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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. 560
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
Less excellent, as thou thyself perceiv'st.
For what admir’st thou, what transports thee so,
An outside ? fair no douht, and worthy well
Thy cherishing, thy honouring, and thy love,
Not thy subjection : weigh with her thyself; 570
Then value: Oft-times nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well-manag’d; of that skill the more thou know'st,
The more she will acknowledge thee her head,
And to realities yield all her shows :
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
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 ought
Therein enjoy'd were worthy to subdue
The soul of man, or passion in him move. 585
What high’er 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 590
In reas’on, and is judicious, is the scale
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. 995
Neither her outside form’d so fair, nor ought
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 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
More grateful than harmonious sound to th' ear.
Yet these subject not; I to thee disclose
What inward thence I feel, not therefore foild,
Who meet with various objects, from the sense
Variously representing ; yet still free
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 Spi'rits, and how their love 615
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.
“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 Spi'rits embrace,
Total they mix, union of pure with pure
Desiring; nor restrain’d conveyance need
As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul.
But I can now no more; the parting sun
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 ought, 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,
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
Follow'd with benediction. Since to part,
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 -
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.
THE END OF THE EIGHTH BOOK.