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But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not. To speak I tried, 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,
And

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 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 light; when answer none returu’d,
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,
Pensive I sat me down: there gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seized
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 moved
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And lived: 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 prepared.'
So saying, by the hand he took me, raised,

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 enclosed, with goodliest 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 the eye
Tempting, stirr’d in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd. Here had new begun
My wandering, 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

I am,'

Said mildly, ' Author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This Pařadise 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, expell’d from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced
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 renew’d:
'Not only these fair bounds, but all the earth
To thee 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 watery 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 cowering low
With blandishment; each bird stoop'd on bis wing.
I named 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 presumed:

“0, 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,
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 contentment find ?
Thus I, presumptuous; and the vision bright,
As with a smile more brightened, thus replied:

«What call'st thou solitude ? Is not the earth With various living creatures, and the air, Replenish’d, and all these at thy command

Their language and their ways? They also know,
And reason not contemptibly; with these
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realın is large.'
So spake the Universal Lord, and seem'd
Só ordering: I, with leave of speech implored,
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 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

W

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 answer’d, 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 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 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; But man by number is to manifest

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