Submit Your Poems
Get Your Premium Membership


See and share Beautiful Nature Photos and amazing photos of interesting places




Paradise Lost: Book 08

Written by: John Milton | Biography
 | Quotes (101) |
 The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear 
So charming left his voice, that he a while 
Thought him still speaking, still stood fixed to hear; 
Then, as new waked, thus gratefully replied.
What thanks sufficient, or what recompence Equal, have I to render thee, divine Historian, who thus largely hast allayed The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed This friendly condescension to relate Things, else by me unsearchable; now heard With wonder, but delight, and, as is due, With glory attributed to the high Creator! Something yet of doubt remains, Which only thy solution can resolve.
When I behold this goodly frame, this world, Of Heaven and Earth consisting; and compute Their magnitudes; this Earth, a spot, a grain, An atom, with the firmament compared And all her numbered stars, that seem to roll Spaces incomprehensible, (for such Their distance argues, and their swift return Diurnal,) merely to officiate light Round this opacous Earth, this punctual spot, One day and night; in all her vast survey Useless besides; reasoning I oft admire, How Nature wise and frugal could commit Such disproportions, with superfluous hand So many nobler bodies to create, Greater so manifold, to this one use, For aught appears, and on their orbs impose Such restless revolution day by day Repeated; while the sedentary Earth, That better might with far less compass move, Served by more noble than herself, attains Her end without least motion, and receives, As tribute, such a sumless journey brought Of incorporeal speed, her warmth and light; Speed, to describe whose swiftness number fails.
So spake our sire, and by his countenance seemed Entering on studious thoughts abstruse; which Eve Perceiving, where she sat retired in sight, With lowliness majestick from her seat, And grace that won who saw to wish her stay, Rose, and went forth among her fruits and flowers, To visit how they prospered, bud and bloom, Her nursery; they at her coming sprung, And, touched by her fair tendance, gladlier grew.
Yet went she not, as not with such discourse Delighted, or not capable her ear Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, Adam relating, she sole auditress; Her husband the relater she preferred Before the Angel, and of him to ask Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses: from his lip Not words alone pleased her.
O! when meet now Such pairs, in love and mutual honour joined? With Goddess-like demeanour forth she went, Not unattended; for on her, as Queen, A pomp of winning Graces waited still, And from about her shot darts of desire Into all eyes, to wish her still in sight.
And Raphael now, to Adam's doubt proposed, Benevolent and facile thus replied.
To ask or search, I blame thee not; for Heaven Is as the book of God before thee set, Wherein to read his wonderous works, and learn His seasons, hours, or days, or months, or years: This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth, Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest From Man or Angel the great Architect Did wisely to conceal, and not divulge His secrets to be scanned by them who ought Rather admire; or, if they list to try Conjecture, he his fabrick of the Heavens Hath left to their disputes, perhaps to move His laughter at their quaint opinions wide Hereafter; when they come to model Heaven And calculate the stars, how they will wield The mighty frame; how build, unbuild, contrive To save appearances; how gird the sphere With centrick and eccentrick scribbled o'er, Cycle and epicycle, orb in orb: Already by thy reasoning this I guess, Who art to lead thy offspring, and supposest That bodies bright and greater should not serve The less not bright, nor Heaven such journeys run, Earth sitting still, when she alone receives The benefit: Consider first, that great Or bright infers not excellence: the Earth Though, in comparison of Heaven, so small, Nor glistering, may of solid good contain More plenty than the sun that barren shines; Whose virtue on itself works no effect, But in the fruitful Earth; there first received, His beams, unactive else, their vigour find.
Yet not to Earth are those bright luminaries Officious; but to thee, Earth's habitant.
And for the Heaven's wide circuit, let it speak The Maker's high magnificence, who built So spacious, and his line stretched out so far; That Man may know he dwells not in his own; An edifice too large for him to fill, Lodged in a small partition; and the rest Ordained for uses to his Lord best known.
The swiftness of those circles attribute, Though numberless, to his Omnipotence, That to corporeal substances could add Speed almost spiritual: Me thou thinkest not slow, Who since the morning-hour set out from Heaven Where God resides, and ere mid-day arrived In Eden; distance inexpressible By numbers that have name.
