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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 saving, by the band he took me rais'd, And over fields and waters, as in air Sinooth sliding without step, last led me up A woody mountain; whose high top was plain, A circuit wide, inclos'd with goodliest trees Planted, with walks and bow'rs, that what I saw Of earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree Loaden with fajrest fruit, that hung to these 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 Had lively shadow'd. Here had new begun My wand'ring, had not he who was iny 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 Transgress’d, 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 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 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.
O by what name, for thou above all these,
Above mankind, or ought 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. la 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 reply'd:
What call'st tbou 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 ord'ring. I, with leave of speech implor'd,
And humble deprecation, thus reply'd:
Let not my words offend thee, heav'nly Pow'r,
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 harinony 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 prore
Tedious alike. Of fellowship I speak
Such as I seek, fit to participate
All rational delight, wherein the bruto
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 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 possess'd 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 ine inferior, infinite descents Beneath what other creatures are to thee?
He ceas'd; I lowly answer'd: To attain The height and depth of thy eternal ways All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things i
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
Shouldst propagate, already infinite, -
And through all numbers absolute, though one;
But man by nuinber is to manifest
Ilis single imperfection, and beget
Like of his like, his image multiply,
In unity defective, which requires
Collateral love, and dearest àmity.
Thou in thy secrecy although alone,
Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not
Social communication; yet so pleas'd,
Canst raise thy creatures to what height thou wilt
of union or communion, deify'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,
Which thou hast rightly nam’d, but of thyself,
Expressing well the sprit 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,
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.
Ile ended, or 1 heard no more ; for now
My earthly, by his heav'nly overpower'd,
Which it had long stood under, strain'd to th' heighis
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, call'd
By nature as an aid, and clos'd mine eyes.
Mine eyes he clos'd, 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
Suill 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,
Man-like, 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 before,
And into all things from her air inspir'd
The sp’rit 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 ainiable: 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 fulfilled
Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign,
Giver of all things fair, but fairest this
Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see