« AnteriorContinuar »
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hour
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words with grace divine
Imbu’d, bring to their sweetness no satiety.'
To whom thus Raphael answer'd heav'nly meek.
Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also pour’d,
Inward and outward both, his image fair:
Speaking or mute all comeliness and grace
Attends thee, and each word, each motion forms;
Nor less think we in Heav'n of thee on Earth
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with Man:
For God we see hath honour'd thee, and set
On Man his equal love : say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell ;
Squar'd in full legion (such command we had)
To see that none thence issu'd forth a spy,
Or enemy, while God was in his work,
Lest he incenst at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mixt.
Not that they durst without his leave attempt,
But us he sends upon his high behests
For state, as sovran King, and to inure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut
The dismal gates, and barricado'd strong;
But long ere our approaching heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return'd up to the coasts of light
Ere sabbath ev'ning: so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleas'd with thy words no less than thou with mine.
So spake the godlike Power; and thus our sire.
For Man to tell how human life began
Is hard ; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induc'd me. As new wak't from soundest sleep
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dri’d, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward heav'n my wondring eyes I turn'd,
And gaz'd awhile the ample sky; till rais'd
By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet; about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
Creatures that liv’d, and mov'd, and walk’d, or few,
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smild, -
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perus’d, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, and lively vigour led :
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I tri'd, and forthwith spake,
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. “Thou Sun," said I, “fair light,
And thou enlighten'd Earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent;
Tell me, how I may know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know."
While thus I callid, and stray'd I knew not whither,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy light, when answer none return'd,
On a green shady bank profuse of flow'rs,
Pensive I sat me down; there gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My drowsed sense, untroubl’d, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve ;
When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And liv'd. One came, methought, of shape divine, 295
And said, “Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise,
First Man, of men innumerable ordain'd
First father, call’d by thee I come thy guide
To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepar'd.”
So saying, by the hand he took me raisid,
300 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, enclos’d, with goodliest trees Planted, with walks, and bowers, that what I saw 305 Of Earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree Load'n with fairest fruit that hung to the eye Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite To pluck and eat; whereat I wak'd, and found Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
310 Had lively shadow'd: here had new begun My wandring, 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
315 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 pronounc'd
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 watry 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 cowring low
With blandishment, each bird stoop'd on his wing.
I nam’d them, as they pass'd, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God endu'd
My sudden apprehension ; but in these
I found not what methought I wanted still ;
And to the Heav'nly Vision thus presum'd.
660 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 bright'nd, thus repli'd.
6" What call'st thou solitude ? is not the Earth
With various living creatures, and the air
Replenisht, 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 implor'd
And humble deprecation thus repli’d:
"“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 receiv'd; but in disparity
The one intense, the other still remiss
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove
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 combin'd;
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 displeas'd.
""A nice and subtle happiness I see Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice