Page images

With their attendant moons, thus wilt descry, How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Communicating male and female light; Inviting thee to hear while I relate,
Which too great sexes animate the world, Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply;
Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live. For while 1 sit with thee, I seem in Heaven;
For such vast room in nature unpossessed And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
By living soul, desert and desolate,

Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute

And hunger both, from labour, at the hour Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, Down to this habitable, which returns

Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace diLight back to them, is obvious to dispute.

But whether thus these things, or whether not; Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety."
Whether the sun, predominant in Heaven, To whom thus Raphael answered, heavenly
Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun;

He from the east his flaming road begin; “Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men,
Or she from west her silent course advance, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps Abundantly his gifts hath also poured
On her soft axle, while she paces even,

Inward and outward both, his image fair:
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along; Speaking or mute, all comeliness and grace
Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; Attends thee, and each word, each inotion forms;
Leave them to God above; him serve and fear; Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on earth
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,

Than our fellow-servant, and inquire Wherever placed, let him dispose : joy thou Gladly into the ways of God with man: In what he gives to thee, this Paradise For God, we see, hath honoured thee and set And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high On man his equal love: say therefore on; To know what passes there; be lowly wise: For I that day was absent, as befell, Think only what concerns thee and thy being; Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there Far on excursion toward the gates of hell; Live, in what state, condition or degree; Squared in full legion (such command we had) Contented that thus far hath becn revealed, To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Not of earth only, but of highest Heaven.” Or enemy, while God was in his work;

To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied, Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure Destruction with creation might have mixed; Intelligence of Heaven, angel serene ?

Not that they durst without his leave attempt, And freed from intricacies, taught to live But us he sends upon his high behests The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts For state, as sovereign King, and to insure To interrupt the sweet of life, from which Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong; And not molest us unless we ourselves

But long ere our approaching heard within Seek them with wand'ring thoughts, and notions Noise other than the sound of dance or song, vain.

Torment, ard loud lament, and furious rage. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove

Glad we returned up to the coasts of light Unchecked, and of her roving is no end; Ere sabbath evening: so we had in charge. Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn, But thy relation now; for I attend, That not to know at large of things remote Pleased with thy words no less than thou with From use, obscure and subtle, hut, to know

mine.” That which before us lies in daily life,

So spake the godlike power, and thus our sire: Is the prime wisdom: what is more, is fume, “For man to tell how human life began, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,

Is hard; for who himself beginning knew? And renders us, in things that most concern,

Desire with thee still longer to converse Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek. Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep, Therefore from this high pitch let us descend Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, A lower flight, and speak of things at hand In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun Useful; whence haply mention may arise Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed. Of something not unseasonable to ask, Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. turned Thee I have heard relating what was done And gazed awhile the ample sky; till, raised Ere my remembrance: now hear me relate By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; As thitherward endeavouring, and upright And day is yet not spent; till then thou seest Stood on my feet: about me round I saw

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, Said mildly, ' Author of all this thou seest
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these, Above, or round about thee, or beneath,
Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or This Paradise I give thee, count it thine

To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat:
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled; Of every tree that in the garden grows
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed. Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb But of the tree whose operation brings
Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
With supple joints, as lively vigour led: The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith,
But who I was, or where, or from what cause, Amid the garden by the tree of life,
Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake; Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
My tongue obeyed, and readily could name And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
Whate'er I saw, ‘Thou sun,' said I, 'fair light, The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command
And thou enlightened earth, so fresh and gay, Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains, From that day mortal, and this happy state
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell, Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world
Tell, if ye saw, low came I thus, how here? Of wo and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced
Not of myself; by some great Maker then, The rigid interdiction, which resounds
In goodness and in power pre-eminent: Yet dreadful in mine ear, though my choice
Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect
From whom I have that thus I move and live, Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewea.
And feel that I am happier than I know.' · Not only these fair bounds, but all the earth
While thus I called, and strayed, I knew not whi- To thee and to thy race I give: as lords

