Paradise Lost: Book VIII (1674)

Original Text: 
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
Adam inquires concerning celestial Motions, is doubtfully answer'd, and exhorted to search rather things more worthy of knowledg: Adam assents, and still desirous to detain Raphael, relates to him what he remember'd since his own Creation, his placing in Paradise, his talk with God concerning solitude and fit society, his first meeting and Nuptuals with Eve, his discourse with the Angel thereupon; who after admonitions repeated departs.
2So Charming left his voice, that he a while
3Thought him still speaking, still stood fixt to hear;
5What thanks sufficient, or what recompence
6Equal have I to render thee, Divine
7Hystorian, who thus largely hast allayd
8The thirst I had of knowledge, and voutsaf't
9This friendly condescention to relate
10Things else by me unsearchable, now heard
11With wonder, but delight, and, as is due,
12With glorie attributed to the high
13Creator; something yet of doubt remaines,
14Which onely thy solution can resolve.
15When I behold this goodly Frame, this World
16Of Heav'n and Earth consisting, and compute,
17Thir magnitudes, this Earth a spot, a graine,
18An Atom, with the Firmament compar'd
19And all her numberd Starrs, that seem to rowle
20Spaces incomprehensible (for such
21Thir distance argues and thir swift return
22Diurnal) meerly to officiate light
23Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot,
24One day and night; in all thir vast survey
25Useless besides, reasoning I oft admire,
26How Nature wise and frugal could commit
27Such disproportions, with superfluous hand
28So many nobler Bodies to create,
29Greater so manifold to this one use,
30For aught appeers, and on thir Orbs impose
31Such restless revolution day by day
32Repeated, while the sedentarie Earth,
33That better might with farr less compass move,
34Serv'd by more noble then her self, attaines
35Her end without least motion, and receaves,
36As Tribute such a sumless journey brought
37Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light;
38Speed, to describe whose swiftness Number failes.
39So spake our Sire, and by his count'nance seemd
40Entring on studious thoughts abstruse, which Eve
41Perceaving where she sat retir'd in sight,
42With lowliness Majestic from her seat,
43And Grace that won who saw to wish her stay,
44Rose, and went forth among her Fruits and Flours,
45To visit how they prosper'd, bud and bloom,
46Her Nurserie; they at her coming sprung
47And toucht by her fair tendance gladlier grew.
48Yet went she not, as not with such discourse
49Delighted, or not capable her eare
50Of what was high: such pleasure she reserv'd,
51Adam relating, she sole Auditress;
52Her Husband the Relater she preferr'd
53Before the Angel, and of him to ask
54Chose rather; hee, she knew would intermix
55Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute
56With conjugal Caresses, from his Lip
57Not Words alone pleas'd her. O when meet now
58Such pairs, in Love and mutual Honour joyn'd?
59With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went;
60Not unattended, for on her as Queen
61A pomp of winning Graces waited still,
62And from about her shot Darts of desire
63Into all Eyes to wish her still in sight.
64And Raphael now to Adam's doubt propos'd
65Benevolent and facil thus repli'd.
66To ask or search I blame thee not, for Heav'n
67Is as the Book of God before thee set,
68Wherein to read his wondrous Works, and learne
69His Seasons, Hours, or Dayes, or Months, or Yeares:
70This to attain, whether Heav'n move or Earth,
71Imports not, if thou reck'n right, the rest
72From Man or Angel the great Architect
73Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge
74His secrets to be scann'd by them who ought
75Rather admire; or if they list to try
76Conjecture, he his Fabric of the Heav'ns
77Hath left to thir disputes, perhaps to move
78His laughter at thir quaint Opinions wide
79Hereafter, when they come to model Heav'n
80And calculate the Starrs, how they will weild
81The mightie frame, how build, unbuild, contrive
82To save appeerances, how gird the Sphear
83With Centric and Eccentric scribl'd o're,
84Cycle and Epicycle, Orb in Orb:
85Alreadie by thy reasoning this I guess,
86Who art to lead thy ofspring, and supposest
87That bodies bright and greater should not serve
88The less not bright, nor Heav'n such journies run,
89Earth sitting still, when she alone receaves
90The benefit: consider first, that Great
91Or Bright inferrs not Excellence: the Earth
92Though, in comparison of Heav'n, so small,
93Nor glistering, may of solid good containe
94More plenty then the Sun that barren shines
95Whose vertue on it self workes no effect,
96But in the fruitful Earth; there first receavd
97His beams, unactive else, thir vigour find.
