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“ 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 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 thinkst thou then of me, and this my statc ? " 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 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
Thou, in thy secresy, although alone,
“ 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 spakest, “ Knew it not good for man to be alone : “ And no such company as then thou sawst “ 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, thy fit help, thy other self,—
450 “ Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.'
“ He ended, or I heard no more; for now “My earthly by his heavenly overpowered, “Which it had long stood under, strained 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, called By nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes.
eyes closed, but open left the cell “Of fancy, my internal sight; by which,
“ Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw,
470 “ Man like, but different sex; so lovely fair, “ That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now
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 6. 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.
480 “When out of hope, behold her, not far off, “ Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned " 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 uninformed “Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites : “ Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, “ In every gesture dignity and love ! “ I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud :
490 6.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 “ 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, 500 “ Yet innocence, and virgin modesty,
“ Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth,
And, with obsequious majesty, approved
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
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub,
Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening star “On his hill top to light the bridal lamp.
520 “ 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 flowers, “ 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
540 “Of nature, her the inferior, in the mind
“ And inward faculties, which most excel;
Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her
Authority and reason on her wait, " As one intended first, not after made
Occasionally; and, to consummate all, “ Greatness of mind, and nobleness, their seat “ Build in her loveliest, and create an awe “ About her, as a guard angelic placed.”
To whom the Angel, with contracted brow: " Accuse not nature; she hath done her part: “Do thou but thine ; and be not diffident “ Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou “ Dismiss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh,
By attributing overmuch to things “ Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest.
For, what admirest thou, what transports thee so? “ An outside! fair, no doubt, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; “Not thy subjection : weigh with her thyself ; “ Then value: oft-times nothing profits more “ Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right, “Well managed; of that skill the more thou knowst, “ The more she will acknowledge thee her head, “ And to realities yield all her shows: “Made so adorn for thy delight the more, “ So awful, that with honour thou mayst love
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. “ But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind
Is propagated, seem such dear deligh