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Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best ! 550 All higher knowledge in her presence

falls Degraded ! Wisdom in discourse with her Loses, discount'nanc'd, and, like folly, shows. Authority and reason on her wait, As one intended first, not after made

555 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: Accuse not Nature; she hath done her part: Do thou but thine, and be not diffident Of wisdom; she deserts thee not, if thou Dismiss not her when most thou need'st her nigh, By attributing overmuch to things 565 Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st. For what admir'st thou? what transports thee so? An outside ? Fair no doubt, and worthy well Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love; Not thy subjection. Weigh with her thyself, Then value. Oft-times nothing profits more Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right Wellmanag’d. Of thatskill the more thou know'st, The more she will acknowledge thee her head, And to realities yield all her shows; 575 Made so adorn for thy delight the more, So awful, that with honour thou may’st love Thy mate, who sees when thou art seen least wise. But if the sense of touch, whereby mankind

Is propagated, seem such dear delight 580
Beyond all other, think the same vouchsaf'd
To cattle and each beast; which would not be
To them made common and divulg’d, if aught
Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
The soul of man, or passion in him move. 585
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 reas'n, and is judicious ; is the scale

591 By which to heav'nly love thou may'st ascend, Not sunk in carnal pleasure : for which cause Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.

To whom thus, half abash’d, Adam reply'd : Neither her outside, form’d so fair, nor aught In procreation, common to all kinds, (Though higher of the génial bed by far, And with mysterious reverence I deem) So much delights ine as those graceful acts, 600 Those thousand decencies, that daily flow From all her words and actions, mix'd with love And sweet compliance; which declare unfeign'd Union of mind, or in us both one soul : Harmony to behold in wedded pair,

605 More grateful than harmonious sound to th' ear. Yet these subject not: I to thee disclose What inward thence I feel, not therefore foil'd, Who meet with various objects, from the sense

Variously representing; yet, still free, 610
Approve the best, and follow what I approve.
To love thou blam'st me not; for love thou say'st
Leads

up
to Heav'n; is both the

way and guide.
Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask :
Love not the heav'nly Sp'rits? 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 glow'd Celestial rosy red, (love's proper hue) Answer'd: 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. 625 Easier than air with air, if Sp’rits embrace, Total they mix, union of

pure
with

pure
Desiring; not restrain’d 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
Hesperian 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 plac'd: 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. 641
Perfect within, no outward aid require;
And all temptation to transgress repel.

So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part, 645
Go heav'nly Guest, ethereal Messenger,
Sent from whose sov'reign goodness I adore.
Gentle to me and affable hath been
Thy condescension, and shall be' honour'd ever
With grateful memory: thou to mankind 650
Be

good and friendly still, and oft return.
So parted they; the Angel up to Heav'n
From the thick shade, and Adam to his bow'r.

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