Paradise Lost "Defaming As Impure What God Declares Pure"

John Milton

"Defaming As Impure What God Declares Pure"

Context: Adam and Eve finish their day's work of cultivating the garden. The time for rest has come, and all the beasts and birds seek repose except the nightingale, which sings throughout the night. Adam explains to Eve that man is dignified by having duties to perform; the lower animals are idle throughout the day. Eve indicates that whatever Adam commands is law to her. She comments on the beautiful evening, the fragrance of the air, and the glittering of the stars. She asks why the stars shine when all are asleep. This question leads Adam into explaining that millions of unseen spirits walk the earth in the starlight. With this explanation, they pass into their blissful bower, which is adorned with flowers; it is closed to the entry of any of the lower creatures. Adam praises the Omnipotent who created all things, and mentions that He has promised them that there will come a race from them to fill the earth, which shall extol the infinite goodness of God.

This said unanimous, and other rites
Observing none, but adoration pure
Which God likes best, into their inmost bower
Handed they went; and eased the putting off
These troublesome disguises which we wear,
Straight side by side were laid, nor turned, I ween,
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity and place and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase, who bids abstain
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail, wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety,
In paradise of all things common else.
. . .