98Yet not to Earth are those bright Luminaries
99Officious, but to thee Earths habitant.
100And for the Heav'ns wide Circuit, let it speak
101The Makers high magnificence, who built
102So spacious, and his Line stretcht out so farr;
103That Man may know he dwells not in his own;
104An Edifice too large for him to fill,
105Lodg'd in a small partition, and the rest
106Ordain'd for uses to his Lord best known.
107The swiftness of those Circles attribute
108Though numberless, to his Omnipotence,
109That to corporeal substances could adde
110Speed almost Spiritual; mee thou thinkst not slow,
111Who since the Morning hour set out from Heav'n
112Where God resides, and ere mid-day arriv'd
113In Eden, distance inexpressible
114By Numbers that have name. But this I urge,
115Admitting Motion in the Heav'ns, to shew
116Invalid that which thee to doubt it mov'd;
117Not that I so affirm, though so it seem
118To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.
119God to remove his wayes from human sense,
120Plac'd Heav'n from Earth so farr, that earthly sight,
121If it presume, might erre in things too high,
122And no advantage gaine. What if the Sun
123Be Center to the World, and other Starrs
124By his attractive vertue and thir own
125Incited, dance about him various rounds?
126Thir wandring course now high, now low, then hid,
127Progressive, retrograde, or standing still,
128In six thou seest, and what if sev'nth to these
129The Planet Earth, so stedfast though she seem,
130Insensibly three different Motions move?
131Which else to several Sphears thou must ascribe,
132Mov'd contrarie with thwart obliquities,
133Or save the Sun his labour, and that swift
134Nocturnal and Diurnal rhomb suppos'd,
135Invisible else above all Starrs, the Wheele
136Of Day and Night; which needs not thy beleefe,
137If Earth industrious of her self fetch Day
138Travelling East, and with her part averse
139From the Suns beam meet Night, her other part
140Still luminous by his ray. What if that light
141Sent from her through the wide transpicuous aire,
142To the terrestrial Moon be as a Starr
143Enlightning her by Day, as she by Night
144This Earth? reciprocal, if Land be there,
145Feilds and Inhabitants: Her spots thou seest
146As Clouds, and Clouds may rain, and Rain produce
147Fruits in her soft'nd Soile, for some to eate
148Allotted there; and other Suns perhaps
149With thir attendant Moons thou wilt descrie
150Communicating Male and Femal Light,
151Which two great Sexes animate the World,
152Stor'd in each Orb perhaps with some that live.
153For such vast room in Nature unpossest
154By living Soule, desert and desolate,
155Onely to shine, yet scarce to contribute
156Each Orb a glimps of Light, conveyd so farr
157Down to this habitable, which returnes
158Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
159But whether thus these things, or whether not,
160Whether the Sun predominant in Heav'n
161Rise on the Earth, or Earth rise on the Sun
162Hee from the East his flaming rode begin,
163Or Shee from West her silent course advance
164With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps
165On her soft Axle, while she paces Eev'n,
166And beares thee soft with the smooth Air along,
167Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
168Leave them to God above, him serve and feare;
169Of other Creatures, as him pleases best,
170Wherever plac't, let him dispose: joy thou
171In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
172And thy faire Eve; Heav'n is for thee too high
173To know what passes there; be lowlie wise:.
174Think onely what concernes thee and thy being;
175Dream not of other Worlds, what Creatures there
176Live, in what state, condition or degree,
177Contented that thus farr hath been reveal'd
178Not of Earth onely but of highest Heav'n.
179To whom thus Adam cleerd of doubt, repli'd.
