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Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair
475 And into all things from her air inspired The spirit of love and amorous delight. She disappeard and left me dark; I waked To find her or for ever to deplore Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
480 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, 485 And guided by his voice; nor uninform’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:
490 This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfill'd Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign,
Giver of all things fair! but fairest this
She heard me thus: and though divinely brought, Yet innocence, and virgin modesty,
501 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,
505 Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that seeing me she turn’d: I follow'd her; she what was honor knew, And with obsequious majesty approved My pleaded reason. To the ptial bower 510 I led her blushing like the morn: All Heaven And happy constellations on that hour Shed their selectest influence; the earth Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs 515 Whisper'd it to the woods, and from their wings Flung rose, flung odors 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.
520 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, 525 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,
540 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
545 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: 550 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
555 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: 560 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
565 Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest. For,what admir’st thou, what transports thee so? An outside? fair, no doubt, and worthy well Thy cherishing, thy honoring, and thy love; Not thy subjection. Weigh with her thyself, 570 Then value: Ofttimes 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:
575 Made so adorn for thy delight the more, So awful, that with honor thou mayest love Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind Is propagated, seem such dear delight
580 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. 585 What higher in her society thou find'st Attractive, human, rational, love still; In loving thou doest well, in passion not, Wherein true love consists not: Love refines The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat 590 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: 595 Neither her outside form’d so fair, nor aught In procreation common to all kinds (Though higher of the genial bed by far, And with mysterious reverence I deem,) So much delights me, as those graceful acts, 600
Those thousand decencies, that daily flow
610 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 615 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, Love's proper hue, Answer'd: Let it suffice thee that thou know'st 620 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 membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars; 625 Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace, Total they mix, union of pure