chapiter
No Column of white Marble e'r sustain'd;
Than her round polish'd Neck supported her
Illustrious head, which there in triumph reign'd.
Yet neither would this Pillar hardness know
Nor suffer Cold to dwell amongst its Snow.
Her blessed Bosom moderately rose
With two soft Mounts of Lilies; whose fair top
A pair of pritty sister Cherrys chose,
And there their living Crimson lifted up.
The milky count'nance of the Hills confest
What kind of Springs within had made their nest.
So leggiadrous were her snowy Hands
That Pleasure mov'd as any finger stirr'd:
Her virgin waxen Arms were precious Bands
And chains of Love: Her waste itself did gird
With its own graceful Slenderness, and ty
Up Delicacy's best Epitomy.
Fair Politure walk'd all her body over,
And Symmetry rejoyc'd in every Part;
Soft and white Sweetness was her native Cover:
From every Member Beauty shot a dart:
From heav'n to earth, from head to foot I mean.
No blemish could by Envy's self be seen.
This was the first-born Queen of Gallentry:
All Gems compounded into one rich Stone,
All sweets knit into one conspiracy,
A constellation of all Stars in one;
Who when she was presented to their view
Both Paradise and Nature dazel'd grew.
Phoebus who rode in glorious Scorn's carreer
About the world, no sooner spy'd her face,
But fain he would have linger'd, from his sphere
On this, though less yet sweeter, Heav'n, to gaze:
Till shame inforc'd him to lash on again,
And clearer wash him in the western Main.
The smiling Air was tickled with his high
Prerogative of uncontrolled Bliss;
Imbracing with intirest liberty
A Body soft and sweet and chaste as his.
All odorous Gales that had but strength to stir
Came flocking in to beg Perfumes of Her.
The Marygold her garish Love forgot,
And turn'd her homage to these fairer Eyes;
All flowers look'd up, and dutifully shot
Their wonder hither, whence they saw arise
Unparching courteous Lustre, which instead
Of fire, soft joy's irradiations spred.
The sturdiest Trees affected by her dear
Delightful presence could not choose but melt
At their hard pith: whilst all the Birds whose clear
Pipes tossed Mirth about the branches, felt
The influence of her looks; for having let,
Their Song fell down, their Eyes on her they set.
And willingly their proudest plumes and wings
Follow'd their Song: for in her Person they
With fix'd intention read more glorious things
Than all their gorgeous feathers could display,
And were content no more the Name to wear
Of Birds of Paradise, now she was there.
But when she mov'd her feet, the joyful Earth
Greatfully rous'd her best fertility,
And by a brisk extemporary birth
Of Flowers and Spices, strove to testify
What carpet's pomp was requisite to make
The passage fit where Beauty was to walk.
She walk'd, by that mild importunity
To break her sleep-inthralled Spouse's chains:
But he wak'd more by powerful Sympathy
Which on the sudden glowed in his veins,
Drowsy no longer; thus the Steel, when near
The Loadstone draws, leaps up to kiss his year.
And yet a while, (for spectacles which rush
With unexpected glories on the sense,
Forestall their own reception, and crush
Beholders' faith by too much evidence)
He thought his wond'rous Dream had still possest him.
And with a gentler Apparition blest him.
But when his Eyes' discerning Test had try'd
The graceful Object, and judiciously
Pry'd into all the truth; he smiling cry'd,
This nothing but my other self can be;
The sweet Result of my own flesh and bone,
And only Adam in reflection.
From me she sprung, and like a genuine sprout
Answers the semblance of her native stock:
Her breed proclaims her name, and issuing out
Of Man she Woman is. Which said, he took
Possession of her milky hand, and strait
Sealed upon her ruby lip his right.
What mighty Tides of flaming Loves and joys
In their first marriage-greeting met together!
And yet as pure and chaste, as when one Voice
In musick's rites is wedded to another;
Where with concentrick Delicacies they
Hug and conspire in one soul-playing Lay.
He views himself more soft and sweet in Eve,
Eve reads in Him her self more fixt and grave:
Either from other's look themselves receive,
As fast returning what they taking gave.
Two streams thus meeting, find and loose each other
I' th' kind pellucid bosom of his brother.
Nor did their amorous hands and lips alone
In most unspotted Pleasure's juncture wed,
But in a nearer dearer union
Their Thoughts all kiss'd, their Hearts were married,
Their Souls so perfectly imbrac'd, that now
This happy Couple was but One in Two.
