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Submiss : he rear'd me', and Whom thou sought'st
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. 320 Of ev'ry 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, 325 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 ;
330 From that day mortal, and this happy state Shalt lose ; expellid 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 aspect 336 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, 340 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 345
O by what name, for thou above all these,
What call'st thou solitude ? Is not the earth With various living creatures, and the air 370 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. So spake the Universal Lord, and seem'd 376 So ord'ring. I, with leave of speech implor'd, And humble deprecation, thus reply'd :
Let not my words offend thee, Heav'nly Pow'r! My Maker, be propitious while I speak! 380 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 385 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
390 A 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 So well converse; nor with the ox the ape: 396 Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.
Whereto th’Almighty answer'd not displeas'd : A nice and subtle happiness I see Thou to thyself proposest in the choice 400 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
405 From all eternity? for none I know Second to me, or like, equal much less. Who have I then with whom to hold converse Save with the creatures which I made ? and those To Me inferior! infinite descents
410 Beneath what other creatures are to thee.
He ceas'd; I lowly answer'd: To attain The height and depth of thy eternal ways, All human thoughts come short, Supreme of
things! Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee 415 Is no deficience found. Not so is Man, But in degree; the cause of his desire By conversation with his like to help, Or solace his defects. No need that thou Should'st propagate, already infinite, 110 And through all numbers absolute, though one; But Man by number is to manifest His single imperfection, and beget Like of his like, his image multiply'd, In unity defective, which requires
425 Collat'ral love, and dearest amity. Thou in thy secrecy, although alone, Best with thyself accompany'd, seek'st not Social communication; yet so pleas’d, Canst raise thy creature to what height thou wilt Of union or communion, deify'd :
431 I by conversing cannot these erect From prone, nor in their ways complacence find.
Thus I embolden'd spake, and freedom us’d Permissive, and acceptance found; which gain’d This answer from the gracious voice divine: 436
Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleas'd ; And find thee knowing not of beasts alone, Which thou hast rightly nam’d, but of thyself; Expressing well the sp'rit within thee free, 440 My image, not imparted to the brute, Whose fellowship therefore, unmeet for thee, Good reason was thou freely should'st dislike: And be so minded still. I, ere thou spak'st, Knew it not good for Man to be alone; 445 And no such company as then thou saw'st Intended thee; for trial only brought, To see how thou could’st judge of fit and meet. What next I bring shall please thee, be assur’d; Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, 450 Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.
He ended, or I heard no more, for now My earthly by his heav'nly overpow'r’d, Which it had long stood under, strain'd to th’
height In that celestial colloquy sublime,
455 As with an object that excels the sense Dazzled and spent, sunk down, and sought repair Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, callid By nature as in aid, and clos'd mine eyes. Mine eyes
he clos'd, but open left the cell 460 Of fancy, my internal sight; by which Abstract, as in a trance, inethought I saw,