"God Is Thy Law, Thou Mine"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 331

Context: The angels keep watch over the garden, but Satan enters it by overleaping the wall. Uriel tells Adam that he will seek out the alien spirit the next morning; he then slides down a sunbeam to the sun, which has descended below the earth. Evening comes on, and all the birds and beasts go to their beds except the nightingale, which sings throughout the night. Adam tells Eve that all things seek their rest; other creatures, except man, are idle through the day, as they have no specific duties to perform; therefore they need rest less than does man, who has his daily work, either physical or mental; it is this duty that dignifies man above the beasts. Adam says that he and Eve will have to be up at dawn to perform their pleasant work in the garden. He adds that there is more work than they can do to cultivate the garden, as there is a wanton growth that they have to hold in check; also they have to clean up the dropped blossoms and gums so that they can tread at ease. Meanwhile, night bids them take their rest. Eve, calling Adam her "author," since she was created from his rib, says that as God commands Adam, so man commands woman.

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Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease;
Meanwhile, as Nature wills, night bids us rest.
To whom thus Eve with perfect beauty adorned.
My author and disposer, what thou biddest
Unargued I obey; so God ordains,
God is thy law, thou mine; to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time,
All seasons and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glist'ring with dew. . . .

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