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Of thy associates, Adam, and will 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 ceas'd, 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 perfet, 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
Shouldst 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 multipli’d,
In unity defective; which requires
Collateral love, and dearest amity.
Thou in thy secresy although alone,
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not
Social communication; yet so pleas’d,
Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt
Of union or communion, deifi’d;
I by conversing cannot these erect
From prone, nor in their ways complacence find.”
Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom us'd
Permissive, and acceptance found, which gain'd
This answer from the gracious Voice Divine.

«« Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleas'd, And find thee knowing not of beasts alone,




435 440

Which thou hast rightly nam’d, 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 shouldst 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 couldst judge of fit and meet:
What next I bring shall please thee, be assur’d,
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,

450 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,
Dazzld and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, call’d
By Nature as in aid, and clos'd mine eyes.
Mine eyes he clos'd, but op'n 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 op’nd my left side, and took

465 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,

470 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 infus'd Sweetness into my heart, unfelt re,

475 And into all things from her air inspir’d








The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappear'd, and left me dark; I wak'd
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
When out of hope, behold 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 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 retir’d,
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 approv'd
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

515 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.

520 “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 us’d or not, works in the mind no change,

525 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, Transported touch; here passion first I felt,

530 Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else Superior and unmov’d, here only weak Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance. Or Nature fail'd in me, and left some part Not proof enough such object to sustain,

535 Or from my side subducting, took perhaps More than enough; at least on her bestow'd Too much of ornament, in outward show Elaborate, of inward less exact. For well I understand in the prime end

540 Of Nature, her th' inferior, in the mind And inward faculties, which most excel; In outward also her resembling less His image who made both, and less expressing The character of that dominion giv'n

545 O’er other creatures; yet when I approach Her loveliness, so absolute she seems And in herself complete, so well to know Her own, that what she wills to do or say, Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best;

550 All higher knowledge in her presence falls Degraded; Wisdom in discourse with her





Loses discount'nanc't, and like Folly shows;
Authority and Reason on her wait,
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally; and to consummate all,
Greatness of mind and Nobleness their seat
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
About her, as a guard angelic plac't.'

To whom the angel with contracted brow.
Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine, and be not diffident
Of Wisdom, she deserts thee not, if thou
Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh,
By attributing overmuch to things
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st.
For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so?
An outside? fair no doubt, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,
Not thy subjection: weigh with her thyself ;
Then value: oft-times nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well manag'd; of that skill the more thou know'st
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield all her shows :
Made so adorn for thy delight the more,
So awful, that with honour thou may'st love
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.
But if the sense of touch whereby mankind
Is propagated seem such dear delight
Beyond all other, think the same voutsaft
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulg'd, if aught
Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
The soul of Man, or passion in him move.
What higher in her society thou find'st
Attractive, human, rational, love still ;
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Wherein true Love consists not; love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges, hath his seat





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