180How fully hast thou satisfi'd mee, pure
181Intelligence of Heav'n, Angel serene,
182And freed from intricacies, taught to live,
183The easiest way, nor with perplexing thoughts
184To interrupt the sweet of Life, from which
185God hath bid dwell farr off all anxious cares,
186And not molest us, unless we our selves
187Seek them with wandring thoughts, and notions vain.
188But apt the Mind or Fancie is to roave
189Uncheckt, and of her roaving is no end;
190Till warn'd, or by experience taught, she learne,
191That not to know at large of things remote
192From use, obscure and suttle, but to know
193That which before us lies in daily life,
194Is the prime Wisdom, what is more, is fume,
195Or emptiness, or fond impertinence,
196And renders us in things that most concerne
197Unpractis'd, unprepar'd, and still to seek.
198Therefore from this high pitch let us descend
199A lower flight, and speak of things at hand
200Useful, whence haply mention may arise
201Of somthing not unseasonable to ask
202By sufferance, and thy wonted favour deign'd.
203Thee I have heard relating what was don
204Ere my remembrance: now hear mee relate
205My Storie, which perhaps thou hast not heard;
206And Day is yet not spent; till then thou seest
207How suttly to detaine thee I devise,
208Inviting thee to hear while I relate,
209Fond, were it not in hope of thy reply:
210For while I sit with thee, I seem in Heav'n,
211And sweeter thy discourse is to my eare
212Then Fruits of Palm-tree pleasantest to thirst
213And hunger both, from labour, at the houre
214Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill,
215Though pleasant, but thy words with Grace Divine
216Imbu'd, bring to thir sweetness no satietie.
217To whom thus Raphael answer'd heav'nly meek.
218Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men,
219Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
220Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd
221Inward and outward both, his image faire:
222Speaking or mute all comliness and grace
223Attends thee, and each word, each motion formes,
224Nor less think wee in Heav'n of thee on Earth
225Then of our fellow servant, and inquire
226Gladly into the wayes of God with Man:
227For God we see hath honour'd thee, and set
228On Man his Equal Love: say therefore on;
229For I that Day was absent, as befell,
230Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure,
231Farr on excursion toward the Gates of Hell;
232Squar'd in full Legion (such command we had)
233To see that none thence issu'd forth a spie,
234Or enemie, while God was in his work,
235Least hee incenst at such eruption bold,
236Destruction with Creation might have mixt.
237Not that they durst without his leave attempt,
238But us he sends upon his high behests
239For state, as Sovran King, and to enure
240Our prompt obedience. Fast we found, fast shut
241The dismal Gates, and barricado'd strong;
242But long ere our approaching heard within
243Noise, other then the sound of Dance or Song,
244Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
245Glad we return'd up to the coasts of Light
246Ere Sabbath Eev'ning: so we had in charge.
247But thy relation now; for I attend,
248Pleas'd with thy words no less then thou with mine.
249So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire.
250For Man to tell how human Life began
251Is hard; for who himself beginning knew?
252Desire with thee still longer to converse
253Induc'd me. As new wak't from soundest sleep
254Soft on the flourie herb I found me laid
255In Balmie Sweat, which with his Beames the Sun
256Soon dri'd, and on the reaking moisture fed.
257Strait toward Heav'n my wondring Eyes I turnd,
258And gaz'd a while the ample Skie, till rais'd
259By quick instinctive motion up I sprung,
260As thitherward endevoring, and upright
261Stood on my feet; about me round I saw
262Hill, Dale, and shadie Woods, and sunnie Plaines,
263And liquid Lapse of murmuring Streams; by these,
264Creatures that livd, and movd, and walk'd, or flew,
265Birds on the branches warbling; all things smil'd,
266With fragrance and with joy my heart oreflow'd.
267My self I then perus'd, and Limb by Limb
268Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran
269With supple joints, and lively vigour led:
270But who I was, or where, or from what cause,
271Knew not; to speak I tri'd, and forthwith spake
272My Tongue obey'd and readily could name
273What e're I saw. Thou Sun, said I, faire Light,
274And thou enlight'nd Earth, so fresh and gay,
275Ye Hills and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plaines,
276And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell,
277Tell, if ye saw, how came I thus, how here?
