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Man So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: craves Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl, a mate So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;

Worse, then, can man with beast, and least of all."


'Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased :"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 possessed

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 answered :—"To attain
The highth and depth of thy eternal ways
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of

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 emboldened spake, and freedom used
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained
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, 440
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 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.'

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He ended, or I heard no more; for now My earthly, by his heavenly overpowered, Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth

In that celestial colloquy sublime,

Adam falls into a trance

The As with an object that excels the sense, creation Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called

of Eve

By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes. 460
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, opened my left side, and took
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the

But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed.
The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands;
Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man-like, but different sex, so lovely fair
That what seemed fair in all the world seemed



Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained
And in her looks, which from that time infused
Sweetness into my heart unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspired
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappeared, 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, behold her not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned
With what all Earth and Heaven could bestow
To make her amiable. On she came,
Led by her Heavenly Maker, though unseen
And guided by his voice, nor uninformed
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites.


Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love.

To the nuptial bower


I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud :—
‹“This turn hath made amends; thou hast

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, my Self
Before me. Woman is her name, of Man
Extracted; for this cause he shall forgo
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

Yet innocence and virgin modesty,


Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,
That would be wooed, and not unsought be won,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired,
The more desirable-or, to say all,

Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought-
Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned.
I followed her; she what was honour knew,
And with obsequious majesty approved
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower 510
I led her blushing like the Morn; all Heaven,
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
Whispered 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 Evening-star


The On his hill-top to light the bridal lamp. power of 6 Thus have I told thee all my state, and passion 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,
Nor vehement desire-these delicacies

I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and

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 failed in me, and left some part
Not proof enough such object to sustain,
Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps
More than enough—at least on her bestowed
Too much of ornament, in outward show
Elaborate, of inward less exact.
For well I understand in the prime end
Of Nature her 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 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. 550
All higher Knowledge in her presence falls

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