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Whate'er I saw, Thou sun,' said I, "fair light,
And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills, and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
And ye that live and more, fair creatures tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent:
Tell me how may I know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move, and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know.'
While thus I call'd, and stray'd I knew not whither,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy liglit, when answer none return'd,
On a green shady bank, profuse of Aowers,
Pensive I sat me down. There gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve;
When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And livd. One came, methought, of shape divine,
And said, “Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise
First man, of men innumerable ordain'd
First father! call'd by thee I come thy guide
To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepar'd.'
So saying, by the band he took me rais'd,
And over fields and waters, as in air
Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
A woody mountain; whose high top was plain,
A circuit wide enclos'd; with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks and bowers, that what I saw
Of earth before scarce pleasant secm’d. Each tree
Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to 'th' eye
Tempting, stirrid in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat: whereat I wak'd, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd. Here had new begun
My wand'ring, bad not be, who was my guide
Up blther, from among the trees appear'd,
Presence divine. Rejoicing, but with awe,
In adoration at his feet I fell
Submiss; he rear'd me, and, · Whom thou sought'st
Said mildly, ' Author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This Paradise I give thee, count it thine
To till, and keep, and of the fruit to eat :
Of every tree that in the garden grows
Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth;
But of the tree whose operation brings
Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set
The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith,
Amid the garden by the tree of life,
Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste,
And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command
Transgress'd, inevitably thou shalt die,
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose expelld from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow. Sternly he pronounc'd
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though iń my choice
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 thèe 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 nam'd them, as they pass'd, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God endued
My sudden apprehension. But in these
I found not what methought I wanted still :
And to the heavenly vision thus presum'd :
"O by what name, for thou above all these,
Ábove mankind, or ought 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 bands 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 replied :
• What call'st thou solitude ? is not the earth
With various living creatures, and the ait,
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 ord'ring. I with leave of speech implor'd,
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 receiv'd; 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 combin'd :
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fow)
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'displeas'd :
• 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 mý stale ?
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 wbich I made, and those
To me inferior, infinite descents
Benith what other creatures are to thee.'
“ He ceas'd. 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, and image multiplied, In unity defective, which requires Collateral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secresy, although alone Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not Social communication, yet, so pleas'd, Canst raise thy creatures 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 pleas'd
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 spakest,
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 thcu couldst judge of fit and meet.
What next I bring shall please thee, be assured,
Thy likeness, thy fit belp, 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, callid
By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes.
Mine eyes be closed, but open left the cell
Of fancy, my internal sight; by which,
Abstract as in a trance, methought 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 be 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 infus'd
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspir'd
The spirit of love and amorous delight.