Possess it, and all things that therein live,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl.
This happy light, when, answer none returned, In sign whereof each bird and beast behold
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers After their kinds; I bring them to receive
Pensive 1 sat me down; there gentle sleep

From thee their names, and pay thee fealty
First found me, and with soft oppression seized With low subjection; understand the same
My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought Of fish within their watery residence,
I then was passing to my former state

Not hither summoned, since they can not change Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:

Their element, to draw the thinner air.' When suddenly stood at my head a dream, As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold Whose inward apparition gently moved Approaching two and two; these cowering low My fancy to believe I yet had being,

With blandishment; each bird stooped on his And lived: one came, methought, of shape divine, wing. And said, “ Thy mansion wants thee Adam; rise, I named them, as they passed, and understood First man, of men innumerable ordained Their nature, with such knowledge God endued First father! called by thee, I come thy guide My sudden apprehension: but in these To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' I found not what methought I wanted still : So saying, by the hand he took me raised, And to the heavenly vision thus presumed. And over fields and waters, as in air

“O by what name, for thou above all these, Smooth sliding without step, last led me up Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, A woody mountain ; whose high top was plain, Surpasseth far my naming, how may I A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees Adore thee, Author of this universe, Planted, with walks, and bowers, that what I saw And all this good to man? for whose well being Of earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each So amply, and with hands so liberal, tree,

Thou hast provided all things: but with me
Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye I see not who partakes. In solitude
Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite What happiness, who can enjoy alone,
To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found Or, all enjoying, what contentment find ?'
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream

Thus I presuinptuous; and the vision bright,
Had lively shadowed: here had new begun As with a smile more brightened, thus replied:
My wandering, had not he, who was my guide "What call'st thou solitude? is not the earth
Up hither, from among the trees appeared, With various living creatures, and the air,
Presence divine. Rejoicing, but with awe, Replenished, and all these at thy command
In adoration at his feet I fell

To come and plav before thee? knowest thou not Submiss: he reared me, and whom thou sought'st Their language and their ways ? they also know, I am,

And reason not contemptibly : with these

[ocr errors]


Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.' Of union or communion, deified:
So spake the universal Lord, and seemed I, by conversing, can not these erect
So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored, From prone; nor in their ways complacence find.
And humble deprecation, thus replied.

Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used "Let not my words offend thee, heavenly Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained power:

This answer from the gracious voice divine. My Maker, be propitious while I speak.

"Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased; Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, And find knowing, not of beasts alone, And these inferior far beneath me set?

Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself; Among unequals what society

Expressing well the spirit within thee free, Can sort, what harmony or true delight? My image, not imparted to the brute; Which must be mutual, in proportion due Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee Given and received; but in disparity,

Good reason wast thou freely shouldst dislike; The one intense, the other still remiss,

And be so minded still: 1, ere thou spak'st, Can not well suit with either, but soon prove Knew it not good for man to be alone, Tedious alike; of fellowship I'speak

And no such company as then thou saw'st Such as I seek, fit to participate

Intended thee, for trial only brought, All rational delight, wherein the brute

To see how thou could'st judge of fit and meet: Can not be human consort; they rejoice What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, Each with their kind, lion with lioness;

Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.' Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl 'He ended, or I heard no more; for now So well converse, nor with the ox the ape : My earthly by his Heavenly overpowered, Worse then can man with beast, and least of all. Which it had long stood under, strained to th' “Whereto th' Almighty answered, not dis- height pleased.

In that celestial colloquy sublime, "A nice and subtle happiness, I see,

As with an object that excels the sense, Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice

Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair Of thy associates, Adarn, and wilt taste

Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. By nature, as in aid, and closed mine eyes. What think’st thou then of me, and this my state? Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed

Of fancy, my internal sight, by which, Of happiness, or not? who am alone

Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw, From all eternity; for none I know

Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape Second to me or like, equal much less.

