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Disporting, till the amorous bird of night
Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening star
On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp.
Thus have I 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, 525
Nor vehement desire; these delicacies
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers,
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 unmoved; 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
Of Nature her the 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 doininion given
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 :
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded ; Wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows;
Authority and Reason on her wait,
As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally; and, to consummate all,
Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
About her, as a guard angelic placed.
To whom the Angel with contracted brow: 568
Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part;
Do thon but thino ; 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 . . 565
Less exellent, as thou thyself perceivest. . .
For, what admirest 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; 570
Then value : Ofttimes nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed; of that skill the more thou know'st,
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield all her shows: 1 575
Made so adorn for thy delight the more,
So awful, that with honour thou mayst 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
580 Beyond all other; think the same vouchsafed To cattle and each beast; which would not be To them made common and divulged, 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 refinos The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat 590 ha reason and is judicious; is the scale
By which to heavenly love thou mayst ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure ; for which cause,
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.
To whom thus, half abash’d, Adam replied: 595
Neither her outside form’d so fair, nor aught
In procreation common to all kinds
(Though higher of the genial bed by far,
And with mysterious reverence I deem,)
So much delights me, as those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies, that daily flow
From all her words and actions mix'd with love
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd
Union of mind, or in us both one soul;
Harmony to behold in wedded pair
605 More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd, Who meet with various objects, from the sense Variously representing; yet still free,
610 Approve the best, and follow what I approve. To love thou blamest me not; for Love, thou say'st, Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide : Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask : Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their love 615 Express they ? by looks only? or do they mix Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch ?
To whom the Angel, with a smile that glow'd Celestial rosy red, Love's proper hue, Answer'd: Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620 Us happy, and without love no happiness Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st (And pure thou wert created,) we enjoy In eminence; and obstacle find none Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars ; 625 Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, Total they mix, union of pure with pure. Desiring, nor restrain'd conveyance need, As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
Beyond the Earth's green Cape and verdant Isles
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart.
Be strong, live happy, and love! But, first of all,
Him, whom to love is to obey, and keep
His great command : take heed lest passion sway 635
Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will
Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons,
The weal or woe in thee is placed : beware!
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the bless'd : Stand fast; to stand or fall 640
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.
Perfect within, no outward aid require ;
And all temptation to transgress repel.
So saying, he arose ; whom Adam thus
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part, 645
Go, heavenly guest, ethereal Messenger,
Sent from whose sov'reign goodness I adore !
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever
With grateful memory : Thou to mankind
Be good and friendly still, and oft return!
So parted they; the Angel up to Heaven From the thick shade, and Adam to his bowor.
as a mist, by night into Paradise ; enters into the Serpent sleep ing. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to their laboure, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart: Adam consents not; alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone; Eve, loath to be thought not circumspect or firn enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirons to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields: The Serpent finds her alone; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking; with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the Serpent speak, asks how he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the Serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both: Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: The Serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments, induces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, deliberates awhile whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last brings
Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her: and, extenuating the trospass, eats also of the fruit; The effects thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With Man, as with his friend, familiar used,
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast ; permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and misery,
Death's harbinger : sad task ! yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued