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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 named them as they pass'd, and understood
Their nature; with such knowledge God indued
My sudden apprehension: but in these
I found not what methought I wanted still,
And to the heav'nly Vision thus presumed:
O by what name, for thou above all these,
Above mankind, or aught 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. In 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 thou 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 ordering. 1, with leave of speech implored,
342. Gen. ii. 19, 20.
And humble deprecation, thus reply'd:
Let not my words offend thee, Heav'nly Pow'r!
My Maker, ba 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 harmony or true delight?
Which must be mutual, in proportion due
Giv'n and received; but in disparity,
The one intense, the other still remiss
Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove
Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak
Such as I seek, fit to participate
All rational delight, wherein the brute
Cannot be human consort: they rejoice
Each with their kind; lion with lioness;
So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined;
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl 395
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 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 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 me inferior! infinite descents
Beneath what other creatures are to thee.
He ceased; I lowly answer'd: To attain
The height and depth of thy eternal ways,
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things!
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
418. Rom. xi. 33.
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 multiply'd
In unity defective, which requires
Collat❜ral love, and dearest amity.
Thou in thy secrecy, although alone,
Best with thyself accompany'd, seek'st not
Social communication; yet so pleased,
Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt 430 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 used
Permissive, and acceptance found; which gain'd 435
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,
My image not imparted to the brute,
Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee,
Good reason was thou freely should'st 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.
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 th' highth 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 in aid, and closed mine eyes.
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell
421. And through, &c. perfect, complete in all its parts. 453. A beautiful idea to express the cause of Adam'e deep s.eep.
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, 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,
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 infused
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before;
And into all things from her air inspired
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappear'd, 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, 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 ev'ry gesture dignity and love!
I overjoy'd, could not forbear aloud:
This turn hath made amends! Thou hast fulfill'd
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 tho' divinely brought; 500 462. Abstract; that is, the spirit was so separated from the body that it did not see things as before with its material organs of vision. 498. Gen. xxiii. 24.
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 retired,
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 approved
My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
I led her, blushing like the morn.
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
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.
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,
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,
Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else
Superior and unmoved; here only weak
Against the charm of beauty's pow'rful glance.
Or nature fail'd 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 bestow'd
Too much of ornament; in outward show
Elaborate; of inward, less exact.
502. The conscience; the knowledge of.
513. Taken from Homer, II. xiv. 347.
520. It was the custom of the ancients to light their bridal lamps when the evening star appeared.