"But know that in the soul / Are many lesser faculties, that serve / Reason as chief; among these Fancy next / Her office holds; of all external things / Which the five watchful senses represent, / She forms imaginations, aery shapes, / Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames / All what we affirm or what deny, and call / Our knowledge or opinion; then retires / Into her private cell, when nature rests."
— Milton, John (1608-1674)
The trouble of thy thoughts this night in sleep
Affects me equally; nor can I like
This uncouth dream, of evil sprung, I fear;
Yet evil whence? in thee can harbour none,
Created pure. But know that in the soul
Are many lesser faculties, that serve
Reason as chief; among these Fancy next
Her office holds; of all external things
Which the five watchful senses represent,
She forms imaginations, aery shapes,
Which Reason, joining or disjoining, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private cell, when nature rests.
Oft in her absence mimick Fancy wakes
To imitate her; but, misjoining shapes,
Wild work produces oft, and most in dreams;
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Some such resemblances, methinks, I find
Of our last evening's talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; Yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unreproved, and leave
No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
That what in sleep thou didst abhor to dream,
Waking thou never will consent to do.
Be not disheartened then, nor cloud those looks,
That wont to be more cheerful and serene,
Than when fair morning first smiles on the world;
And let us to our fresh employments rise
Among the groves, the fountains, and the flowers
That open now their choisest bosomed smells,
Reserved from night, and kept for thee in store.
(Bk. V, ll. 95-128)
See Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books by John Milton. Licensed and entred according to order. (London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker under Creed Church neer Aldgate; and by Robert Boulter at the Turks Head in Bishopsgate-street; and Matthias Walker, under St. Dunstons Church in Fleet-street, 1667). <Link to ESTC>
See also Paradise Lost. A Poem in Twelve Books. The Author John Milton. The Second Edition Revised and Augmented by the same Author. (London: Printed by S. Simmons next door to the Golden Lion in Aldersgate-street, 1674). <Link to ESTC> <Link to LION>
Reading Alastair Fowler's Longman edition: John Milton, Paradise Lost (London and New York, 1971).