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So ordering. I, with leave of speech implored,
And humble deprecation, thus replied:
Let not my words offend thee, heavenly Power,
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 harmony, or true delight?
Which must be mutual, in proportion due
Given 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,
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;
Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.
Whereto the Almighty answer'd, not displeased i 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 thinkst 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 Shouldst 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, seekst not
Social communication; yet so pleased
Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt
Of union or communion, deified;
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
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 shouldst dislike,
And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest,
Knew it not good for man to be alone,
And no such company as then thou sawest
Intended thee, for trial only brought,
To see how thou couldst judge of fit and meet.
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured,
Thy likeness, Ihy 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 heavenly overpower'd,
Which it had long stood under, strain'd to the height
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
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 hfe-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, whicn 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 heavenly Maker, though unseen,
And guided by his voice, nor uninform'd
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites:
Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye,
In every 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, though divinely brought,
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 tum'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: 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
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 evening star
On his hill-top to light the bridal lamp.
Thus I have 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 flowers, 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