The Book of Genesis is mum about the first couple’s eating and dining habit. But Milton’s Paradise Lost presents Adam and Eve picnicking on the grass in Paradise. Of course, Milton does not use the word picnic or any such euphemism. He but knows the concept and uses it freely.
Since they had no means of cooking, Milton supposes that Adam and Eve were vegetarians and picnicked at every meal from available vegetation. Without a chair or table, the dined reclining on “damskt grass . . . under a tuft of shade.”
As with some couples at picnics, Adam and Eve become amorous. After dining, the first couple couples-up. Milton is circumspect about this, but their “endearing smiles” are a telltale sign of passion:
. . . by a fresh fountain side
They sat them down, and after no more toil
f thir sweet Gardning labour then suffic’d
To recommend coole Zephyr, and make ease
More easie, wholsom thirst and appitite
Moregratefu, to thir Supper Fruits they fell, Yeilded them, side-long as they sat recline
On th soft downie Bank damasket with flours:
The savourie pulp they chew, and the rinde
Still as they thirted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
Wanted, no youthful dalliance as beseems
Fair couple, linkt in happy nuptial League,
Alone as they. (Book IV)
After the Fall, life is not a picnic after the Fall, and the unhappy pair wanders out of Paradise through the Eastern Gate into the world.
Featured Image: Gustave Doré. Adam and Eve
See John Milton. Paradise Lost. 1998 ed., edited by Roy Flannagan. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998; Milton’s Paradise Lost, illustrated by Gustave Doré ; edited with notes and a life of Milton by Robert Vaughan’ (London & New York, Cassell, Petter, and Galpin) n.d.