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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,
And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by
these,

Creatures that lived and moved, and walked or flew,

Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled;

With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed.

Myself I then perused, and limb by limb Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes

ran

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With supple joints, as lively vigour led;
But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
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 ye that live and move, fair creatures, tell,
Tell, if ye saw, how came I 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
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,

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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.'
So 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
A woody mountain, whose high top was plain,
A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks and bowers, that what I

saw

Of earth before scarce pleasant seemed. Each tree,

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Loaden with fairest fruit, that hung to the eye
Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
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 sought'st I am,

6

Said mildly, Author of all this thou seest

Above or round about thee, or beneath.

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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 com-
mand

330

Transgressed,--inevitably thou shalt die,
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 aspéct
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
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 watery residence,
Not hither summoned, 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 cowering low
With blandishment, each bird stooped on his
wing.

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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 :

66 6

"Oh, by what name,-for thou above all these,

360

Above mankind, or aught 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 brightened, thus replied:
666 What call'st thou solitude? Is not the

earth

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With various living creatures, and the air
Replenished, 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 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, And these inferior far beneath me set? Among unequals what society

Can sort, what harmony or true delight?

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390

Which must be mutual, in proportion due
Given and received; 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 combined;
Much less can bird with beast, or fish with
fowl

So well converse, nor with the ox the ape; Worse, then, can man with beast, and least of all.'

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Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased:

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'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 possessed

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?'

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'He ceased; I lowly answered: '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

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