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Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt 430
Of union or communion, deify'd;
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 433
This answer from the gracious Voice Divine.
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 thy self,
Expressing well the spirit within thee free,
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,
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 assurd,
Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,
Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.
He ended, or I heard no more ; for now
My earthly by his heav'nly overpowerd,
Which it had long stood under, straind to the highth
In that celestial colloquy sublime,
As with an object that excels the sense,
Dazzled, and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, call’d
By nature as in aid, and clos'd mine eyes.
Mine eyes he clos'd, but open left the cell
Of fancy my internal sight, by which
Abstract as in a trance me-thought I saw,
Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
Still glorious before whom awake I stood;
Who stooping open'd my left side, and took
From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm,
And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,
But suddenly with flesh fill'd up and heald.
The rib he form’d and fashion’d with his hands;
Under his forming hands a creature grew
Manlike, but different sex, so lovely fair,
That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd
And in her looks, which from that time
Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
And into all things from her air inspir’d
The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappear'd, and left me dark, I wak'd
To find her, or for ever to deplore
Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure.
When out of hope, behold her, not far off,
Such as I saw her in my dream, adorn'd
With what all earth or heaven could bestow
To make her amiable: on she came,
Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen,
463 the shape] the same. Bentl. MS.
475 unfelt] Fairfax's Tasso, xix. 94.
• A sweetness strange from that sweet voice's sound
Pierced my heart.
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.
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 retird, 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. 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.
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.
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.