But this I urge, Admitting motion in the Heavens, to show Invalid that which thee to doubt it moved; Not that I so affirm, though so it seem To thee who hast thy dwelling here on Earth.
God, to remove his ways from human sense, Placed Heaven from Earth so far, that earthly sight, If it presume, might err in things too high, And no advantage gain.
What if the sun Be center to the world; and other stars, By his attractive virtue and their own Incited, dance about him various rounds? Their wandering course now high, now low, then hid, Progressive, retrograde, or standing still, In six thou seest; and what if seventh to these The planet earth, so stedfast though she seem, Insensibly three different motions move? Which else to several spheres thou must ascribe, Moved contrary with thwart obliquities; Or save the sun his labour, and that swift Nocturnal and diurnal rhomb supposed, Invisible else above all stars, the wheel Of day and night; which needs not thy belief, If earth, industrious of herself, fetch day Travelling east, and with her part averse From the sun's beam meet night, her other part Still luminous by his ray.
What if that light, Sent from her through the wide transpicuous air, To the terrestrial moon be as a star, Enlightening her by day, as she by night This earth? reciprocal, if land be there, Fields and inhabitants: Her spots thou seest As clouds, and clouds may rain, and rain produce Fruits in her softened soil for some to eat Allotted there; and other suns perhaps, With their attendant moons, thou wilt descry, Communicating male and female light; Which two great sexes animate the world, Stored in each orb perhaps with some that live.
For such vast room in Nature unpossessed By living soul, desart and desolate, Only to shine, yet scarce to contribute Each orb a glimpse of light, conveyed so far Down to this habitable, which returns Light back to them, is obvious to dispute.
But whether thus these things, or whether not; But whether the sun, predominant in Heaven, Rise on the earth; or earth rise on the sun; He from the east his flaming road begin; Or she from west her silent course advance, With inoffensive pace that spinning sleeps On her soft axle, while she paces even, And bears thee soft with the smooth hair along; Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid; Leave them to God above; him serve, and fear! Of other creatures, as him pleases best, Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou In what he gives to thee, this Paradise And thy fair Eve; Heaven is for thee too high To know what passes there; be lowly wise: Think only what concerns thee, and thy being; Dream not of other worlds, what creatures there Live, in what state, condition, or degree; Contented that thus far hath been revealed Not of Earth only, but of highest Heaven.
To whom thus Adam, cleared of doubt, replied.
How fully hast thou satisfied me, pure Intelligence of Heaven, Angel serene! And, freed from intricacies, taught to live The easiest way; nor with perplexing thoughts To interrupt the sweet of life, from which God hath bid dwell far off all anxious cares, And not molest us; unless we ourselves Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions vain.
But apt the mind or fancy is to rove Unchecked, and of her roving is no end; Till warned, or by experience taught, she learn, That, not to know at large of things remote From use, obscure and subtle; but, to know That which before us lies in daily life, Is the prime wisdom: What is more, is fume, Or emptiness, or fond impertinence: And renders us, in things that most concern, Unpractised, unprepared, and still to seek.
Therefore from this high pitch let us descend A lower flight, and speak of things at hand Useful; whence, haply, mention may arise Of something not unseasonable to ask, By sufferance, and thy wonted favour, deigned.
Thee I have heard relating what was done Ere my remembrance: now, hear me relate My story, which perhaps thou hast not heard; And day is not yet spent; till then thou seest How subtly to detain thee I devise; Inviting thee to hear while I relate; Fond! were it not in hope of thy reply: For, while I sit with thee, I seem in Heaven; And sweeter thy discourse is to my ear Than fruits of palm-tree pleasantest to thirst And hunger both, from labour, at the hour Of sweet repast; they satiate, and soon fill, Though pleasant; but thy words, with grace divine Imbued, bring to their sweetness no satiety.
To whom thus Raphael answered heavenly meek.
Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Sire of men, Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee Abundantly his gifts hath also poured Inward and outward both, his image fair: Speaking, or mute, all comeliness and grace Attends thee; and each word, each motion, forms; Nor less think we in Heaven of thee on Earth Than of our fellow-servant, and inquire Gladly into the ways of God with Man: For God, we see, hath honoured thee, and set On Man his equal love: Say therefore on; For I that day was absent, as befel, Bound on a voyage uncouth and obscure, Far on excursion toward the gates of Hell; Squared in full legion (such command we had) To see that none thence issued forth a spy, Or enemy, while God was in his work; Lest he, incensed at such eruption bold, Destruction with creation might have mixed.
Not that they durst without his leave attempt; But us he sends upon his high behests For state, as Sovran King; and to inure Our prompt obedience.
Fast we found, fast shut, The dismal gates, and barricadoed strong; But long ere our approaching heard within Noise, other than the sound of dance or song, Torment, and loud lament, and furious rage.
Glad we returned up to the coasts of light Ere sabbath-evening: so we had in charge.
But thy relation now; for I attend, Pleased with thy words no less than thou with mine.
So spake the Godlike Power, and thus our Sire.
For Man to tell how human life began Is hard; for who himself beginning knew Desire with thee still longer to converse Induced me.
As new waked from soundest sleep, Soft on the flowery herb I found me laid, In balmy sweat; which with his beams the sun Soon dried, and on the reeking moisture fed.
Straight toward Heaven my wondering eyes I turned, And gazed a while the ample sky; till, raised By quick instinctive motion, up I sprung, As thitherward endeavouring, and upright Stood on my feet: about me round I saw Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains, And liquid lapse of murmuring streams; by these, Creatures that lived and moved, and walked, or flew; Birds on the branches warbling; all things smiled; With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflowed.
Myself I then perused, and limb by limb Surveyed, and sometimes went, and sometimes ran With supple joints, as lively vigour led: But who I was, or where, or from what cause, Knew not; to speak I tried, and forthwith spake; My tongue obeyed, and readily could name Whate'er I saw.
Thou Sun, said I, fair light, And thou enlightened Earth, so fresh and gay, Ye Hills, and Dales, ye Rivers, Woods, and Plains, And ye that live and move, fair Creatures, tell, Tell, if ye saw, how I came thus, how here?-- Not of myself;--by some great Maker then, In goodness and in power pre-eminent: Tell me, how may I know him, how adore, From whom I have that thus I move and live, And feel that I am happier than I know.
-- While thus I called, and strayed I knew not whither, From where I first drew air, and first beheld This happy light; when, answer none returned, On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers, Pensive I sat me down: There gentle sleep First found me, and with soft oppression seised My droused sense, untroubled, though I thought I then was passing to my former state Insensible, and forthwith to dissolve: When suddenly stood at my head a dream, Whose inward apparition gently moved My fancy to believe I yet had being, And lived: One came, methought, of shape divine, And said, 'Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise, 'First Man, of men innumerable ordained 'First Father! called by thee, I come thy guide 'To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepared.
' So saying, by the hand he took me raised, And over fields and waters, as in air Smooth-sliding without step, last led me up A woody mountain; whose high top was plain, A circuit wide, enclosed, with goodliest trees Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw Of Earth before scarce pleasant seemed.
Each tree, Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye Tempting, stirred in me sudden appetite To pluck and eat; whereat I waked, and found Before mine eyes all real, as the dream Had lively shadowed: Here had new begun My wandering, had not he, who was my guide Up hither, from among the trees appeared, Presence Divine.
Rejoicing, but with awe, In adoration at his feet I fell Submiss: He reared me, and 'Whom thou soughtest I am,' Said mildly, 'Author of all this thou seest 'Above, or round about thee, or beneath.
'This Paradise I give thee, count it thine 'To till and keep, and of the fruit to eat: 'Of every tree that in the garden grows 'Eat freely with glad heart; fear here no dearth: 'But of the tree whose operation brings 'Knowledge of good and ill, which I have set 'The pledge of thy obedience and thy faith, 'Amid the garden by the tree of life, 'Remember what I warn thee, shun to taste, 'And shun the bitter consequence: for know, 'The day thou eatest thereof, my sole command 'Transgressed, inevitably thou shalt die, 'From that day mortal; and this happy state 'Shalt lose, expelled from hence into a world 'Of woe and sorrow.
