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Whose inward apparition gently moved
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And lived: one came, methought, of shape dirine,
And said, Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise,
First man, of men innumerable ordaind
First father! call'd by thee, I come thy guide
To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.
So saying, by the hand He took me raised
And over fields and waters, as in air
Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
A woody mountain ; whose high top was plain,
A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks, and bowers, that what I saw
Of earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree
Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye
Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat: whereat I waked, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd : here had new begun
My wand'ring, had not He, who was my guide
Up hither, from among the trees appear'd,
Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe,
In adoration at His feet I fell
Submiss : He rear'd me, and, Whom thou sought'st I am,
Said mildly, author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This paradise I give thee, count it thine
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat:
Of every tree that in the garden grows
Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
But of the Tree whose operation brings
Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith
Amid the garden by the Tree of Life,
Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
The day thou eat’st thereof, my sole command
Transgrest, inevitably thou shalt die;
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose, expellid from hence into a world
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 renewid.
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 methought 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
Adore thee, Author of this universe,
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 larga.
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,
Giv'n and received; but in disparity,
The one intense, the other still remiss,
Cannot well suit with either, but soon provo
Tedious alike: of fellowship I speak
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 P
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 angwer'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 gracious 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
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 tell on me, call'd
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,
Ard 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 ner, 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.