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Tell, if ye saw,
how I came thus, how here?-Not of myself; -by some great Maker then, In goodness and in power preeminent: Tell me how may I know him, how adore, 280 From whom I have that thus 1 move and live, And feel that I am happier than I knowWhile thus I call’d, and strayed I knew not whither, From where I first drew air, and first beheld This happy light; when answer none return'd, 285 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 drowsied sense, untroubled, though I thought I then was passing to my former state
290 Insensible, and forthwith to desolve: 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, 296 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,
300 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 305 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
310 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,
320 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, 325 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,
330 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 335 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, 340 Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl. In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold After their kind; I bring them to receive From thee their names, and pay thee fealty With low subjection; understand the same 345 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
for thou above all these,
365 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 Earth With various living creatures, and the air
370 Replenish'd, 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.
375 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.
380 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
395 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:
405 From all eternity; for none I know Second to me or alike, 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
410 Beneath what other creatures are to thee?
He ceased; 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 Shouldst propagate, already Infinite;
And through all numbers absolute, though One:
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,
440 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:
445 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,
450 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,
455 As with an object that excels the sense