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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

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

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,

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;

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

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,

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

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

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,

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,

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

Eyed them askance.