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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:

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“ 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 secresy, although alone, “ Best with thyself accompanied, seekst not “ Social communication; yet, so pleased, “ Capst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt 430 “ 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 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, —

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. Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell Of fancy, my internal sight; by which,

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“ Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw,

I “ 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 wound, “But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed : “ The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; “ Under his forming hands a creature grew,

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 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 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 “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,

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“ 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 “ 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

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“ 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 :
“ All higher knowledge in her presence falls

Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her
“ Loses discountenanced, and like folly shows:

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 delight “ Beyond all other; think the same vouchsafed

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