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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Eve Relates her First Meeting with Adam
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
From ‘Paradise Lost

“THAT day I oft remember, when from sleep
I first awaked, and found myself reposed
Under a shade, on flowers, much wondering where
And what I was, whence thither brought, and how.
Not distant far from thence, a murmuring sound        5
Of waters issued from a cave, and spread
Into a liquid plain; then stood unmoved,
Pure as the expanse of heaven. I thither went
With unexperienced thought, and laid me down
On the green bank, to look into the clear        10
Smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky.
As I bent down to look, just opposite
A shape within the watery gleam appeared,
Bending to look on me. I started back,
It started back; but pleased I soon returned,        15
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love. There I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire,
Had not a voice thus warned me: ‘What thou seest,
What there thou seest, fair creature, is thyself;        20
With thee it came and goes: but follow me,
And I will bring thee where no shadow stays
Thy coming, and thy soft embraces—he
Whose image thou art: him thou shalt enjoy
Inseparably thine; to him shalt bear        25
Multitudes like thyself, and thence be called
Mother of human race.’ What could I do,
But follow straight, invisibly thus led?
Till I espied thee, fair indeed, and tall,
Under a platane: yet methought less fair,        30
Less winning soft, less amiably mild,
Than that smooth watery image. Back I turned;
Thou, following, cried’st aloud, ‘Return, fair Eve:
Whom fliest thou? Whom thou fliest, of him thou art,
His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent        35
Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart,
Substantial life, to have thee by my side
Henceforth an individual solace dear:
Part of my soul I seek thee, and thee claim
My other half.’ With that thy gentle hand        40
Seized mine; I yielded, and from that time see
How beauty is excelled by manly grace
And wisdom, which alone is truly fair.”
  So spake our general mother, and with eyes
Of conjugal attraction unreproved,        45
And meek surrender, half-embracing leaned
On our first father; half her swelling breast
Naked met his, under the flowing gold
Of her loose tresses hid. He, in delight
Both of her beauty and submissive charms,        50
Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter
On Juno smiles when he impregns the clouds
That shed May flowers, and pressed her matron lip
With kisses pure. Aside the Devil turned
For envy; yet with jealous leer malign        55
Eyed them askance.
 
 
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