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580

But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind
Is propagated, seem such dear delight
Beyond all other, think the same vouchsafed
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulged, if aught
Therein enjoyed were worthy to subdue
The soul of man, or passion in him move.
What higher in her society thou find'st
Attractive, human, rational, love still;
In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
Wherein true love consists not. Love refines
The thoughts, and heart enlarges; hath his seat
In reason, and is judicious; is the scale
By which to heavenly love thou may'st ascend,
Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause,
Among the beasts no mate for thee was found."

591

To whom thus, half abashed, Adam replied: "Neither her outside formed so fair, nor aught In procreation, common to all kinds, (Though higher of the genial bed by far, And with mysterious reverence, I deem), So much delights me, as those graceful acts, Those thousand decencies, that daily flow From all her words and actions, mixed with love And sweet compliance, which declare unfeigned Union of mind, or in us both one soul; Harmony to behold in wedded pair

601

More grateful than harmonious sound to the ear.
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foiled,
Who meet with various objects, from the sense
Variously representing, yet, still free,
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blamest me not; for love, thou

say'st,

610

Leads up to Heaven-is both the way and

Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask. Love not the heavenly Spirits, and how their love

Express they? by looks only? or do they mix Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?"

To whom the Angel, with a smile that glowed Celestial rosy red, love's proper hue,

Answered: "Let it suffice thee that thou know'st
Us happy, and without love no happiness. 621
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st
(And pure thou wert created), we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none

Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars;
Easier than air with air, if Spirits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring, nor restrained conveyance need,
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
630
Beyond the Earth's green Cape and Verdant
Isles

Hesperean sets, my signal to depart.

Be strong, live happy, and love! but first of all
Him whom to love is to obey, and keep
His great command; take heed, lest passion
sway

Thy judgment to do aught which else free will
Would not admit; thine and of all thy sons
The weal or woe in thee is placed; beware!
I in thy persevering shall rejoice,

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And all the Blest. Stand fast! to stand, or fall,
Free in thine own arbitrement it lies.
Perfect within, no outward aid require;
And all temptation to transgress repel."
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
Followed with benediction: "Since to part,
Go, heavenly guest, ethereal messenger,
Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore!

Gentle to me and affable hath been

Thy condescension, and shall be honoured ever
With grateful memory; thou to mankind 650
Be good and friendly still, and oft return!"
So parted they; the Angel up to heaven
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bower.

BOOK IX.

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