Paradise Lost Book V
by John Milton

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Book V

 Now Morn, her rosy steps in the eastern clime 
Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl, 
When Adam waked, so customed; for his sleep 
Was aery-light, from pure digestion bred, 
And temperate vapours 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 unwakened 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 enamoured, 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, whispered 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 tender plants, how blows the citron grove, 
What drops the myrrh, and what the balmy reed, 
How nature paints her colours, how the bee 
Sits on the bloom extracting liquid sweet. 
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 returned; for I this night 
(Such night till this I never passed) have dreamed, 
If dreamed, 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 called me forth to walk 
With gentle voice;  I thought it thine: It said, 
'Why sleepest 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-laboured song; now reigns 
'Full-orbed 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 passed through ways 
That brought me on a sudden to the tree 
Of interdicted knowledge: fair it seemed, 
Much fairer to my fancy than by day: 
And, as I wondering looked, beside it stood 
One shaped and winged like one of those from Heaven 
By us oft seen; his dewy locks distilled 
Ambrosia; on that tree he also gazed; 
And 'O fair plant,' said he, 'with fruit surcharged, 
'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 offered good; why else set here? 
This said, he paused not, but with venturous arm 
He plucked, he tasted; me damp horrour chilled 
At such bold words vouched 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 impaired, but honoured more? 
'Here, happy creature, fair angelick Eve! 
'Partake thou also; happy though thou art, 
'Happier thou mayest 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 plucked; the pleasant savoury smell 
So quickened appetite, that I, methought, 
Could not but taste.  Forthwith up to the clouds 
With him I flew, and underneath beheld 
The earth...

(The entire section is 6,828 words.)