278Not of my self; by some great Maker then,
279In goodness and in power praeeminent;
280Tell me, how may I know him, how adore,
281From whom I have that thus I move and live,
282And feel that I am happier then I know.
283While thus I call'd, and stray'd I knew not whither,
284From where I first drew Aire, and first beheld
285This happie Light, when answer none return'd,
286On a green shadie Bank profuse of Flours
287Pensive I sate me down; there gentle sleep
288First found me, and with soft oppression seis'd
289My droused sense, untroubl'd, though I thought
290I then was passing to my former state
291Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve:
292When suddenly stood at my Head a dream,
293Whose inward apparition gently mov'd
294My fancy to believe I yet had being,
295And livd: One came, methought, of shape Divine,
296And said, thy Mansion wants thee, Adam, rise,
297First Man, of Men innumerable ordain'd
298First Father, call'd by thee I come thy Guide
299To the Garden of bliss, thy seat prepar'd.
300So saying, by the hand he took me rais'd,
301And over Fields and Waters, as in Aire
302Smooth sliding without step, last led me up
303A woodie Mountain; whose high top was plaine,
304A Circuit wide, enclos'd, with goodliest Trees
305Planted, with Walks, and Bowers, that what I saw
306Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemd. Each Tree
307Load'n with fairest Fruit that hung to the Eye
308Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite
309To pluck and eate; whereat I wak'd, and found
310Before mine Eyes all real, as the dream
311Had lively shadowd: Here had new begun
312My wandring, had not hee who was my Guide
313Up hither, from among the Trees appeer'd
314Presence Divine. Rejoycing, but with aw
315In adoration at his feet I fell
316Submiss: he rear'd me, and Whom thou soughtst I am,
317Said mildely, Author of all this thou seest
318Above, or round about thee or beneath.
319This Paradise I give thee, count it thine
320To Till and keep, and of the Fruit to eate:
321Of every Tree that in the Garden growes
322Eate freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth:
323But of the Tree whose operation brings
324Knowledg of good and ill, which I have set
325The Pledge of thy Obedience and thy Faith
326Amid the Garden by the Tree of Life
327Remember what I warne thee, shun to taste,
328And shun the bitter consequence: for know,
329The day thou eat'st thereof, my sole command
330Transgrest, inevitably thou shalt dye;
331From that day mortal, and this happie State
332Shalt loose, expell'd from hence into a World
333Of woe and sorrow. Sternly he pronounc'd
334The rigid interdiction, which resounds
335Yet dreadful in mine eare, though in my choice
336Not to incur; but soon his cleer aspect
337Return'd and gracious purpose thus renew'd.
338Not onely these fair bounds, but all the Earth
339To thee and to thy Race I give; as Lords
340Possess it, and all things that therein live,
341Or live in Sea, or Aire, Beast, Fish, and Fowle.
342In signe whereof each Bird and Beast behold
343After thir kindes; I bring them to receave
344From thee thir Names, and pay thee fealtie
345With low subjection; understand the same
346Of Fish within thir watry residence,
347Not hither summond, since they cannot change
348Thir Element to draw the thinner Aire.
349As thus he spake, each Bird and Beast behold
350Approaching two and two, These cowring low
351With blandishment, each Bird stoop'd on his wing.
352I nam'd them, as they pass'd, and understood
353Thir Nature, with such knowledg God endu'd
354My sudden apprehension: but in these
355I found not what me thought I wanted still;
356And to the Heav'nly vision thus presum'd.
357O by what Name, for thou above all these,
358Above mankinde, or aught then mankinde higher,
359Surpassest farr my naming, how may I
360Adore thee, Author of this Universe,
361And all this good to man, for whose well being
362So amply, and with hands so liberal
363Thou hast provided all things: but with mee
364I see not who partakes. In solitude
365What happiness, who can enjoy alone,
366Or all enjoying, what contentment find?
