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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
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
way and guide.
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
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
And all the Blest. Stand fast; to stand or fall
So saying, he arose; whom Adam thus
good and friendly still, and oft return.