A blessed Copy this, for those whoe'r
To Wedlocke's bands themselvs will captives yield:
So shall their sweet Captivity appear
No scene of slavery, but freedom's field;
Where though they chained are, the whole World's gains
Can never hire them not to love their chains.
They naked were, if flax, beasts' skins and hairs,
And excrements, the sole Apparel be:
But who will tax the Sun, the Moon, the Stars,
The Diamond, Crystal, Coral, Ivory
Of nakedness, because the cloths they wear
None but their native beams and beauties are?
A Robe of Innocence and Purity
From head to foot embrac'd them round about;
Transmitting their pure features to the eye,
But letting no unseemly shame peep out.
They naked were of every borrow'd dress,
And naked of what you count nakedness.
In this condition did they live and love,
And by perpetual interchange of hearts
Fairly transcribe our blessed life above;
Where through his eye his Soul each Angel darts
Into his fellow's breast, that all may be
In common blest by one felicity.
How great a Feast, and earnest invitation
Was this for Envy; whose ambitious Taste
Disdains all Fair but in the noblest fashion;
Whose Jaws of greedy Iron stand agast
At no encounter, but with restless spight
Against the most confirmed Champions fight!
Her Palace seated in the heart of hell,
Is built of Cankers, Rust, and Vipers' tongues;
Her cursed Throne is mounted on the fell
And boiling breast of Satan: which she stings
With ever-fretful rage, and makes him run
About the wild work of Damnation.
To Paradise he rush'd, and brought his Hell
Into that earthly Heav'n, whose dwellers he
With anxious eye survey'd and mark'd, until
A Creature brisk and spruce he chanc'd to see
Upon a bank of floury pleasures spred,
But far more sweet and beauteous than its bed.
It was the Serpent, whose illustrious skin
Play'd with the Sun and sent him back his beams
With glorious use: that Wealth, which glisters in
The proudest strand of oriental Streams,
Salutes Aurora's cheek with fewer rates
Than this bright robe did all heav'n's' highnoon face.
His sharpset Eyes sparkled with nimble flames,
The light by which his active Soul was read:
Wisdom and Art, with all their plots and frames
Chose their chief shop in his judicious head.
Above his fellows on Craft's wings he flew;
All Beasts but he to that dull Name were true.
This Agent Belzebub approv'd; and as
He fed upon his couch, mix'd with his meat;
Which ambush help'd him his Lips' guard to pass,
Where (having taught his bane to relish sweet)
He eas'ly won the Entry of his Throat,
And down into his bosom's centre shot.
When subtile fire hath through the Cauldron's side
Into its unsuspecting bowels stol'n
The liquar frets and fumes, and to a tide
Of working Wrath and hot Impatience swol'n,
With boiling surges beats the Brass, and leaves
No way untry'd to vent its tortur'd Waves.
So now the Serpent felt his bosom swell
With peevish rage and desperate disdain:
A thousand Plots and Cheats throng'd every cell
And busy corner of his belking brain:
Sometimes he beats on that, sometimes on this,
Sometimes thinks neither, sometimes both amiss.
He knew the vastnes of his fell Design;
Which was, to slay a World at one dead stroke,
And reach Destruction in a pois'ned line
Down to the latest Twig of humane stock:
And therefore muster'd up the boldest Might
All Hell could send to back him in the fight.
But pondering then, how Adam's sober heart
Was amply stor'd with Wisdom's ammunition,
And strongly fortify'd in every part
With sin-defying Grace; in deep suspition
He shak'd his head, and thought the match not ev'n
To venture on a fight with Him and Heav'n.
For if he hapned to be foild at first
His following onsets all would sweat in vain;
And his own pois'nous spight his breast would burst
To see both Adam and his Off-spring reign
Victorious Kings of earthly Paradise,
And flourish thence, to that above the skies.
Yet wholly to decline the Conflict, were
To yield those Realms to Man without a blow,
And in that foolish and ignoble fear
Of, what's but Chance's frown, an Overthrow.
To Resolution's brink this spur'd him on,
Who could loose Nothing though he nothing won.
But in again his Cunning pressing here,
Advis'd his Wrath to look before it leapt,
And not neglect the Helps which offer'd were
By fair Advantage: wherefore back he steps
And marking Eve's soft Temper, thought that she
Might less impregnable than Adam be.
