In the fourth book: Night coming on, Adam and Eve discourse of going to their rest: their bower described; their evening worship. Gabriel drawing forth his bands of nightwatch to walk the round of Paradise, appoints two strong angels to Adam’s bower, less the Evil Spirit should be there doing some harm to Adam or Eve sleeping; there they find him at the ear of Eve, tempting her in a dream, and bring him, though unwilling, to Gabriel; by whom questioned, he scornfully answers, prepares resistance, but, hindered by a sign from Heaven, flies out of Paradise.
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 vapors 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 though unquiet rest. He, on his side
Leaning half-raised, with looks of cordial love,
Hung over her enamored, and beheld
Beauty, which, whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces;
Morning approached, Eve relates to Adam her troublesome dream;
[Satan appearing to Eve in her dream]
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?
[Adam] likes it not, yet comforts her:
So cheered he his fair spouse, and she was cheered,
But silently a gentle tear let fall
From either eye, and wiped them with her hair.
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their crystal sluice, he ere they fell
Kissed, as the gracious signs of sweet remorse
And pious awe, that feared to have offended.
They come forth to their day-labors; their morning hymn at the door of their bower. God to render Man inexcusable sends Raphael to admonish him of his obedience, of his free estate, of his enemy near at hand, who he is, and why his enemy, and whatever else may avail Adam to know.
[Adam speaks:] “Haste hither, Eve, and, worth thy sight, behold
Eastward among those trees what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another morn
Risen on mid-noon. Some great behest from Heaven
To us perhaps he brings, and will vouchsafe
This day to be our guest. But go with speed,
And what thy stores contain bring forth, and pour
Abundance, fit to honor and receive
Our heavenly stranger. Well we may afford
Our givers, their own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowed, where Nature multiplies
Her fertile growth, and by disburdening grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.”
Raphael comes down to Paradise, his appearance described, his coming discerned by Adam afar off, sitting at the door of his bower; he goes out to meet him, brings him to his lodge, entertains him with the choicest fruits of Paradise got together by Eve;
To whom the winged Hierarch replied:
“O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom
All things proceed, and up to him return,
If not depraved from good, created all
Such to perfection, one first matter all,
Indued with various forms, various degrees
Of substance, and, in things that live, of life;
But more refined, more spirituous, and pure,
As nearer to him placed or nearer tending,
Each in their several active spheres assigned,
Till body up to spirit, work, in bounds
Proportioned to each kind.”
Their discourse at table: Raphael performs his message, minds Adam of his state and of his enemy; relates at Adam’s request who that enemy is, and how he came to be so, beginning from his first revolt in Heaven, and the occasion thereof; how he drew his legions after him to the parts of the North, and there incited them to rebel with him, persuading all but only Abdiel a Seraph, who in argument dissuades and opposes him, then forsakes him.
Source of text: Wikisource.
Dartmouth’s superb annotated version in its John Milton Reading Room.
Pablo Auladell (2017) Paradise Lost, by John Milton, a graphic novel, Pegasus Books. ISBN 978 1 68177 362 9.
John Leonard (ed) (2000) Paradise Lost, John Milton, Penguin Classics. ISBN 978 0 140 42439 3.
Gordon Teskey (ed) (2005) Paradise Lost, John Milton, Norton Critical Editions. ISBN 978 0 393 92428 2.
Louis Schwartz (ed) (2014) The Cambridge Companion to Paradise Lost, Cambridge UP. ISBN 978 1 107 02946 0.