The Reading Room
A Dinner Party for Your Thanksgiving
One of the most famous dinner parties in literature occurs in Book Five of Milton's Paradise Lost. Eve is busily preparing the evening meal when Adam comes running to tell her that the Angel Raphael is arriving to join them. Adam then tells Eve to check the pantry and see what she has stored up for their unexpected guest.
Eve calmly reminds Adam that they live in Eden, where everything is always ripe at the same time, and that there's no need to have a pantry, except for the few foods that are improved by long storage. (I've always read this as a slightly comic domestic scene. No one wants advice when they're making dinner...especially not for an angel!)Please enjoy Adam and Eve's dinner party here, and enjoy your own this week.
And Eve within, due at her hour prepar’dFor dinner savourie fruits, of taste to please
True appetite, and not disrelish thirst
Of nectarous draughts between, from milkie stream,
Berrie or Grape: to whom thus Adam call’d.
Haste hither Eve, and worth thy sight behold
Eastward among those Trees, what glorious shape
Comes this way moving; seems another Morn
Ris’n on mid-noon; som great behest from Heav’n
To us perhaps he brings, and will voutsafe
This day to be our Guest. But goe with speed,
And what thy stores contain, bring forth and poure
Abundance, fit to honour and receive
Our Heav’nly stranger; well we may afford
Our givers thir own gifts, and large bestow
From large bestowd, where Nature multiplies
Her fertil growth, and by disburd’ning grows
More fruitful, which instructs us not to spare.
To whom thus Eve. Adam, earths hallowd mould,
Of God inspir’d, small store will serve, where store,
All seasons, ripe for use hangs on the stalk;
Save what by frugal storing firmness gains
To nourish, and superfluous moist consumes:
But I will haste and from each bough and break,
Each Plant & juciest Gourd will pluck such choice
To entertain our Angel guest, as hee
Beholding shall confess that here on EarthGod hath dispenst his bounties as in Heav’n.