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My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
I led her blushing like the morn: all Heaven
And happy constellations on that hour
Shed their selecied influence; the Earth
Gave sign of gratulation, and each bill;
Joyous the birds: fresh gales and gentle airs
Whisperdit 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.
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 else delight indeed, but such
As, used or not, works in the mind no change,
Nor vehement desire; these delicacies
I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits and flowers,
Walks, and the melody of birds: but here
Far otherwise, transported I behold,
Transported touch; here passion first I felt,
Commotion strange! in all enjoyments else
Superior and unmoved; 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
Of nature her the 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 to do or say
Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best :
All higher knowledge in her presence falls
Degraded; wisdom in discourse with her
Loses discountenanced, 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 placed.
To whom the Angel with contracted brow:
Accuse not nature, she hath done her part;
Do thou but thine; and be not diffident
Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou
Dismiss not her, when most thou need’st her nigh?
By attributing overmuch to things
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest.
For, what admirest thou, what transports thee so
An outside ? fair, no doubt, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love;
Not thy subjection: weigh with her thyself;
Then value: Oftimes nothing profits more
Than self esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed, of that skill the more thou know'st
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield all her shows:
Made to adorn for thy delight the more,
So awful, that with honour thou mayest love
Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise
But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind
Is propogated, seem such dear delight
Beyond all other; think the same vouchsafed
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
'To them made common and divulged, if aught
Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
The soul of man, or passion in him move.
What higher 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 reason and is judicious; is the scale
By which to Heavenly love thou mayest 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 replied:
Neither her outside form'd so fair, nor aught
In procreation common to all kinds
(Though higher of the genial hed by far;
And with mysterious reverence I deem,)
So much delights me, as those graceful acts,
Those thousand decencies that caily 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 the ear.
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,
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blamest me not; for love, thou say'st
Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask:
Love not the Heavenly Spirits, and how their love
Express they? by looks only? or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?
To whom the angel, with a smile that glow'd
Celestial rosy red, loves proper hue,
Answer'd: Let it suffice thee that thou know's
Us happy, and without love no happiness
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy’st
(And pure thou wert created), we enjoy
In eminence ; and obstacle find none
Of membrance, joint, or limb, exclusive bars ;
Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring, nor restrain’d conveyance need,
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
Beyond the Earth's green cape and verdant isles
Hesperian sets, my signal to depart
Be strong, live happy, and love! But, first of all,
Him, who to love is to obey, and keep
His great command: take heed lest passion sway
Thy judgment to do aught, which else free will
Would not admit : thine, and of all thy sons,
The weal or wo in thee is placed : beware !
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the bless'd : Stand fast; to stand or fall
Free in thine own arbitrementit lies.
Perfect within, no outward aid require ;
And all temptation to transgress repel.
So saying, he arose ; whom Adam thus
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part,
Go, Heavenly guest, ethereal messenger,
Sent from whose sov’reign goodness I adore !
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be honor'd ever
With grateful memory : Thou to mankind
Be good and friendly still, and oft return !
So parted they ; the Angel up to Heaven
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.