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Of woe and sorrow. Sternly He pronounced
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice
Not to incur; but soon His clear aspect
Return'd and gracious purpose thus renew’d.
Not only these fair bounds, but all the earth
To thee and to thy race I give; as lords
Possess it, and all things that therein live,
Or live in sea, or air, beast, fish, and fowl.
In sign whereof each bird and beast behold
After their kinds; I bring them to receive
From thee their names, and pay thee fealty
With low subjection ; understand the same
Of fish within their wat’ry residence,
Not hither summon’d since they cannot change
Their element to draw the thinner air.
As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
Approaching two and two; these cow'ring low
With blandishment, each bird stoop'd on his wing.
I named them, as they pass’d, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God indued
My sudden apprehension : but in these
I found not what methoaght I wanted still ;
And to the heav'nly vision thus presumed.

O by what name, for thou above all these, Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, Surpassest far my naming, how may I

Ι
Adore thee, Author of this aniverse,
And all this good to man, for whose well being
So amply, and with hands so liberal,
Thou hast provided all things ? but with me
I see not who partakes. In solitude
What happiness, who can enjoy alone,
Or all enjoying what contentment find ?
Thus I presumptuous; and the vision bright,
As with a smile more brighten'd, thus replied.

What call'st thou solitude? Is not the earth
With various living creatures and the air
Replenish'd, and all these at thy command
To come and play before thee? Know'st thou not

:

Their language and their ways? They also know,
And reason not contemptibly; with these
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.

So spake the universal Lord, and seem'd
So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored,
And humble deprecation, thus replied.

Let not my words offend thee, heav'nly Power,
My Maker, be propitious while I speak.
Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,
And these inferior far beneath me set ?
Among unequals what society
Can sort, what harmony, or true delight?
Which must be mutual, in proportion due,
Given and received; but in disparity,
The one intense, the other still remiss,
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove
Tedious alike: of fellowship I speak

I
Such as I seek, fit to participate
All rational delight, wherein the brute
Cannot be human consort: they rejoice
Each with their kind, lion with lioness;
So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined;
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl,
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;
Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.

Whereto th' Almighty answer'd, not displeased. A nice and subtile happiness I see Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. What think'st thou then of me, and this my

state ? Seem I to thee sufficiently possest Of happiness, or not? who am alone From all eternity ; for none I know Second to me or like, equal much less. How have I then with whom to hold converse, Save with the creatures which I made, and those To me inferior, infinite descents Beneath what other creatures are to thee?

He ceased, I lowly answer'd. To attain

:

The highth and depth of thy eternal ways
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things,
Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee
Is no deficience found: not so is man,
But in degree, the cause of his desire
By conversation with his like to help,
Or solace his defects. No need that thou
Should’st propagate, already infinite,
And through all numbers absolute, though one..
But man by number is to manifest
His single imperfection, and beget
Like of his like, his image multiplied,
In unity defective, which requires
Collateral love, and dearest amity.
Thou in thy secrecy although alone,
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not
Social communication; yet so pleased
Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt
Of union or communion, deified;
I by conversing cannot these erect
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find.
Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom used
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gain'd
This answer from the grącious Voice Divine.

Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased,
And find thee knowing not of beasts alone,
Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself,
Expressing well the spirit within thee free,
My image, not imparted to the brute;
Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee
Good reason was thou freely should’st dislike,
And be so minded still: I, ere thou spak’st,
Knew it not good for man to be alone,
And no such company as then thou saw'st
Intended thee, for trial only brought,
To see how thou could'st judge of fit and meet.
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured,
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.

He ended, or I heard no more; for now

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My earthly by His heav'nly overpower'd,
Which it had long stood under, strain'd to the highth
In that celestial colloquy sublime,
As with an object that excels the sense,
Dazzled, and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, callid
By nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes."
Mine eyes He closed, but open left the cell
Of fancy my internal sight, by which
Abstract as in a trance methought I saw,
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
Still glorious before whom awake I stood;
Who stooping open'd my left side, and took
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,
But suddenly with flesh fill’d up and heal’d.
The rib he form'd and fashion'd with His hands;
Under His forming hands a creature grew
Manlike, but different sex, so lovely fair,
That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd
And in her looks, which from that time infused
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspired
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappear'd, and left me dark, I waked
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure.
When out of hope, benoid her, not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorn'd
With what all earth or heaven could bestow
To make her amiable : on she came,
Led by her heav'nly Maker, though unseen,
And guided by his voice, nor uninform’d
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites :
Grace was in all her steps, heav'n in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love.

i Gen. ii, 21.

I overjoy'd could not forbear aloud.

This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfillid Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, Giver of all things fair, but fairest this Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself Before me; woman is her name, of man Extracted; for this cause he shall forego Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.

She heard me thus, and though divinely brought, Yet innocence and virgin modesty, Her virtue and the conscience of her worth, That would be woo'd, and not unsought be won, Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired, The more desirable, or, to say all, Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that seeing me she turn'd; I follow'd her, she what was honour knew. And with obsequious majesty approved My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bow'r I led her blushing like the morn: all heav'n, And happy constellations on that hour Shed their selectest influence; the earth Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs Whisper'd it to the woods, and from their wings Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub, Disporting, till the amorous bird of night Sung spousal, and bid haste the ev’ning star On his hill top to light the bridal lamp.

Thus I have told thee all my state, and brought My story to the sum of earthly bliss, Which I enjoy, and must confess to find In all things else delight indeed, but such As, used or not, works in the mind no change, Nor vehement desire; these delicacies I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flow'rs, Walks, and the melody of birds : but here Far otherwise, transported I behold,

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