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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 eatest thereof, my sole command
Transgress'd, inevitably thou shalt die,
From that day mortal; and his happy state
Shalt lose, expelld 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 ; bnt 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 gea, 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.
And thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
Approaching two and two; these cowering low
With blandishment; each bird stoop'd on his 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 for my naming; how may I
Adore thee, Author of thiş universe,

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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 brighten'd thus replied :

What call'st thou solitude ? Is not the Eartli
With various living creatures, and the air
Replenished, 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
So 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 1 spake, Such as I seek, fit to participate 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 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,

S*

Whereto the Almighty answer’d, not displeased : A nice and subtle happiness, I see, Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice Of thy associates, Adain! 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 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 deficiance 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 This single imperfection, and beget Like of his like, his image multiplied In unity defective ; which requires Collateral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secrecy although alone, Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not Social communication ; yet, so pleased, Canst raise thy creature to what heighth thou wilt Of union or communion, deified : I, by conversing, cannot these erect From prone; nor in their ways complacence find. Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom used

Permissive, and acceptance found; which gaind This answer from the gracious Voice Divine:

Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased; And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone, Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself;. Expressing well the spirit within thee free, My image, not imparted to the brute; Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike ; And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest, Knew it not good for Man to be alone : And no such company as then thou saw'st Intended thee; for trial only brought, To see how thou couldst judge of fit and meet : What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.

He ended, or I heard no more ; for now My Earthly by his Heavenly overpower'd, Which it had long stood under, strain’d to the height 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 closed mine eyes. Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell, 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 opend my left side, and took From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound But suddenly with flesh fill'd up and heal'd : The rib he form'd and fashion'd with his hands ; Under his forming hands a creature grew, 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 infused
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspired
The spirit of love and amorous delight,
She disappear'd, and left me dark; I waked
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure :
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 Heavenly Maker, though unseen,
And guided by his voice ; nor uniform'd
Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites :
Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,
In every gesture dignity and love.
I, overjoy'd, could not forbear aloud :

This turn hath made amends ; thou hast falfill'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, ftesh of my flesh, myself
Before me; for this cause he shall forego
Father and mother, and to his wife adhere;
A’nd they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.

She heard me thus; and though divinely brought, Yet innocence, and virgin modesty, Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth, That would be woo'd, and not unsought to be won, Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired, The more desirable ; or, to say all, Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that seeing me she turn'd:

follow'd her; she what was honour knew, And with obsequious majesty approved

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