367Thus I presumptuous; and the vision bright,
368As with a smile more bright'nd, thus repli'd.
369What call'st thou solitude, is not the Earth
370With various living creatures, and the Aire
371Replenisht, and all these at thy command
372To come and play before thee, know'st thou not
373Thir language and thir wayes, they also know,
374And reason not contemptibly; with these
375Find pastime, and beare rule; thy Realm is large.
376So spake the Universal Lord, and seem'd
377So ordering. I with leave of speech implor'd,
378And humble deprecation thus repli'd.
379Let not my words offend thee, Heav'nly Power,
380My Maker, be propitious while I speak.
381Hast thou not made me here thy substitute,
382And these inferiour farr beneath me set?
383Among unequals what societie
384Can sort, what harmonie or true delight?
385Which must be mutual, in proportion due
386Giv'n and receiv'd; but in disparitie
387The one intense, the other still remiss
388Cannot well suite with either, but soon prove
389Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak
390Such as I seek, fit to participate
391All rational delight, wherein the brute
392Cannot be human consort; they rejoyce
393Each with thir kinde, Lion with Lioness;
394So fitly them in pairs thou hast combin'd;
395Much less can Bird with Beast, or Fish with Fowle
396So well converse, nor with the Ox the Ape;
397Wors then can Man with Beast, and least of all.
398Whereto th' Almighty answer'd, not displeas'd.
399 A nice and suttle happiness I see
400Thou to thy self proposest, in the choice
401Of thy Associates, Adam, and wilt taste
402No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitarie.
403What thinkst thou then of mee, and this my State,
404Seem I to thee sufficiently possest
405Of happiness, or not? who am alone
406From all Eternitie, for none I know
407Second to me or like, equal much less.
408How have I then with whom to hold converse
409Save with the Creatures which I made, and those
410To me inferiour, infinite descents
411Beneath what other Creatures are to thee?
412He ceas'd, I lowly answer'd. To attaine
413The highth and depth of thy Eternal wayes
414All human thoughts come short, Supream of things;
415Thou in thy self art perfet, and in thee
416Is no deficience found; not so is Man,
417But in degree, the cause of his desire
418By conversation with his like to help,
419Or solace his defects. No need that thou
420Shouldst propagat, already infinite;
421And through all numbers absolute, though One;
422But Man by number is to manifest
423His single imperfection, and beget
424Like of his like, his Image multipli'd,
425In unitie defective, which requires
426Collateral love, and deerest amitie.
427Thou in thy secresie although alone,
428Best with thy self accompanied, seek'st not
429Social communication, yet so pleas'd,
430Canst raise thy Creature to what highth thou wilt
431Of Union or Communion, deifi'd;
432I by conversing cannot these erect
433From prone, nor in thir wayes complacence find.
434Thus I embold'nd spake, and freedom us'd
435Permissive, and acceptance found, which gain'd
436This answer from the gratious voice Divine.
437Thus farr to try thee, Adam, I was pleas'd,
438And finde thee knowing not of Beasts alone,
439Which thou hast rightly nam'd, but of thy self,
440Expressing well the spirit within thee free,
441My Image, not imparted to the Brute,
442Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee
443Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike,
444And be so minded still; I, ere thou spak'st,
445Knew it not good for Man to be alone,
446And no such companie as then thou saw'st
447Intended thee, for trial onely brought,
448To see how thou could'st judge of fit and meet:
449What next I bring shall please thee, be assur'd,
450Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self,
451Thy wish exactly to thy hearts desire.
452Hee ended, or I heard no more, for now
453My earthly by his Heav'nly overpowerd,
454Which it had long stood under, streind to the highth
455In that celestial Colloquie sublime,
456As with an object that excels the sense,
457Dazl d and spent, sunk down, and sought repair
458Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, call'd
459By Nature as in aide, and clos'd mine eyes.
