Thursday, January 30, 2014

Illustrations of Paradise Lost 9

The Temptation and Fall of Eve

From Book IX
Shee fair, divinely fair, fit Love for Gods,
490 Not terrible, though terrour be in Love
And beautie, not approacht by stronger hate,
Hate stronger, under shew of Love well feign'd,
The way which to her ruin now I tend.

So spake the Enemie of Mankind, enclos'd
495 In Serpent, Inmate bad, and toward Eve
Address'd his way, not with indented wave,
Prone on the ground, as since, but on his reare,

Circular base of rising foulds, that tour'd
Fould above fould a surging Maze, his Head
500 Crested aloft, and Carbuncle his Eyes;
With burnisht Neck of verdant Gold, erect
Amidst his circling Spires, that on the grass
Floted redundant: pleasing was his shape,
And lovely, never since of Serpent kind
505 Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
Hermione and Cadmus, or the God
In Epidaurus; nor to which transformd
Ammonian Jove, or Capitoline was seen,
Hee with Olympias, this with her who bore
510 Scipio the highth of Rome . With tract oblique
At first, as one who sought access, but feard
To interrupt, side-long he works his way.
As when a Ship by skilful Stearsman wrought
Nigh Rivers mouth or Foreland, where the Wind
515 Veres oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her Saile;
So varied hee, and of his tortuous Traine
Curld many a wanton wreath in sight of Eve,
To lure her Eye; shee busied heard the sound
Of rusling Leaves, but minded not, as us'd
520 To such disport before her through the Field,
From every Beast, more duteous at her call,
Then at Circean call the Herd disguis'd.
Hee boulder now, uncall'd before her stood;
But as in gaze admiring: Oft he bowd
525 His turret Crest, and sleek enamel'd Neck,
Fawning, and lick'd the ground whereon she trod.
His gentle dumb expression turnd at length
The Eye of Eve to mark his play; he glad
Of her attention gaind, with Serpent Tongue
530 Organic, or impulse of vocal Air,
His fraudulent temptation thus began.

Eating the Apple
wiki common 

Blake shows Eve, leaning against the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,  with the Serpent wrapped around her, eating the fruit offered to her by the snake.

In contrast Adam is looking away; the serpent has not bothered with him. (But you may remember that henceforth Adam and the serpent were both cursed.)

In Blake's myth and value structure the man is contemplative and the woman active, spiritual rather then material; we might suppose that this conforms to what we read in Genesis:

Chapter Two
[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
[16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
[17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
[18] And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
[19] And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
[20] And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
[21] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
[22] And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
[23] And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
[24] Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
[25] And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
[2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
[3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
[4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
[5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
[6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
[7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
[8] And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
[9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
[10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
[11] And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?[12] And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
[13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
[14] And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
[15] And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

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