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Said mildly, author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This Paradise I give thee, count it shine
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat : 320
Of every tree that in the garden grows
Eat freely with glad heart; for here no dearth:
Put 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, 330
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose, expellid from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow. Sternly he pronounc'd
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in

my

choice Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect Return'd, and gracious purpose thus renewd: Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth To thee and to thy race I give; as lords Possessit, and all things that therein live, 340 Or live in sea, or air, beast, fish, and fowl. In sign whereof cach bird and beast behold After their kinds; I bring them to receive From thee their names, and pay thee feälty 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 cowring low, 350
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 heav'nly Vision thus presum'd:

O by what name, for thou above all these,
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher,
Surpassest far my naming, how may I
Adore thee, author of this universe,

360
And all this good to man? for whose well being
So amply, and with hands 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 contentinent find ?
Thus I presumptuous, and the Vision bright,
As with a smile more brighten'd, thus reply'd :

What call'st thou Solitude ? is not the Earth With various living creatures, and the air 370 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

380

So ord'ring. I with leave of speech implor'd,
And humble deprecation, thus reply'd :
Let not

my words offend thee, heav'nly Power;
My Maker, be propitious while I speak.
Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,
And these inferior far bencath inc set ?
Among unequals what socicty
Can sort, what harmony'or true delight?
Which must be mutual, in proportion due
Giv'n and receiv'd; bat in disparity
The one intense, the other still remiss
Cannot well suit with either, but soon piore
Tedious alike: of fellowship I speak
Such as I seek, fit to participate

590 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 fowl 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 Ofthy associates, Adam, and wilt taste No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary. What think'st 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

400

Second to me or like, equal much less.
Who have I then with whom to hold converse
Save with the creatures which I made, and those
To me inferior, infinite descents

410 Beneath what other creatures are to thee?

He ceas’d, I lowly answer'd: to attain The heighth 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, 420 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 multiply'd, In unity defective, which requires Collateral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secrecy although alone, Best with thyself accompanied, seek'st not Social coinmunication, yet so pleas'd, Canst raise thy creature to what heighth thou wilt Of union or communion, deify'd;

431 I by conversing cannot these erect From prone, nor in their ways complacence find. Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom us’d 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 had rightly nam’d, but of thyself, Expressing well the spi'rit within thee free, 440 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 spak'si, Knew it not good for mun to be alone, And no such company as then thou saw'st Intended thee, for trial only brought, To see how thou could’st judge of fit and meet ; What next I bring shall please thee, be assur’d, 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 heav'nly overpower'd, Which it had long stood under, strain'd to th'

heighth 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 clos'd mine eyes. Mine eyes he clos’d, but open

left the cell 460 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 cook

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