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He look'd, and saw the ark hull on the flood, Which now abated, for the clouds were fled, Driven by a keen north wind, that, blowing dry, Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd ; And the clear sun on his wide watery glass Gazed 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 His sluices, as the heaven 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 Towards the retreating sea their furious tide. Forth with from out the ark a raven flies, 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 uplisted hands, and eyes devout, Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow Conspicuous with three listed colours gay, Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, Greatly rejoiced, and thus his joy broke forth :

O thou, who future things canst represent As present, heavenly instructor, I revive At this last sight, assured 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 colour'd streaks in heaven, Distended as the brow of God appeased ? Or serve they as a flowery verge to bind The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, Lest it again dissolve and shower the earth?

To whom the archangel : Dextrously thou aim'st; So willingly doth God remit his ire, Though late repenting him of man depraved, Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw The whole earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, That he relents, not to blot out mankind,

And makes a covenant never to destroy
The earth again by flood, nor let the sea
Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world,
With man therein or beast; but when he brings
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
His triple-colour'd bow, whereon to look,
And call to mind his covenant : day and night,
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,
Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new,
Both heaven and earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

BOOK XII.

THE ARGUMENT. The angel Michael continues from the flood to relate what shall succeed; then,

in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain who that seed of the woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the fall : his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension ; the state of the church till his second coming: Adam, greatly satisfied, and recomforted by these relations and promises, descends the hill with Michael ; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind them, and the cherubim taking their stations to guard the place.

As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed, so here the archangel paused
Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restored,
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose ;
Then with transition sweet new speech resumes :

Thus thou hast seen one world begin and end ;
And man as from a second stock proceed.
Much thou hast yet to see ; but I perceive
Thy mortal sight to fail ; objects divine
Must needs impair and weary human sense :
Henceforth what is to come I will relate,
Thou therefore give due audience, and attend :

This second source of men, while yet but few,
And while the dread of judgment past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
With some regard to what is just and righ
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace,
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd, or flock,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings pour’d, and sacred feast,
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed, and dwell
Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
Under paternal rule, till one shall rise,
Of proud ambitious heart, who not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserved

Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth ;
Hunting, and men, not beasts, shall be his game,
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous.
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
Before the Lord, as in despite of heaven,
Or from heaven claiming second sovereignty;
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannise,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of hell :
Of brick and of that stuff they cast to build
A city and tower, whose top may reach to heaven,
And get themselves a name, lest far dispersed
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God, who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks,
To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct heaven-towers, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
Quite out their native language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown.
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders, each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mock'd they storm ; great laughter was in heaven,
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange
And hear the din ; thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased :
O execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurp'd, from God not given.
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute ; that right we hold
By his donation ; but man over men
He made not lord ; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.
But this usurper his encroachment proud
Stays not on man; to God his tower intends
Siege and defiancé. Wretched man ! what focd
Will he convey up thither to sustain
Himself and his rash army, where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And famish him of breath, if not of bread ?

To whom thus Michael : Justly thus abhorr'st

That son, who on the quiet state of men
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty; yet know withal,
Since thy original lapse, true liberty
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being.
Reason in man obscured, or not obey'd,
Immediately inordinate desires,
And upstart passions, catch the government
From reason, and to servitude reduce
Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God in judgment just
Subjects him from without to violent lords,
Who oft as undeservedly enthral
His outward freedom. Tyranny must be,
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annex’d,
Deprives them of their outward liberty,
Their inward lost. Witness the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark, who, for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Servant of servants on his vicious race.
Thus will this latter, as the former world,
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last,
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes ; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways ;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
A nation from one faithful man to spring :
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing
Bred up in idol-worship. O that men,
Canst thou believe? should be so stupid grown,
While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood,
As to forsake the living God, and fall
To worship their own work in wood and stone
For gods ! yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
To call by vision from his father's house,
His kindred, and false gods, into a land
Which he will show him, and from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him shower
His benediction so, that in his seed
All nations shall be bless'd ; he straight obeys,
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes.
I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
He leaves his gods, his friends, and native soil
Ur of Chaldea, passing now the ford
To Haran, after him a cumbrous train

Of herds, and flocks, and numerous servitude ;
Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains, I see his tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh; there by promise he receives
Gift to his progeny of all that land;
From Hamath

northward to the desert south,
Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed,
From Hermon east to the great western sea,
Mount Hermon, yonder sea, each place behold
In prospect, as I point them ; on the shore
Mount Carmel ; here the double-founted stream
Jordan, true limit eastward : but his sons
Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.
This ponder, that all nations of the earth
Shall in his seed be blessed ; by that seed
Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise
The serpent's head; whereof to thee anon
Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch bless'd,
Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,
A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves,
Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown.
The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs
From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd
Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths
Into the sea.

To sojourn in that land
He comes, invited by a younger son
In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds
Raise him to be the second in that realm
Of Pharaoh : there he dies, and leaves his race
Growing into a nation, and, now grown
Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves
Inhospitably, and kills their infant males:
Till by two brethren, those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron, sent from God to claim
His people from enthralment, they return,
With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.
But first the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compell’d by signs and judgments dire ;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and flies, must all his palace fill
With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land ;
His cattle must of rot and murrain die ;
Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,
And all his people ; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky,
And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls ;

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