Page images

From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the

But suddenly with flesh fill'd up and heald:
The rib he form'd and fashion'd with his hands ;
Under his forming hands a creature grew

470 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 spi'rit of love and amorous delight. She disappear’d, and left me dark; I wak'd 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, adorn'd With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow To make her amiable : on she came, Led by her heav'nly Maker, though unseen, And guided by his voice, nor uninform’d Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites : Grace was in all her steps, Heav'n in her eye, in

every gesture dignity and love. loverjoyd could not forbear aloud: 490

This turn hath made amends ; thou hast fulfill'd 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, Yet innocence and virgin modesty,

501 Her virtuc and the conscience of her worth, That would be woo'd, and not unsought be won, Not obvious, not obstrusive, but retir'd The more desirable, 'or to say all, Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that seeing me, she turn'd; I follow'd her, she what was honor knew, And with obsequious majesty approv'd My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower 510 I led her blushing like the Morn : all' Heav'n, 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 Whisper'd 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 clse delight indeed, but such

Ás us’d or not, works in the mind no change,
Nor vehement desire, these delicacies
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and

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 unmov’d, here only weak
Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance.
Or Nature fail'd 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 bestow'd
Too much of ornament; in outward show
Elaborate, of inward less exact.
For well I understand in the prime end 540
Of Nature her th’inferior, in the mind
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 tò do or say
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best;

550 All higher knowledge in her presence falls Degraded, Wisdom in discourse with her Loses discountenanc'd, 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 plac'd.

To whom the Angel with contracted brow: 560
Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part ;
Do thou but thinė, and be not diffident
Of Wisdom, she deserts thee not, if thou
Disiniss not her, when most thou need'st her nigh,
By attribúting overmuch to things
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st.
For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so,
An outside ? fair no doubt, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honoting, and thy love,
Not thy subjection : weigh with her thyself; 570
Then value: oft-times nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well manag:d ; of that skill the more thou know'st;
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield alt her shows :
Made to adorn for thy delight the more,
So awful, that with honor thou may'st love
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.
But if the serise of touch whereby mankind
Is propagated scem such dear delight 580
Beyond all other, think the same vouchsaf'd
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulg'd, if aught

[ocr errors]

Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
The soul of man, or passion in him moye.
What high'er in her society thou find'st
Attractive, human, rational, love still ;
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Wherein true love consists not; Love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges, hath his seat
In rea'son, and is judicious, is the scale 591
By which to heav'nly love thou may'st ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure, for which cause
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.

To whom thus half abash'd Adam reply'd :
Neither her outside form'd so fair, nor aught
In procreation common to all kinds
(Though higher of the genial bed by far,
And with mysterious reverence į deem)
So much delights me, as those graceful acts, 600
Those thousand decencies that daily flow
From all her words and actions mix'd with love
And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd
Union of mind, or in us both one soul ;
Harmony to behold in wedded pair
More grateful than harmonious sound to th' çar.
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd,
Who meet with various objects, from the sense
Variously representing ; yet still free 619
Approve the best, and follow' what I approve.
To love thou blam'st me not, for love thou say'st
Leads up to Heav'n, is both the way and guide ;

« PreviousContinue »