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“ And, freed from intricacies, taught to live “ The easiest way: nor with perplexing thoughts “ To interrupt the sweet of life, from which “ God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, “ And not molest us; unless we ourselves “ Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain. “But apt the mind, or fancy, is to rove “ Unchecked, and of her roving is no end ; “ Till, warned, or by experience taught, she learn, 190 “ That not to know at large of things remote “ From use, obscure and subtle, but to know “ That which before us lies in daily life, “Is the prime wisdom : what is more, is fume, “ Or emptiness, or sond impertinence; “ And renders us, in things that most concern,
Unpractised, unprepared and still to seek. “ Therefore from this high pitch let us descend “ A lower flight, and speak of things at hand “ Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise “ Of something not unseasonable to ask,
By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned. “ Thee I have heard relating what was done
my remembrance : now, hear me relate My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; “ And day is not yet spent: till then thou seest “ How subtly to detain thee I devise, “ Inviting thee to hear while I relate; “ Fond! were it not in hope of thy reply: · For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; “ And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear “ Than fruits of palm-tree, pleasantest to thirst “ And hunger both, from labour, at the hour “ Of sweet repast : they satiate, and soon fill,
Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine “ Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety."
To whom thus Raphael answered heavenly meek : “ Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of Men! “ Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also poured ; “ Inward and outward both his image fair :
"Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace
230 “ Far on excursion towards the gates of Hell; “ Squared 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, incensed at such eruption bold, “ Destruction with creation might have mixed. “ Not that they durst without his leave attempt: “ But us he sends upon his high behests “ For state, as Sovran King; and to inure “Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut,
240 “ The dismal gates, and barricaded 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 returned up to the coasts of light “ Ere Sabbath evening : so we had in charge. “ But thy relation now; for I attend, “ Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine."
So spake the godlike Power, and thus our Sire: “ For man to tell how human life began
250 “ Is hard ; for who himself beginning knew? “ Desire with thee still longer to converse “ Induced me.
As new waked from soundest sleep, “ Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, “ In balmly sweat; which with his beams the Sun “Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, " And gazed awhile the ample sky; till, raised
By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, “ As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
260 “ Stood on my feet. About me round I saw
“ Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb
Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran “ With supple joints, as lively vigour led : “ But who I was, or where, or from what cause, 270 “ Knew not: to speak I tried, and forthwith spake;
My tongue obeyed, and readily could name " Whate'er I saw. “Thou Sun,' said I, “fair light ! “ And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay! “ Ye hills, and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains, And
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 power pre-eminent : “ Tell me how may I know him, how adore,
280 “ From whom I have that thus I move and live, “ And feel that I am happier than I know?'
“ While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, “ From where I first drew air, and first beheld “ This happy light; when answer none returned, “On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers, “ Pensive I sat me down: there gentle sleep “ First found me, and with soft oppression seized
My drowsèd sense, untroubled, though I thought “ I then was passing to my former state,
290 Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: “ When suddenly stood at my head a dream, “Whose inward apparition gently moved “My fancy to believe I yet had being, “ And lived. One came, methought, of shape divine, “ And said, “Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, “ First man, of men innumerable ordained “ First father! called by thee, I come thy guide “ To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.' saying, by the hand he took me raised,
300 “ And, over fields and waters, as in air,
“Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
310 “ Had lively shadowed. Here had new begun
My wandering, had not He, who was my guide “ Up hither, from among the trees appeared, “ Presence Divine! Rejoicing, but with awe, “ In adoration at his feet I fell “ Submiss: he reared me, and, 'Whom thou soughtst 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 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 eatest thereof,--my sole command Transgressed, -inevitably thou shalt die,
330 “ From that day mortal; and this happy state “ Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world “Of woe and sorrow.' Sternly he pronounced “ The rigid interdiction, which resounds “ Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice “Not to incur: but soon his clear aspect “Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed : "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
“ As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold
Approaching, two and two—these cowering low “ With blandishment-- each bird stooped on his wing. “ I named them as they passed, and understood “ Their nature; with such knowledge God endued • My sudden apprehension. But in these
I found not what, methought, I wanted still; “And to the heavenly vision thus presumed :
“! O, by what name,- for thou above all these, “ Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, Surpassest far my naming !—how
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 brightened thus replied :
"What callst thou solitude ? Is not the Earth “ With various living creatures, and the air “ Replenished, and all these at thy command “ To come and play before thee? Knowst 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 seemed “ So ordering : I, with leave of speech implored, “ And humble deprecation, thus replied :
“Let not my words offend thee, heavenly Power!
My Maker, be propitious while I speak ! “ Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,