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No. 327 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

No. 327
Saturday, March 15, 1712. Addison.

Major rerum mihi nascitur ordo.

Virg.

We were told in the foregoing Book how the evil Spirit practised upon Eve as she lay asleep, in order to inspire her with Thoughts of Vanity, Pride, and Ambition. The Author, who shews a wonderful Art throughout his whole Poem, in preparing the Reader for the several Occurrences that arise in it, founds upon the above-mention’d Circumstance, the first Part of the fifth Book. Adam upon his awaking finds Eve still asleep, with an unusual Discomposure in her Looks. The Posture in which he regards her, is describ’d with a Tenderness not to be express’d, as the Whisper with which he awakens her, is the softest that ever was convey’d to a Lovers Ear.

His wonder was, to find unwaken’d Eve
With Tresses discompos’d, and glowing Cheek,
As through unquiet Rest: he on his side
Leaning half-rais’d, with Looks of cordial Love
Hung over her enamour’d, 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, whisper’d thus: Awake
My Fairest, my Espous’d, my latest found,
Heavns 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 tended 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 Sweets.

Such whispering wak’d 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 return’d—-

I cannot but take notice that Milton, in the Conferences between Adam and Eve, had his Eye very frequently upon the Book of Canticles, in which there is a noble Spirit of Eastern Poetry; and very often not unlike what we meet with in Homer, who is generally placed near the Age of Solomon. I think there is no question but the Poet in the preceding Speech remember’d those two Passages which are spoken on the like occasion, and fill’d with the same pleasing Images of Nature.

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my Love, my Fair one, and come away; for lo the Winter is past, the Rain is over and gone, the Flowers appear on the Earth, the Time of the singing of Birds is come, and the Voice of the Turtle is heard in our Land. The Fig-tree putteth forth her green Figs, and the Vines with the tender Grape give a good Smell. Arise my Love, my Fair-one and come away.

Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the Field; let us get up early to the Vineyards, let us see if the Vine flourish, whether the tender Grape appear, and the Pomegranates bud forth.

His preferring the Garden of Eden, to that

–Where the Sapient King
Held Dalliance with his fair Egyptian Spouse,

shews that the Poet had this delightful Scene in his mind.

Eves Dream is full of those high Conceits engendring Pride, which, we are told, the Devil endeavour’d to instill into her. Of this kind is that Part of it where she fancies herself awaken’d by Adam in the following beautiful Lines.
Why sleepst 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-labour’d Song; now reigns
Full orb’d the Moon, and with more [pleasing [1]] Light
Shadowy sets off the Face of things: In vain,
If none regard. Heavn wakes with all his Eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, Natures Desire,
In whose sight all things joy, with Ravishment,
Attracted by thy Beauty still to gaze!