Still glorious before whom awake I stood; How have I then with whom to hold converse, Who, stooping, opened my left side, and took Save with the creatures which I made, and those From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, To me inferior, infinite descents

And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the Beneath what other creatures are to thee ?'

wound, “He ceased; I lowly answered. "To attain But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed : The height and depth of thy eternal ways

The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; All human thoughts come short, Supreme of Under his forming hands a creature grew, things!

Manlike, but different sex; so lovely fair, Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed Is no deficience found ; not so is man, But in degree; the cause of his desire

Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained By conversation with his like to help,

And in her looks, which from that time infused Or solace his defects. No need that thou Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before, Should'st propagate, already infinite,

And into all things from her air inspired And through all numbers absolute, though one; The spirit of love and amorous delight. But man by number is to manifest

She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked His single imperfection, and beget

To find her, or for ever to deplore Like of his like, his image multiplied,

Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure: In unity defective, which require

When out of hope, behold her, not far off, Collateral love, and dearest amity

Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned Thou in thy secrecy, although alone,

With what all earth or Heaven could bestow Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not To make her amiable : on she came, Social communication ; yet, so pleased, Led by her Heavenly Maker, though unseen, Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt | And guided by his voice; nor uninformed


Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites: In outward also her resembling less
Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, His image who made both, and less expressing
In every gesture dignity and love.

The character of that dominion given
I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud.

O'er other creatures : yet when I approach ** This turn hath made amends; thou hast ful- Her loveliness, so absolute she seems, filled

And in herself complete, so well to know Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, Her own, that what she wills to do or say, Giver of all things fair! but fairest this Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best; Of all thy gifts! nor enviest. I now see All higher knowledge in her presence falls Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her Before me; woman is her name, of man Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows; Extracted: for this cause he shall forego Authority and reason on her wait, Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; As one intended first, not after made And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.' Occasionally; and, to consummate all, "She heard me thus, and, though divinely Greatness of mind, and nobleness, their seat brought,

Build in her loveliest, and create an awe Yet innocence and virgin modesty,

About her, as a guard angelic placed.” Her virtue and the conscience of her worth, To whom the angel, with contracted brow. That would be wooed, and not unsought be won,

" Accuse not nature, she hath done her part; Not obvious, not obstrusive, but retired, Do thou but thine; and be not diffident The more desirable ; or, to say all,

Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh, Wrought in her so, that

, seeing me, she turned: By attributing over much to things I followed her; she what was honour knew, Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv’st. And with obsequious majesty approved

For what admirest thou, what transports thee so, My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower An outside ? fair, no doubt, and worthy well I led her blushing like the morn: all Heaven, Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; And happy constellations, on that hour Not thy subjection: weigh with her thyself; Shed their selectest influence; the earth Then value: ofttimes nothing profits more Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill ; Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs Well managed; of that skill the more thou knowWhispered it to the woods, and from their wings est, Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub, The more she will acknowledge thee her head, Disporting, till the amorous bird of night And to realities yield all her shows: Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening star Made so adorn for thy deliget the more, On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp. So awful, that with honour thou may'st love

"Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise: My story to the sum of earthly bliss,

But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind Which I enjoy; and must confees to find Is propagated, seem such dear delight In all things else, delight indeed, but such Beyond all other, think the same vouchsafed As, used or not, works in the mind no change, To cattle and each beast; which would not be Nor vehement desire ; these delicacies,

To them made common and divulged, if aught I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue flowers,

The soul of man, or passion in him move. Walks, and the melody of birds : but here What higher in her society thou find’st Far otherwise, transported I behold,

Attractive, human, rational, love still;
Transported touch; here passion first I felt, In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Commotion strange! in all enjoyments else Wherein true love consists not; love refines
Superior and unmoved; here only weak The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
Against the charm of beauty's powerful glance. In reason, and is judicious; is the scale
Or nature failed in me, and left some part By which to heavenly love thou may'st ascend,
Not proof enough such object to sustain; Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause
Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.”
More than enough ; at least on her bestowed To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied.
Too much of ornament, in outward show “ Neither her outside, formed so fair, nor aught
Elaborate, of inward less exact.

