Surprised by Delight

Divine Love & the Love of Man & Woman

When in Milton's Paradise Lost Adam beholds Eve for the first time—and "behold" is the correct word, since he is in the presence of a consummate work of divine art—he is already delighted even before he says a word. God had put his taste, intelligence, and boldness to a bit of a friendly test, asking Adam why the beasts were not sufficient company for him, or why solitariness was not a great blessing. When Adam held his ground, God cast a sleep over him, formed Eve from his rib, and brought her to him. The first Man, the man who is the root both of all human persons and of all males specifically, acknowledges that he is caught, that the beauty of the woman will make the man do what otherwise he would not do:

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 …

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