« PreviousContinue »
Leave them to God above, him serve and fear;
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever plac'd, let him dispose : joy thou 170
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; Heav’n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise :
Think only what concerns thee and thy being :
Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there
Live, in what state, condition, or degree,
Contented that thus far hath been reveal'd
Not of earth only but of highest Heav'n.
To whom thus Adam, clear’d of doubt, reply'd : How fully hast thou satisfy'd me, pure
180 Intelligence of Heav'n, Angel serene, And freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, And not molest us, unless we ourselves Seek them with wand'ring thoughts, and notions vain. But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end ; Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learn, 190 That not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle, but to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom; what is more, is fume Or emptiness, or fond impertinence, And renders us in things that most concern Unpractis’d, unprepar’d, and still to seek,
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
Useful, whence haply mention
arise 200 Of something not unscasonable to ask By sufferance, and thy wonted favor deign'd. Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere
my remembrance: now hear me relate My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest How subtly to detain thee I devise, Inviting thee to hear while I relate, Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply: For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heav'n, 210 And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst And hunger both, from labor, at the hour Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill Though pleasant, but thy words with grace divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.
To whom thus Raphael answer'd heav'nly meek: Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of Men, Nor tongue ineloquent ; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd Inward and outward both, his image fair : Speaking or mute all comeliness and grace Attends thee, and each word, each motion forms; Nor less think we in Heav'n of thee on Earth Than of our fellow-servant, and enquire Gladly into the ways of God with inan: För God we see bath honor'd thee, and set
On man his equal love: say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, 230
Far on excursion tow’ard the gates of Hell ;
Squar'd in full legion (such command we had)
To see that none thence issued forth a spy,
Or enemy, while God was in his work,
Lest he incens'd at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mix’d.
Not that they durst without his leave attempt,
But us he sends upon his high behests
For state, as Sovran King, and to inure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut
The dismal gates, and barricado'd strong; 241
But long ere our approaching heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
Torment and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return'd up to the Coasts of Light
Ere sabbath evening : so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleas’d with thy words no less than thou with mine.
So spake the godlike Power, and thus our Sire :
For man to tell how human life began 250
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew ?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induc'd me. As new wak'd from soundest sleep
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dry'd, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Strait toward Heav'n my wond'ring eyes I turn'd,
And gaz'da while the ample sky, till rais’d
By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright 260
Stood on my feet; about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murm'ring streams; by these,
Creatures that liv'd and mov'd, or walk'd, or flew,
Birds on the branches warbling ; all things smilid,
With fragrance and with joy my heart o’erflow'd.
Nyself I then perus’d, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led;
But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 270
Knew not; to speak I try'd, and forthwith spake;
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
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,
ye that live and move, 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 præeminent :
Tell me, how may I know him, how adore 280
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
his happy light, when answer none return’d, On a green shady bank profuse of flowers
Pensive I sat me down; there gentle Sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state 290
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 liv'd: one came, methought, of shape divine,
And said, Thy mansion wants thee, Adam, rise.
First Man, of men innumerable ordain'd
First Father, called by thee I come thy guide
To the Garden of Bliss, thy seat prepar'd.
So saying, hy the hand he took me rais'd, 300
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, inclos’d, with godliest trees
Planted, with walks, and bowers, that what I saw
Of Earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree
Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to th' eye
Tempting, stirr’d in me sudden appetite,
To pluck and eat; whereat I wak'd and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream 310
Had lirely shadow'd : here had new begun
My wand'ring, had not he who was my guide
Up hither, 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