In procreation common to all kinds
For well I understand in the prime end (Though higher of the genial bed by far,
Of nature her th' inferior in the mind

And with mysterious reverence I deem)
And inward faculties, which most excel;

So much delights me, as those graceful acts,

[ocr errors]

Those thousand decencies, that daily flow pent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the morning go forth to From all her words and actions, mixed with love their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, And sweet compliance, which declare unseigned ger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should

each labouring apart; Adam consents not, alleging the dan. Union of mind, or in us both one soul;

attempt her, found alone; Eve, loath to be thought not cirHarmony to behold in wedded pair

cumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear. desirous to make trial of her strength; Adam at last yields; Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose

the serpent finds her alone; his subue approach, first gazing,

then speaking; with much tattery extolling Eve above all What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled,

other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, Who meet with various objects, from the sense asks how he attained to human speech and such understand. Variously representing: yet, still free,

ing not till now; the serpent answers, that by tasting osa certain Approve the best, and follow what I approve.

tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till To love thou blam’st me not, for love, thou say'st, then void of both; Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide : pent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments in

and finds it to be the tree of knowledge forbidden: the serBear with me then, if lawful what I ask: duces her at length to eat; she, pleased with the taste, delibeLove not the heavenly spirits, and how their love rates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam or not; at last Express they ? by looks only? or do they mix

brings him of the fruit; relates what persuaded her to eat

thereof; Adam, at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, reIrradiance, virtual or immediate touch ?"

solves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her; and, To whom the angel, with a smile that glowed extenuating the trespass, eats also of the fruit; the effects Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue,

thereof in them both; they seek to cover their nakedness; Answered. “Let it suffice thee that thou knowest then fall to variance and accusation of one another. Us happy, and without love no happiness. Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st, No more of talk, where God or angel guest (And purt thou wert created) we enjoy

With man, as with his friend, familiar used In eminence, and obstacle find none

To sit indulgent, and with him partake Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars ;

Rural repast : permitting him the while Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace, Venial discourse unblamed: I now must change Total they mix, union of pure with pure Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach Desiring; nor restrained conveyance need,

Disloyal; on the part of man, revolt, As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.

And disobedience: on the part of Heaven, But I can now no more; the parting sun

Now alienated, distance and distaste, Beyond the earth’s green cape and verdant isles

Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given, Hesperean sets, my signal to depart.

That brought into this world a world of wo, Be strong, live happy, and love! but, first of all, Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery, Him, whom to love is to obey, and keep

Death's harbinger: sad task ! yet argument His great command; take heed lest passion sway Not less, but more heroic than the wrath Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will

Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued Would not admit: thine, and of all thy sons,

Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage The weal or wo in thee is placed; beware!

Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused; I in thy persevering shall rejoice,

Of Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long And all the blest: stand fast; to stand or fall

Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son; Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.

If answerable style I can obtain Perfect within, no outward aid require;

Of my celestial patroness, who deigns And all temptation to transgress, repel.”

Her nightly visitation unimplored, So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus

And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires Followed with bencdiction.

“Since to part,

Easy my unpremeditated verse:
Go, heavenly guest, ethereal messenger, Since first this subject for heroic song
Sent from whose sovereign goodness I adore !

Pleased me, long choosing, and beginning late; Gentle to me and affable hath been

Not sedulous by nature to indite Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever

Wars, hitherto the only argument With grateful memory: thou to mankind

Heroic deemed; chief mastery to dissect Be good and friendly still, and oft return."

With long and tedious havoc, fabled knights So parted they; the angel up to Heaven

In battles feigned; the better fortitude From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.

Of patience and heroic martyrdom

Unsung; or to describe races and games,

Or tilting furniture, emblazoned shields,
Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds;

Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
Satan, having compassed the earth, with meditated guile At joust and tournament; then marshalled feast
returns, as a mist by night, into Paradise ; enters into the ser. Served up in hall with sewers, and seneschals;


« PreviousContinue »