Paradise Lost "Accuse Not Nature, She Hath Done Her Part; Do Thou But Thine"

John Milton

"Accuse Not Nature, She Hath Done Her Part; Do Thou But Thine"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Adam, in conversation with the archangel Raphael, turns the talk to himself and Eve, finally asking, somewhat to Raphael's confusion, if the angels enjoy the pleasures of sexual love. Raphael says that angels enjoy all the pleasures known to man, and then he abruptly changes the subject. A little earlier in the conversation, however, Adam expresses doubt about his love for Eve and the effect her presence and beauty have upon him. He says that he knows she is inferior to him in wisdom and judgment, having been made that way; but he also notes that her lovely presence makes him doubt himself in everything but his attraction to her. This situation seems to Adam to be a reversal of nature's order. Raphael replies:

"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."