' Sternly he pronounced The rigid interdiction, which resounds Yet dreadful in mine ear, though in my choice Not to incur; but soon his clear aspect Returned, and gracious purpose thus renewed.
'Not only these fair bounds, but all the Earth 'To thee and to thy race I give; as lords 'Possess it, and all things that therein live, 'Or live in sea, or air; beast, fish, and fowl.
'In sign whereof, each bird and beast behold 'After their kinds; I bring them to receive 'From thee their names, and pay thee fealty 'With low subjection; understand the same 'Of fish within their watery residence, 'Not hither summoned, since they cannot change 'Their element, to draw the thinner air.
' As thus he spake, each bird and beast behold Approaching two and two; these cowering low With blandishment; each bird stooped on his wing.
I named them, as they passed, and understood Their nature, with such knowledge God endued My sudden apprehension: But in these I found not what methought I wanted still; And to the heavenly Vision thus presumed.
O, by what name, for thou above all these, Above mankind, or aught than mankind higher, Surpassest far my naming; how may I Adore thee, Author of this universe, And all this good to man? for whose well being So amply, and with hands so liberal, Thou hast provided all things: But with me I see not who partakes.
In solitude What happiness, who can enjoy alone, Or, all enjoying, what contentment find? Thus I presumptuous; and the Vision bright, As with a smile more brightened, thus replied.
What callest thou solitude? Is not the Earth With various living creatures, and the air Replenished, and all these at thy command To come and play before thee? Knowest thou not Their language and their ways? They also know, And reason not contemptibly: With these Find pastime, and bear rule; thy realm is large.
So spake the Universal Lord, and seemed So ordering: I, with leave of speech implored, And humble deprecation, thus replied.
Let not my words offend thee, Heavenly Power; My Maker, be propitious while I speak.
Hast thou not made me here thy substitute, And these inferiour far beneath me set? Among unequals what society Can sort, what harmony, or true delight? Which must be mutual, in proportion due Given and received; but, in disparity The one intense, the other still remiss, Cannot well suit with either, but soon prove Tedious alike: Of fellowship I speak Such as I seek, fit to participate All rational delight: wherein the brute Cannot be human consort: They rejoice Each with their kind, lion with lioness; So fitly them in pairs thou hast combined: Much less can bird with beast, or fish with fowl So well converse, nor with the ox the ape; Worse then can man with beast, and least of all.
Whereto the Almighty answered, not displeased.
A nice and subtle happiness, I see, Thou to thyself proposest, in the choice Of thy associates, Adam! and wilt taste No pleasure, though in pleasure, solitary.
What thinkest thou then of me, and this my state? Seem I to thee sufficiently possessed Of happiness, or not? who am alone From all eternity; for none I know Second to me or like, equal much less.
How have I then with whom to hold converse, Save with the creatures which I made, and those To me inferiour, infinite descents Beneath what other creatures are to thee? He ceased; I lowly answered.
To attain The highth and depth of thy eternal ways All human thoughts come short, Supreme of things! Thou in thyself art perfect, and in thee Is no deficience found: Not so is Man, But in degree; the cause of his desire By conversation with his like to help Or solace his defects.
No need that thou Shouldst propagate, already Infinite; And through all numbers absolute, though One: But Man by number is to manifest His single imperfection, and beget Like of his like, his image multiplied, In unity defective; which requires Collateral love, and dearest amity.
Thou in thy secresy although alone, Best with thyself accompanied, seekest not Social communication; yet, so pleased, Canst raise thy creature to what highth thou wilt Of union or communion, deified: I, by conversing, cannot these erect From prone; nor in their ways complacence find.
Thus I emboldened spake, and freedom used Permissive, and acceptance found; which gained This answer from the gracious Voice Divine.
Thus far to try thee, Adam, I was pleased; And find thee knowing, not of beasts alone, Which thou hast rightly named, but of thyself; Expressing well the spirit within thee free, My image, not imparted to the brute; Whose fellowship therefore unmeet for thee Good reason was thou freely shouldst dislike; And be so minded still: I, ere thou spakest, Knew it not good for Man to be alone; And no such company as then thou sawest Intended thee; for trial only brought, To see how thou couldest judge of fit and meet: What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, Thy likeness, thy fit help, thy other self, Thy wish exactly to thy heart's desire.
