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Submiss : he rear'd me', and Whom thou sought'st
Said mildly; Author of all this thou seest
choice Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect 336 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, 340 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 345
O by what name, for thou above all these,
What call'st thou solitude ? Is not the earth
Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large. So spake the Universal Lord, and seem'd 376 So ord'ring. I, with leave of speech implor'd, And humble deprecation, thus reply'd :
Let not my words offend thee, Heav'nly Pow'r! 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 385 Giv'n 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
390 A 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: 396 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 400 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
405 From all eternity ? for none I know 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 height and depth of thy eternal ways, All human thoughts come short, Supreme of
things! Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee 415 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 Should’st propagate, already infinite, llo 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
425 Collat’ral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secrecy, although alone, Best with thyself accompany'd, seek'st not Social communication ; yet so pleas'd, Canst raise thy creature to what height 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
Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleas’d;
He ended, or I heard no more, for now