Yet still be much suspected that the brave
Refined Metal of her virtuous breast
Would prove so generous, that to Deceive
Would be an easier Task than to Contest:
But could she any ways be overthrown,
He hop'd her fall would justle Adam down.
The wary foe thus plants his Battery
Against the Castle's female, weakest side;
Judiciously hoping that if he
Can there but make a breach, the fortify'd
And well-mann'd Posts will soon appalled be,
And yield up all their strength for company.
Remembring then what Engine did subdue
A wiser Head and stronger far than her,
And how impatient Ambition threw
From heave's chief pinnacle grand Lucifer:
He trusts that now the like successful End
Might on this tryed way of fight attend.
Incourag'd thus, the dangerous Quintessence
Of venturous everswelling Philauty,
Of Discontent, of Scorn, of Insolence,
Of towring fancies, and self-flattery,
And of the stoutest heav'n-aspiring Pride
Together in one desperate Plot he ty'd.
And if this will not do the feat, yet I
Excused am, said he, and upon Hell
Be all the shame, whose King and Nobles by
The shock of this Temptation headlong fell.
This said, near Eve he gentry 'gan to glide,
Whom straying from her Husband he espy'd.
Unhappy Error that, which could invite
The jealous Tempter to be bold, since she
Had robb'd herself of all her Spouse's Might
By starting from his holy company.
But all the way the spightful Serpent went,
He put on looks of contrary Intent.
For Love and Friendship smiled in his eyes,
Fair on his face sate Tenderness and Care.
His flattering Neck he bowed thrice, and thrice
His silent homage he presented her:
And then, fair Queen of Paradise, said he,
Why must the Prince be bound, and Subjects free?
We crop our various Joys where'r we please
From any floury, any spicy bed;
Our dangling diner grows on any Trees;
Our Table's over all the Garden spred.
But royal you seem stinted in your meat:
Have your own Wills, or God's, this order set?
Admiring Eve, who had presum'd till now
That Speech had been Man's privilege alone;
Thought fair respect to this new Talker due,
And freely join'd communication:
Right glad withal to meet another here,
Who with Discourse could entertain her ear.
Nay courteous Serpent, she replyed, we
Have large Commission, and our God is kind:
He gives us leave to feast on every Tree,
And pick and choose and freely please our minde;
Bate but that one of Knowledge, on whose boughs
Death, certain Death (for so he tells us) grows.
O credulous Queen the Serpent answer'd, who
Make your own Danger by believing it!
Whate'r it be, 'tis not Death's Tree, I trow,
Just at whose elbow that of Life is set.
I to your self appeal; judge you but whether
These two can grow like such good friends together.
Death in a Tree! flat contradiction lies
Ev'n in the Terms: can Death e'r be alive?
Sure Vegetation very ill complies
With sapless stupor! O do not deceive
Your thoughts, nor teach the Tree of Knowledge how
To turn a Tree of Ignorance to you.
Observe its goodly Apples: can you spy
In those fair cheeks the gastly looks of Death?
What fruit in all this choise Variety
So much of heav'n's inamoring count'nance hath?
Yet grant the worst; suppose it deadly be:
For antidote lo there Life's ready Tree.
Ask me not whether Truth itself can ly:
Since He is God, he cannot but be true:
And therfore only by a Fallacy
Of enigmatick Truth he cheateth you.
Indeed the Tree bears Death, but Death which will
Nothing but wants and Imperfections kill.
Life-kindling Death, which will destroy you so
That you no longer Creatures shall remain;
But by this metamorphosis shall grow
Above your selves, and into Gods be slain;
With eyes divine, discerning Good from Evil,
Fair Heav'n from Hell, an Angel from a Devil.
Of which since God is well aware, what wonder
If be desires a God alone to reign;
And so he may, if he can keep you under
By this one politic Injunction's chain:
If by an Apple thus he terrifies
The native Princes of all Paradise.
O how it stings my soul to think that you
My sovereign Queen should thus fainthearted be!
For my part, did ten thousand Mandates grow
Cross in my way to bar me from this Tree,
Through all I'd break; and so would you, if once
Your heart were fir'd by my experience.
For yesterday, when first I 'gan to taste
The sprightful Fruit, flames kindled in mine eyes;
My Soul awak'd, and from my bosom chas'd
Those Mists of Ignorance whose thick disguise
Muffled my thoughts, and kept me down a beast
As dark and dull as any of the rest.