He ended, or I heard no more; for now My earthly by his heavenly overpowered, Which it had long stood under, strained to the highth In that celestial colloquy sublime, As with an object that excels the sense Dazzled and spent, sunk down; and sought repair Of sleep, which instantly fell on me, called By Nature as in aid, and closed mine eyes.
Mine eyes he closed, but open left the cell Of fancy, my internal sight; by which, Abstract as in a trance, methought I saw, Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape Still glorious before whom awake I stood: Who stooping opened my left side, and took From thence a rib, with cordial spirits warm, And life-blood streaming fresh; wide was the wound, But suddenly with flesh filled up and healed: The rib he formed and fashioned with his hands; Under his forming hands a creature grew, Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair, That what seemed fair in all the world, seemed now Mean, or in her summed up, in her contained And in her looks; which from that time infused Sweetness into my heart, unfelt before, And into all things from her air inspired The spirit of love and amorous delight.
She disappeared, and left me dark; I waked To find her, or for ever to deplore Her loss, and other pleasures all abjure: When out of hope, behold her, not far off, Such as I saw her in my dream, adorned With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow To make her amiable: On she came, Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen, And guided by his voice; nor uninformed Of nuptial sanctity, and marriage rites: Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye, In every gesture dignity and love.
I, overjoyed, could not forbear aloud.
This turn hath made amends; thou hast fulfilled Thy words, Creator bounteous and benign, Giver of all things fair! but fairest this Of all thy gifts! nor enviest.
I now see Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, myself Before me: Woman is her name;of Man Extracted: for this cause he shall forego Father and mother, and to his wife adhere; And they shall be one flesh, one heart, one soul.
She heard me thus; and though divinely brought, Yet innocence, and virgin modesty, Her virtue, and the conscience of her worth, That would be wooed, and not unsought be won, Not obvious, not obtrusive, but, retired, The more desirable; or, to say all, Nature herself, though pure of sinful thought, Wrought in her so, that, seeing me, she turned: I followed her; she what was honour knew, And with obsequious majesty approved My pleaded reason.
To the nuptial bower I led her blushing like the morn: All Heaven, And happy constellations, on that hour Shed their selectest influence; the Earth Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill; Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs Whispered it to the woods, and from their wings Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub, Disporting, till the amorous bird of night Sung spousal, and bid haste the evening-star On his hill top, to light the bridal lamp.
Thus have I told thee all my state, and brought My story to the sum of earthly bliss, Which I enjoy; and must confess to find In all things else delight indeed, but such As, used or not, works in the mind no change, Nor vehement desire; these delicacies I mean of taste, sight, smell, herbs, fruits, and flowers, Walks, and the melody of birds: but here Far otherwise, transported I behold, Transported touch; here passion first I felt, Commotion strange! in all enjoyments else Superiour and unmoved; here only weak Against the charm of Beauty's powerful glance.
Or Nature failed in me, and left some part Not proof enough such object to sustain; Or, from my side subducting, took perhaps More than enough; at least on her bestowed Too much of ornament, in outward show Elaborate, of inward less exact.
For well I understand in the prime end Of Nature her the inferiour, in the mind And inward faculties, which most excel; In outward also her resembling less His image who made both, and less expressing The character of that dominion given O'er other creatures: Yet when I approach Her loveliness, so absolute she seems And in herself complete, so well to know Her own, that what she wills to do or say, Seems wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best: All higher knowledge in her presence falls Degraded; Wisdom in discourse with her Loses discountenanced, and like Folly shows; Authority and Reason on her wait, As one intended first, not after made 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 angelick placed.
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 needest her nigh, By attributing overmuch to things Less excellent, as thou thyself perceivest.
For, what admirest 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 Well managed; of that skill the more thou knowest, 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 mayest 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 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 findest 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 mayest ascend, Not sunk in carnal pleasure; for which cause, Among the beasts no mate for thee was found.
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 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 sayest, Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide; 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 knowest Us happy, and without love no happiness.
Whatever pure thou in the body enjoyest, (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 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 judgement 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, 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 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.



Comments