460Mine eyes he clos'd, but op'n left the Cell
461Of Fancie my internal sight, by which
462Abstract as in a transe methought I saw,
463Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
464Still glorious before whom awake I stood;
465Who stooping op'nd my left side, and took
466From thence a Rib, with cordial spirits warme,
467And Life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound,
468But suddenly with flesh fill'd up and heal'd:
469The Rib he formd and fashond with his hands;
470Under his forming hands a Creature grew,
471Manlike, but different Sex, so lovly faire,
472That what seemd fair in all the World, seemd now
473Mean, or in her summd up, in her containd
474And in her looks, which from that time infus'd
475Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before,
476And into all things from her Aire inspir'd
477The spirit of love and amorous delight.
478Shee disappeerd, and left me dark, I wak'd
479To find her, or for ever to deplore
480Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure:
481When out of hope, behold her, not farr off,
482Such as I saw her in my dream, adornd
483With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow
484To make her amiable: On she came,
485Led by her Heav'nly Maker, though unseen,
486And guided by his voice, nor uninformd
487Of nuptial Sanctitie and marriage Rites:
488Grace was in all her steps, Heav'n in her Eye,
489In every gesture dignitie and love.
490I overjoyd could not forbear aloud.
491This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfill'd
492Thy words, Creator bounteous and benigne,
493Giver of all things faire, but fairest this
494Of all thy gifts, nor enviest. I now see
495Bone of my Bone, Flesh of my Flesh, my Self
496Before me; Woman is her Name, of Man
497Extracted; for this cause he shall forgoe
498Father and Mother, and to his Wife adhere;
499And they shall be one Flesh, one Heart, one Soule.
500She heard me thus, and though divinely brought,
501Yet Innocence and Virgin Modestie,
502Her vertue and the conscience of her worth,
503That would be woo'd, and not unsought be won,
504Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retir'd,
505The more desirable, or to say all,
506Nature her self, though pure of sinful thought,
507Wrought in her so, that seeing me, she turn'd;
508I follow'd her, she what was Honour knew,
509And with obsequious Majestie approv'd
510My pleaded reason. To the Nuptial Bowre
511I led her blushing like the Morn: all Heav'n,
512And happie Constellations on that houre
513Shed thir selectest influence; the Earth
514Gave sign of gratulation, and each Hill;
515Joyous the Birds; fresh Gales and gentle Aires
516Whisper'd it to the Woods, and from thir wings
517Flung Rose, flung Odours from the spicie Shrub,
518Disporting, till the amorous Bird of Night
519Sung Spousal, and bid haste the Eevning Starr
520On his Hill top, to light the bridal Lamp.
521Thus I have told thee all my State, and brought
522My Storie to the sum of earthly bliss
523Which I enjoy, and must confess to find
524In all things else delight indeed, but such
525As us'd or not, works in the mind no change,
526Nor vehement desire, these delicacies
527I mean of Taste, Sight, Smell, Herbs, Fruits, and Flours,
528Walks, and the melodie of Birds; but here
529Farr otherwise, transported I behold,
530Transported touch; here passion first I felt,
531Commotion strange, in all enjoyments else
532Superiour and unmov'd, here onely weake
533Against the charm of Beauties powerful glance.
534Or Nature faild in mee, and left some part
535Not proof enough such Object to sustain,
536Or from my side subducting, took perhaps
537More then enough; at least on her bestow'd
538Too much of Ornament, in outward shew
539Elaborate, of inward less exact.
540For well I understand in the prime end
541Of Nature her th' inferiour, in the mind
542And inward Faculties, which most excell,
543In outward also her resembling less
544His Image who made both, and less expressing
545The character of that Dominion giv'n
546O're other Creatures; yet when I approach
547Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
548And in her self compleat, so well to know
549Her own, that what she wills to do or say,
550Seems wisest, vertuousest, discreetest, best;
551All higher knowledge in her presence falls
552Degraded, Wisdom in discourse with her
553Looses discount'nanc't, and like folly shewes;
554Authority and Reason on her waite,
555As one intended first, not after made
556Occasionally; and to consummate all,
557Greatness of mind and nobleness thir seat
558Build in her loveliest, and create an awe
559About her, as a guard Angelic plac't.
560To whom the Angel with contracted brow.