But now Serenity unclouds my heart
And yields me uncontrolled prospect to
The Orbs of Knowledge, where from part to part
My nimbly-piercing eyes securely go.
This is the Death I found; a Death which I
Mean every day as long's I live to die.
How bright a Morn of Science then will rise
In your large Soul by this enlightning Tree!
My breast is shallow, narrow are mine eyes
But wide and brave is your Capacity
So wide, that I Wisdom's deepest Seas may find
Sufficient chapels in your mighty mind.
And if this Knowledge, if Divinity
It self, may merit, but the easy pains
Of your Acceptance O persuaded be
To suffer these inestimable Gains:
Shall royal You, when I your slave may eat
Be barred from this deifying Meat?
And yet you are not barr'd: what Ramparts here
Have barracado'd up the noble Prize?
What Squadrons of the heav'nly Host appear
To guard these precious Boughs, and awe your eyes?
Against your Bliss, O why shall your own Fear
Build bulwarks, and raise armies in the air!
You are not barr'd; O no; behold but how
Y' are bidden welcom by the courteous Tree
Whose laden Arms their glorious offerings bow
To meet your mouth, and justify my Plea.
What more can hospitable Kindness do I
Their very posture's language saies, Fall to.
This said; the sweetly-spightful Tempter clos'd
His fauning mouth, and proudly joy'd to see
Relenting Eve's facility dispos'd
To swallow his bewitching Fallacy:
Since with her licorish eyes she 'gan to taste,
He hop'd her teeth would venture on the Feast.
Indeed his Charms had open stole her heart
And delicately thrill'd their poison in:
The smiling Apples also plaid their part
And with her eyes her fond affections won.
Besides, capricious Pride did her invite,
What'er it cost, to trie that new Delight.
But having thrice step'd to th' inchanting Tree,
As oft her Conscience pluck'd her back again:
Yet still, with fatal importunity
She strugled till she broke her Freedom's chain:
With uncheck'd Madness then she rush'd at length
To shew her Weakness by her willful strength.
Up went her desperate hand, and reach'd away
The whole world's Bliss whilst she the Apple took.
When lo, with paroxisms of strange dismay
Th' amazed Heav'ns stood still, Earth's basis shook
The troubled Ocean roard, the startled Air
In hollow grones profoundly breath'd its fear.
The frighted Trees through all their bodies shiver'd
Their daunted faces down the Flowers held
Th' afflicted Beasts with secret horror quiver'd
With sudden shrieks the Birds the Welkin fill'd:
And deep-pain'd Nature, though but fresh and new
In this sad moment crack'd and crazy grew.
But absent Adam's sympathetic heart
The sharpest fury of this dint assaild;
Who feeling by this enigmatic smart
Himself half-slain, still knew not what he ail'd
Only he found his yerning bowels drive
His anxious fear to run and see his Eve.
O baleful sight! his precious Queen he saw
Enslaved by her soothing Vassal's craft;
Her, who was Beautie's Treasury till now,
Of bravest wealth's prerogative bereft:
Bereft so wholly, that with wondering doubt
For his late lovely Eve in Eve he sought.
Apparent Misery sate on her Face,
The goodly throne till now of Pleasantness:
Her Cheeks which us'd to bloom with heav'nly grace,
Blasted with Sin, wore now Guilt's hellish dress;
And at her Eyes, of late Life's windows, Death
Look'd out; and Rottenness flow'd with her breath.
But sadder was the Change within; for there
Her bold Transgression spred an hideous Night
Of Blindness on her intellectual sphere;
Her Will, which grew before so fair and streight,
Turn'd crooked and perverse: her Passions broke
As she had done her Lord's, her Reason's yoak.
Her Heart, till now soft as the Turtle's sighs,
Forgets its heav'n-inamoring Tenderness,
And with the stubborn Parian Marble vies:
Her Thoughts, before all Sons of Love, profess
No trade but Mischief, deeply plotting how
To propagate that Death she liv'd in now.
Nor fears her Rage to play the Serpent too,
Mad at her innocent Husband's blessed state,
And him with sweet-invenom'd kindness woo
To taste of Hell, and swallow down his fate:
Wherefore the goodliest Apples having cull'd,
Her treacherous hands with those fair baits she fill'd.
