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To whom thus Adam, clear'd of doubt, replied.
“ How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure
Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene,
And, freed from intricacies, taught to live
The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts
To interrupt the sweet of life, from which
God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares,
And not molest us, unless we ourselves
Seek them with wandering thoughts, & notions vain,
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Uncheck d, and of her roving is no end;
Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learns,
That not to know at large of things remote
From use, obscure, and subtle, but to know
That which before us lies in daily life,
Is the prime wisdom; what is more is fume
Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,
And renders us, in things that most concern,
Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.
Therefore, from this high pitch, let us descend
A lower flight, and speak of things at hand,
Useful; whence, haply mention may arise
Of something not unreasonable to ask,
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour deign'd.
“ Thee I have heard, relating what was done
Ere my remembrance : now hear me relate
My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard,
And day is not yet spent ; till then, thou seest
How subtly to detain thee I devise,
Inviting thee to hear while I relate ;
Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
For while I sit with thee, I seem in. Heaven;
And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear
Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst
And hunger both, from labour, at the hou
Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine
Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.”
To whom thus Raphael answer'd, heavenly meek.
“Nor are thy lips ungraceful, sire of men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd,
Inward and outward both, his image fair :
Speaking or mute, all comeliness and grace
Attends thee, and each word, each motion forms;
Nor less think we in eaven of thee on Earth,
Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire
Gladly into the ways of God with man :
For God, we see, hath honour'd thee, and set
On man his equal love. Say therefore on;
For I that day was absent, as befel,
Bound on a voyage uncouth, and obscure,
Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell,
Squared in full legion ; such command we had,
To see that none thence issued forth a spy,
Or enemy, while God was in his work,
Lest he, incens'd at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mix’d.
Not that they durst, without his leave, attempt ;
But us he sends upon his high behests
For state, as sovereign King, and to inure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut
The dismal gates, and barricado'd strong;
But, long ere our approaching, heard within
Noise, other than the sound of dance or song,
Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we return’d up to the coasts of light,
Ere sabbath evening : so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend,
Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine."
So spake the Godlike Power ; & thus our sire.
“For man to tell how human life began
Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
Desire with thee still longer to converse
Induced me. As new waked from soundest sleep,
Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid,
In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun
Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward Heaven my wond'ring eyes I turn'd,
And gazed awhile the ample sky; till raised
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet : about me round I saw
Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these,
Creatures that lived, and moved, & walked, or flew;
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;
With fragrance, and with joy my heart o'erflow'd.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
Survey'd ; & sometimes went, & sometimes ran
With supple joints, and lively vigour led ;
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I tried, & forthwith spake;
My tongue obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. . Thou Sun,' said I, ' fair light,
And thou enlighten'd Earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills, and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in power pre-eminent;
Tell me how I may know him, how adore,
From whom I have that thus I move and live,
And feel that I am happier than I know.'
While thus I calld, & stray'd, 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 drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought I then was passing to my former state,
290 Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve ; 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, 295 And said, “ Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, First man, of men innumerable ordain'd First father ; callid 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 Loaded with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite To pluck and eat: whereat I wak’d, & 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, Presence divine. Rejoicing, but with awe, In adoration at his feet I fell,
315 Submiss : he rear'd me &,' whom thou sought'st I am,' Said mildly; ' Author of all this thou seest, Above, or ound about thee, or beneath This Paradiso. I give thee, count it thine,
To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat :
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,
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,
From that day mortal, and this happy state
Shalt lose, expellid from hence, into a world
Of wo and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my
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,
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
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,
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 :
“O by what name, for thou, above all these,
Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher,
Surpassest far my naming, how may I
Adore thee, Author of this universe,
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 earth
With various living creatures, and the air
Replenishd, and all these, at thy command,
To come & 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 seemd
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 I speak,
Such as I seek, fit to participate
All rational delight, wherein the brute
Cannot be human consort : they rejoice
Each with their kind, lion and 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, & least of all.'
Whereto the Almighty answer'd, not displeas'd.
“A nice and subtle happiness, I see,
Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice
Of thy associates, Adam, and wilt taste
No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary.
What think'st thou then of me, & this my
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 convérse,
Save with the creatures which I made, & those
To me inferior, infinite descents
Beneath what other creatures are to thee?'
* He ceased, I lowly answer'd. • To attain The height and depth of thy eternal ways,