561Accuse not Nature, she hath don her part;
562Do thou but thine, and be not diffident
563Of Wisdom, she deserts thee not, if thou
564Dismiss not her, when most thou needst her nigh,
565By attributing overmuch to things
566Less excellent, as thou thy self perceav'st.
567For what admir'st thou, what transports thee so,
568An outside? fair no doubt, and worthy well
569Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,
570Not thy subjection: weigh with her thy self;
571Then value: Oft times nothing profits more
572Then self esteem, grounded on just and right
573Well manag'd; of that skill the more thou know'st,
574The more she will acknowledge thee her Head,
575And to realities yield all her shows:
576Made so adorn for thy delight the more,
577So awful, that with honour thou maist love
578Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise.
579But if the sense of touch whereby mankind
580Is propagated seem such dear delight
581Beyond all other, think the same voutsaf't
582To Cattel and each Beast; which would not be
583To them made common and divulg'd, if aught
584Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
585The Soule of Man, or passion in him move.
586What higher in her societie thou findst
587Attractive, human, rational, love still;
588In loving thou dost well, in passion not,
589Wherein true Love consists not; love refines
590The thoughts, and heart enlarges, hath his seat
591In Reason, and is judicious, is the scale
592By which to heav'nly Love thou maist ascend,
593Not sunk in carnal pleasure, for which cause
594Among the Beasts no Mate for thee was found.
595To whom thus half abash't Adam repli'd.
596Neither her out-side formd so fair, nor aught
597In procreation common to all kindes
598(Though higher of the genial Bed by far,
599And with mysterious reverence I deem)
600So much delights me as those graceful acts,
601Those thousand decencies that daily flow
602From all her words and actions mixt with Love
603And sweet compliance, which declare unfeign'd
604Union of Mind, or in us both one Soule;
605Harmonie to behold in wedded pair
606More grateful then harmonious sound to the eare.
607Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
608What inward thence I feel, not therefore foild,
609Who meet with various objects, from the sense
610Variously representing; yet still free
611Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
612To love thou blam'st me not, for love thou saist
613Leads up to Heav'n, is both the way and guide;
614Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask;
615Love not the heav'nly Spirits, and how thir Love
616Express they, by looks onely, or do they mix
617Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?
618To whom the Angel with a smile that glow'd
619Celestial rosie red, Loves proper hue,
620Answer'd. Let it suffice thee that thou know'st
621Us happie, and without Love no happiness.
622Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy'st
623(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
624In eminence, and obstacle find none
625Of membrane, joynt, or limb, exclusive barrs:
626Easier then Air with Air; if Spirits embrace,
627Total they mix, Union of Pure with Pure
628Desiring; nor restrain'd conveyance need
629As Flesh to mix with Flesh, or Soul with Soul.
630But I can now no more; the parting Sun
631Beyond the Earths green Cape and verdant Isles
632Hesperean sets, my Signal to depart.
633Be strong, live happie, and love, but first of all
634Him whom to love is to obey, and keep
635His great command; take heed least Passion sway
636Thy judgement to do aught, which else free Will
637Would not admit; thine and of all thy Sons
638The weal or woe in thee is plac't; beware.
639I in thy persevering shall rejoyce,
640And all the Blest: stand fast; to stand or fall
641Free in thine own Arbitrement it lies.
642Perfet within, no outward aid require;
643And all temptation to transgress repel.
644So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
645Follow'd with benediction. Since to part,
646Go heavenly Guest, Ethereal Messenger,
647Sent from whose sovran goodness I adore.
648Gentle to me and affable hath been
649Thy condescension, and shall be honour'd ever
650With grateful Memorie: thou to mankind
651Be good and friendly still, and oft return.
652So parted they, the Angel up to Heav'n
653From the thick shade, and Adam to his Bowre.


1] Book VII was broken into Books VII-VIII in 1674, and Milton added lines 1-3 here to bridge the then-separated halves. Back to Line
4] To whom thus Adam gratefully repli'd (1667). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
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Transcription courtesy of Roy Flannagan.