Thus with a loving Glance, and modest smile,
(Those mighty Arms by which all females fight)
She charg'd his eye; and seconded that Guile
By trying at his ear this vocal sleight:
O wellcom wellcom, since I now have here
A banquet fit to entertain my Dear.
Soul-fatning Cates, seeds of Divinity,
Edible Wisdom, and a mystic feast
Of high Illuminations. Ask not why
Our jealous God injoin'd us not to taste
Of that whose most refining energy
Would raise us to be Gods as well as He.
As for the bugbear Threat of Death, behold
Its confutation in still-florid Me
Since I have been thus fortunately bold,
Shall needless Dread a Coward make of Thee!
Fall to, my joy; I have thy Taster been.
Think not the seeking thine own Bliss, a sin.
So spake insidious Eve. But he agast,
Deeply agast, reply'd with groans and sighs:
Sadly he shak'd his head, and smote his breast,
And roll'd to heav'n his lamentable eyes.
Alas no need, no need there was of arms
Him to secure against his Consort's charms.
Convinced He too well the Danger knew
Whose miserable Proof now wounds his eyes:
Nor could the plainly-pois'nous Apple shew
Him reason Heav'n and Virtue to dispise.
Fast in his bosom written was the Law,
And reverent Terror kept his soul in aw.
In aw a while it kept it: but at last
Commiseration of his Spouse's case
Grew to such strength in his too tender breast
As, to himself all pity to displace.
Eve sate so near to his uxorious heart
That rather he with heav'n than Her will part.
For part we must; unless he reconcile
That mighty breach which she between them made.
O potent Sympathy! which canst beguile
An heart so pure and clear-ey'd, and degrade
Earth's Monarch from his native pinnacle
Of Innocence, as low as Sin and Hell.
(Dull and cold-hearted Men stand wondering how
The Loyal Lover dares throw generous Hate
On his own Wealth and Health and Fame, and grow
Ambitious to venture through the gate
Of any Death which unto Her may lead,
In whom his dearer Life is treasured.
They little think that here in Paradise
His flames were kindled; or that He doth tread
In tender Adam's genuine steps, and is
Whilst thus effeminate, a Man indeed.
A Man, but one who most unhappy is,
If his dear She be such an Eve as this.)
Thus Adam yields; and eats and tears his great
Creator's Law: in rending which he tore
His health, his life, his happiness, and that
Fair robe of pureness which till now he wore:
And thus Eve's woful consort grew no less
In nature, than in shameful Nakedness.
Their Eyes are miserable op'd; and they
Ashamed of their Maker's work, repine
That He who other Creatures did array
In Plumes, or Hairs, left them so bare a Skin.
Fond Criticks, who the out-side only blame;
Alas, 'twas that within deserv'd the shame.
Yet sadly now indeed they judge between
Evil and Good, whilst their own selves they eye:
They who before no Evil Thing had seen,
Now staring stand on their own Misery:
Which they with wretched Aprons strive to heal;
As if the Leaves the Apples would conceal.
But O! nor they, nor all the Trees that grow
In shady Paradise so thick and high
Could any shelter to their shame allow
When He came down to search who is all Eye.
Yet finds He them by slow degrees, that so
They still a friend might count him, not a foe.
He saw at first; but would not seem to see
A sight which wounded his Compassion's eye.
He saw; but sent a gentle Call to be
Their Moniter, and give them space to fly
'To Mercy's help, before Revenge should draw
Her sword to vindicate his injur'd Law.
Decent and just the Dialect had been,
Had he in formidable Thunder spake:
But, having found the Rebels, of their Sin
A soft enquiry He was pleas'd to make:
Thus begging their Confession, and that they
Would with their Crime their Penitence display.
Yet they with Shifts and bold Pretences try'd,
What should have been bewailed, to defend:
And by that wretched impudence defy'd
Mercy, who all this while did them attend.
This forced justice who came rushing in
And did her office upon saucy Sin.
She first pronounc'd that Curse; which deep was writ,
In adamantine Tables, ne'r to be
Revers'd by Clemency: Then out she shut
The proud Delinquents, setting Eden free
From its unworthy Guests, and ordering fate
To range a double Guard before the Gate.
A Troop of Cherubs strait marshalled
At th' Eastern Avenue in dreadful state:
And then a flaming faulchion brandished
Terror about the way, that none might at
That door of Happiness pass in, but who
By try'd Purity through fire could go.
