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Ten thousand fold the sin of him who slew in
His brother: for of whom such massacre
Make they but of their brethren, men of men?
But who was that just man, whom had not Heav'n:
Rescu'd, had in his righteousness been lost?
To whom thus Michael: These are the product,
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st;
Where good with bad were match'd, who of themselves
Abhor to join; and by imprudence mix'd,
Produce prodigious births of body or mind,
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in those days might only shall be admir'd,
And valour and heroic virtue calld;
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch ,
Of human glory, and for glory done
Of triumph, to be stil'd great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods;
Destroyers rightlier call'd, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be atchiev'd, renown on earth,
And what most merits fame in silence hid.
But he, the sev'nth from thee, whom thou beheldst
The only righteous in a world perverse,
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With foes, for daring single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his saints: him the most High
Wrapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God
High in salvation and the climes of bliss,
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment;
Which, now direct thine eyes, and soon behold.
He look'd, and saw the face of things quite chang'd: Thc brazen throat of war had ceas'd to roar; All now was turn'd to jollity and game, To luxury and riot, feast and dance, Marrying or prostituting, as befel, Rape or adultery, where passing fair Allur'd them; thence from cups to civil broils. ,
At length a reverend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declar'd,
And testify'd against their ways; he oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,
Triumphs or festivals, and to them preach'd
Conversion and repentance, as to souls
In prison under judgments imminent: .
But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceas'd
Contending, and remov'd his tents far off;
Then from the mountain hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk;
Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and height;
Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a dour -
Contriv'd; and of provisions laid in large
For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange!
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small,
Came sev'ns, and pairs, and enter'd in, as taught -
Their order : last the sire, and his three sons,
With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
Meanwhile the south wind rose, and with black wings
Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under Heav'n; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and inoist,
Sent up amain; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark ceiling stood; down rush'd the rain . .
Impetuous, and continu'd till the earth.
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves: all dwellings else
Flood overwhelm'd, and them with all their pomp
Deep under water rolPd; sea covered sea,
Sea without shore; and in their palaces
Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd
And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late,
All left in one small bottom swum imbark'd.
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad,
Depopulation? thee another food,
Of tears and sorrow a flood thee also drown'd,
And sunk thee as thy sons; till gently rear'
d By th’ Angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last, ", " !
Though comfortless, as when a father mourns
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
And scarce to th' Angel utter'd thus thy plaint:
O visions, ill foreseen! better had I
Liv'd ignorant of future, so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispens'd
The burden of many ages, on me light
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortive, to torment me ere their being,
With thought that they inust be. Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befal
Him or his children; evil he may be sure,
Which neither his foreknowledge can prevent
And he the future evil shall no less
In apprehension than in substance feel,
Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,
Man is not whom to warn: those few escap'd
Famine and anguish will at last consume,
Wand'ring that wat'ry desart. I had hope,
When violence was ceas'd, and war on earth,
All would have then gone well, peace would have
With length of happy days the race of man: [crown'd
But I was far deceiv'd; for now I see
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste. , ,
How comes it thus? unfold, celestial guide,.
And whether here the race of man will end?
To whom thus Michael: Those whom last thou saw'st In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they First seen in acts of prowess eminent, And great exploits, but of true virtue void : Who having spilt much.blood, and done much waste Subduing nations, and atcheiy'd thereby Faine in the world, high titles, and rich prey, Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and Surfeit, and lust, till wantonness and pride Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. The conquer'd also and inslav'd by war, Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose And fear of God, from whom their piety feigud In sharp contest of battle found no aid s e
Against invaders; therefore cool'd in zeal, Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords Shall leave them to enjoy : for th' earth shall bear More than enough, that temprance may be tryd: So shall all turn degenerate, all deprav'd; Justice and temp'rance, truth and faith forgot; One man except, the only son of light In a dark age, against example good, Against allurement, custom, and a world Offended; fearless of reproach and scorn, Or violence, he of their wicked ways Shall them admonish, and before them set The paths of righteousness, how much more safe, And full of peace, denouncing wrath to come On their impenitence; and shall return Of them derided, but of God observ'd The one just man alive ; by his command Shall build a wondrous ark as thou beheld'st, To save himself and household from amidst A world devote to universal wreck. No sooner he, with them of man and beast. Select for life shall in the ark be lodg'd, And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts Of Heav'n set open, on the earth shall pour Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise : Above the highest hills; then shall this mount Of Paradise by might of waves be mov'd Out of his place, push'd by the horned flood, With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift, Down the great river to the opening gulph, And there take root, an island salt and bare, The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang: To teach thee that God attributes to place No sanctity, if none be thither brought ; By men who there frequent, or therein dwell, And now what further shall ensae, behold.
He look'd and saw the ark-hull on the flood, Which now abated: for the clouds were fled, he wa
Driv’n by a keen north-wind, that blowing dry
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd;
And the clear sun on his wide wat'ry glass
Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
As after thirst, which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt
Her sluices, as the heav'n his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
Fast on the top of some high mountain fix'd,
And now the tops of hills as rocks appear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive
Tow'rds the retreating sea their furious tide,
Forthwith from out the ark a raven tries,
And after him, the surer messenger,
A dove, sent forth once and again to spy
Green tree or ground whereon his foot may light;
The second time returning, in his bill
An olive leaf he brings, pacific sign :
Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark
The ancient sire descends with all his train:
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
Grateful to heav'n, over his head beholds
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow,
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,
Betok’ning peace from God, and cov'nant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam erst so sad
Greatly rejoic'd, and thus his joy broke forth:
. O thou who future things canst represent
As present, heav'nly instructor, I revive
At this last sight, assur'd that Man shall live
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroy'd, than I rejoice
For one man found so perfect and so just,
That God vouchsafes to raise another world
From him, and all his anger to forget.
But say, what mean those coloured streaks in Heav'n,
Distended as the brow of God appeasd;
Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind
The Buid skirts of that same wat'sy cloud, ,