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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; un less we ourselves
Seek them with wandering thoughts, and notions

But apt the mind or fancy is to rove
Uncheck’d, and of her roving is no end;
Till warn'd, 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,
Unpractis'd, unprepar'd, 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, deign'd.
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 yet not 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 answer'd heavenly meek.
Nor are thy lips ungraceful, Şire of men,
Nor tongue ineloquent; for God on thee
Abundantly his gifts hath also pour'd
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 honour'd 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 ;
Squar'd 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, incens'd at such eruption bold,
Destruction with creation might have mix’d.
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 barricado'd 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 return'd up to the coasts of light
Ere sabbath-evening : so we had in charge.
But thy relation now : for I attend,
Pleas’d 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
Induc'd me. As new wak'd 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 turn'd,
And gaz'd a while the ample sky; till, rais'd
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 liv'd and mov'd, and walk'd, or flew:
Birds on the branches warbling; all things smild;

With fragrance and with joy my heart o’erflow'd.
Myself I then perus’d, and limb by limb
Survey'd, and sometimes went, and sometimes rany
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 obey'd, and readily could name
Whate'er I saw. Thou Sun, said I, fair light, ,
And thou enlighten’d 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 call’d, and stray'd I knew not whither,
From where I first drew air, and first beheld
This happy light; when, answer none return'd,
On a green shady bank, profuse of flowers
Pensive I sat me down : There gentle sleep
First found me, and with soft oppression seis'd
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 mov'd

My fancy to believe I yet had being;
And liv'd: One came, methought, of shape divine,
And said, “ Thy mansion wants thee, Adam; rise,
First Man, of men innumerable ordain'd
First Father! call’d by thee, I come thy guide
To the garden of bliss, thy seat prepar'd.”
So saying, by the hand he took me rais'd,
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, enclos'd, with goodliest trees
Planted, with walks, and bowers; that what I saw
Of earth before scarce pleasant seem'd. Each tree,
Loaden with fairest fruit that hung to the eye
Tempting, stirr'd in me sudden appetite
To pluck and eat; whereat I wak’d, and found
Before mine eyes all real, as the dream
Had lively shadow'd: Here had new begun
My wandering, had not he, who was my guide
Up hither, from among the trees appear'd,
Presence Divine. Rejoicing, but with awe,
In adoration at his feet I fell
Submiss: He rear’d me, and "Whom thou sought'st

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 :

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