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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 Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, my self Before me; woman is her name, of man Extracted; for this cause he shall forego Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; And 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 be won,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retir'd,
The more desirable, or, to say all,

Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought,
Wrought in her so, that seeing me she turn'd;
I follow'd her, she what was honour knew,
And with obsequious majesty approv'd

488 heaven] Fletcher's Philaster, act iii. scene 1.
'How Heaven is in your eyes.' Todd.

495

501

505

502 conscience] For consciousness. So Cic. de Senectute: 'Conscientia bene actæ vitæ jucundissima est,' and in the English version of the Bible, Heb. x. 2. 'Should have no more conscience of sins.' Pearce.

My pleaded reason. To the nuptial bower
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
Whisper'd it 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 I have 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, us'd 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 unmov'd, 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,

511 blushing] Fletcher's F. Shepherd, act i. scene 1. 'O you are fairer far

Than the chaste blushing morn.' Todd.

515 birds] Herds. Bentl. MS.

510

515

520

525

530

535

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 th' 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 discountenanc'd, 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 plac'd.

To whom the angel with contracted brow.

540

545

550

555

560

553 Loses discountenanc'd] 'Looks disconcerted.' Bentl. MS 560 contracted brow]

'To whom the angel, whose severer brow

Sent forth a frown.'

See Quarles' Divine Poems, p. 250; and Shepherd's Oracle, p. 60.

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 perceiv'st.

For what admir'st 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: oft times nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well manag'd: of that skill the more thou know'st,
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield all her shows;
Made so adorn for thy delight the more,

So awful, that with honour thou may'st 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
Beyond all other, think the same vouchsaf'd
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulg'd, 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,

576 adorn] v. Spens. F. Qu. iii. xii. 20.

'Without adorne of gold, or silver bright.' Bowle.
VOL. I.
35

570

575

580

585

Wherein true love consists not: love refines

The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat 500
In reason, and is judicious; is the scale

By which to heavenly love thou may'st 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 reply'd.
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,
Those thousand decencies that daily 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
To love thou blam'st 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

approve.

595

600

605

610

598 genial bed] 'Genialis Lectuli.' Arnob. lib. iv. c. 20. Apuleius de Asino. 'Fœdus thori genialis.' v. Orellium ad Arnob. vol. ii. p. 219.

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