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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 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 giv'n
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 consumniate 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 perceiv'st.
For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so ?
An outside i 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 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 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 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 heav'nly 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 replied.
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 approre.
To love thou blam’st me not, for love thou say'st
to heav'n, is both the way and guide;
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask:
Love not the heav'nly 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, love's proper hue,
Answer'd. Let it suffice thee that thou know'st
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 :
Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of 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,
Hespereano sets, my signal to depart.
Be strong, live happy, and love, but first of all
Him whom 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 woe in thee is placed; beware.
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,
And all the blest: stand fast; to stand or fall
Free in thine own arbitrement it 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 honour'd ever
With grateful memory: thou to mankind
Be good and friendly still, and oft return.
So parted they, the angel up to heav'n
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.
Satan having compassed the earth, with meditated guile returns as a mist by night into paradise, and enters into the serpent sleeping. Adam and Eve in the moming go forth to their labours, which Eve proposes to divide in several places, each labouring apart : Adam consents not, alleging the danger, lest that enemy, of whom they were forewarned, should attempt her found alone : Eve, loth to be thought not circumspect or firm enough, urges her going apart, the rather desirous to make trial of her strength : Adam at last yields : the serpent finds her alone ; his subtle approach, first gazing, then speaking, with much flattery extolling Eve above all other creatures. Eve, wondering to hear the serpent speak, asks how
he attained to human speech and such understanding not till now; the serpent answers, that by tasting of a certain tree in the garden he attained both to speech and reason, till then void of both : Eve requires him to bring her to that tree, and finds it to be the Tree of Knowledge forbidden; the serpent, now grown bolder, with many wiles and arguments induces her at length to eat: she, pleased with the taste, deliberates a while whether to impart thereof to Adam, or not; at last brings him of the fruit, relates what persuaded her to eat thereof: Adam at first amazed, but perceiving her lost, resolves, through vehemence of love, to perish with her, and extenuating the trespass eats also of the fruit : the effects thereof in them both : they seek to cover their nakedness: then fall to variance and accusation of one another.
No more of talk where God or Angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar used
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed; I now must change
These notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience : on the part of heav'n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger, and just rebuke, and judgment giv'n,
That brought into this world a world of woe;
Sin and her shadow Death, and misery
Death's harbinger: sad task, yet argument
Not less but more heroic than the wrath
Of stern Achilles on his foel pursued
Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused,
Or Neptune's ire or Juno's, that so long
Perplex'd the Greek 3 and Cytherea's son :*