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Nor less think we in Heav'n 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 tow'ard the gates of Hell;
Squar'd 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

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For state, as Sov'reign King, and to inure
Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut 240
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,
Pleas'd with thy words no less than thou with mine."
So spake the god-like pow'r, and 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
Induc'd me. As new wak'd from soundest sleep,
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid,

In balmy sweat, which with his beams the sun 255
Soon dry'd, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward Heav'n my wond'ring eyes I turn'd,
And gaz'd awhile the ample sky; till, rais'd
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,

I

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And liquid lapse of murm❜ring streams; by these,
Creatures that liv'd and mov'd, and walk'd, or flew;
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smil'd;
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd. 266
Myself I then perus'd, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
With supple joints, as lively vigour led:
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
Knew not; to speak I try'd, and 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, 275
And ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?
Not of myself; by some great Maker then,
In goodness and in pow'r pre-eminent:
Tell me, how may I 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 call'd, and stray'd I knew not whither,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy light, when, answer none return'd,
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers,
Pensive I sat me down; there gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seiz'd
My drowsed sense, untroubled, though I thought
I then was passing to my former state
Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:
When suddenly stood at my head a dream,
Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
My fancy to believe I yet had being,
And liv'd: 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 prepar'd.'
So saying, by the hand he took me rais'd,
And over fields and waters, as in air

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Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
A woody mountain; whose high top was plain,
A circuit wide, enclos'd, with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks, and bow'rs, that what I saw 305
Of earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree,
Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to th' eye
Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite

To pluck and eat; whereat I wak'd, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd: here had new begun
My wand'ring, 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
Submiss: he rear'd me', and 'Whom thou sought'st

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I am,'

Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest
Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
This Paradise 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, expell'd from hence into a world
Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounc'd
The rigid interdiction, which resounds
Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice
Not to incur; but soon his clear aspéct
Return'd, and gracious purpose thus renew'd.
'Not only these fair bounds, but all the earth

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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 feälty
With low subjection; understand the same
Of fish within their wat'ry 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 cow'ring low
With blandishment; each bird stoop'd on his wing.
I nam'd them, as they pass'd, and understood
Their nature, with such knowledge God endued
My sudden apprehension: but in these

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I found not what methought I wanted still;
And to the heav'nly vision thus presum❜d.

"O by what name, for thou above all these,
Above mankind, or ought 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 reply'd:
"What call'st thou solitude? is not the earth
With various living creatures, and the air,
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

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So ordering. I, with leave of speech implor'd,
And humble deprecation, thus reply'd.

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"Let not my words offend thee, heav'nly Pow'r ;
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
Giv'n and receiv'd; 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 with lioness;
So fitly them in pairs thou hast combin'd:
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl 395
So well converse, nor with the ox the ape;
Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.'

* "Whereto th' Almighty answer'd, not displeas',
'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, and this my state?
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 converse,
Save with the creatures which I made, and those
To me inferior, infinite descents

Beneath what other creatures are to thee?'

To attain

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"He ceas'd; I lowly answer'd.

The height and depth of thy eternal ways
All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things

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