The woful Exiles were no sooner come
Into the wide wild world, but Adam sees
The heavy loss of his inclosed Home:
Finding, in stead of blessed Flowers and Trees,
Thistles and Thorns all arm'd with pikes and pricks
Amongst whose crow'd he vext and tatter'd sticks.
Long was his Toil and Strife; e'r he could make
The Ground give fertile Answer to his sweat.
Nor sought the righteous Earth alone to take
This vengeance on his Crime: but all the great
Cognations of Beasts, Birds and Reptiles broke
Off from their sullen necks his regal yoke.
Those who were able, mustered up their might
Him in their Maker's quarrel to persue:
The weaker from his presence sped their flight
Professing now they knew no homage due.
Thus by their fury those, these by their fear
Equally frightful and vexatious were.
No friend he had but Her who did betray
Him to that need of friends, unhappy Eve:
Yet must the reaping of his sweetest Joy
Of what was sweeter Him and Her deprive:
Their gains unable were to quit the cost
For now their dear Virginity was lost.
Through many nauseous months poor Eve must pass
E'r she can to her hardest Travel come.
O who can tell the Pangs by which she was
Tortur'd and torn, when her impatient womb
It self unloaded! for the Curse was sure,
Nor could those Torments ever find a cure.
In sin conceiving she brought forth in pain,
And with Pollution dy'd her Progeny:
Through all Successions her anneiled Stain
Still propagates its own Deformity,
And all her Heirs binds in an obligation
Of Death, and what is deadlier, Damnation.
Besides, the peevish and importunate Itch
Of restless kicking at Heaven's gentle Law,
Proudly triumph'd its fretful Taint to stretch
Through all the Current of her Blood; which now
In humane veins so madly boileth, as
Proves that it kindled at Hell's furnace was.
Thus when infused Death lives in the Spring,
All those invenom'd streams which from it run,
How far or wide soe'r they travel, bring
Along with them that first contagion:
The furthest Drop not knowing how to scape
The reach of that original Mishap.
Yet call not God unjust, who suffers thus
Poor harmless Babes e'r they be born, to die:
Unsinning Sinners; strangely vicious,
Not by their Faults but their Affinity:
He's righteous still and kind; and knows a way
Through Wrath and Judgment, Mercy to display.
No Plot of Satan's spight must undermine,
Or make a breach in His Creation's frame.
Nature shall still proceed, and Heaven's Design
Of Man's Felicity persist the same.
Godlike it is indeed Fate's scales to turn,
And make them Blest who to a Curse were born.
Blest with more generous and victorious Bliss
Than if the Curse's brand had never seal'd
Them up in slavery to Death; thus his
Renown more glorious is who wins the field
After his Overthrow; than theirs who ne'r
Disaster's game, and Conquest's booty were.
The black Inheritance of Adam's Crime
As God permits to fall upon his Heirs:
So He provides to re-imbellish them
With fairer nobler portions, and repairs
The Damages which from their Parents' veins
They drew, by most invaluable gains.
In JESU's Blood such purging Power flows,
That from it's smallest Drop's alconquering face
Away fly both the Stains which blur the Boughs
And that which banes the Root of Humane Race.
And this dear Fountain in Decree was broach d
Long e'r the Soul by any Taint was touch'd.
They who desire't, may here refined be
Into a Claritude becoming that
High Paradise, of whose Felicity
Fair Eden only was the Shaddow: but
Such Blisses Scorners would themselves have thrown
To Hell, though Eve had never help'd them down.
And tell me Psyche, what thou thinkest now
Of thy Extraction, which from wretched Dust,
The scum of Earth, and game of winds, doth flow:
What of thy Kindred's rottenness, who must
Corruption for thy Mother own, and all
The Worms, which crawl in mire, thy Sisters call.
Yet Worms but to one only death are heirs,
A Death which quickly will it self destroy:
But thy Composure in its bosom bears
A living Poison, that may find a way
To kill thee with surviving Death, by which
Thy Torture to Eternity shall reach.
Think well on this, and if thou canst, be proud,
Who by the Pride of thy prime Parents art
With this destructive Portion endow'd,
And from thy Birth betroth'd to endless smart.
Think what vast gulfs of Distance fixed be
Twixt Majesty's great King, end worthless Thee.
[1702; Grosart (1880) 1:97-119]