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550 “ Which I must keep till my appointed day

“Of rendering up, and patiently attend
My dissolution."

Michael replied :
“Nor love thy life, nor hate ; but, what thou liv'st,
“ Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven:
“ And now prepare thee for another sight.”

He look’d, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Were tents of various hues : by some, were herds
Of cattle grazing: others, whence the sound

Of instruments, that made melodious chime,
560 Was heard, of harp and organ; and who mov’d

Their stops and chords was seen; his volant touch
Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
Fled, and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.

In other part, stood one who, at the forge
565 Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass

Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain, or in vale,
Down to the veins of earth; thence gliding hot

To some cave's mouth; or whether wash'd by stream 570 From under ground ;) the liquid ore he drain'd

Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he form'd
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought
Fusil, or grav’n in metal. After these,

But on the hither side, a different sort 575 From the high neighbouring hills, which was their seat,

Down to the plain descended; by their guise
Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent
To worship God aright, and know his works

Not hid; nor those things last, which might preserve 580 Freedom, and peace to men: they on the plain

Long had not walk'd, when, from the tents, behold!
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung

Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on: 585 The men, though grave, eyed them; and let their eyes

Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net

Fast caught, they lik’d; and each his liking chose :
And now of love they treat, till the evening star,

Love's harbinger, appear'd; then, all in heat, 590 They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke

Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd:
With feast and music all the tents resound.

Such happy interview, and fair event

Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers, 595 And charming symphonies, attach'd the heart

Of Adam, soon inclin'd to admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus express'd :

“ True opener of mine eyes, prime angel blest !

“Much better seems this vision, and more hope 600 “Of peaceful days portends, than those two past :

“ Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse;
“ Here nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends."
To whom thus Michael :

Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet; 605 Created, as thou art, to nobler end,

Holy and pure-conformity divine.
“ Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race

" Who slew his brother : studious they appear 610 “Of arts that polish life-inventors rare

“ Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit

Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledg'd none. “Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;

“For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd 615 “Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,

Yet empty of all good, wherein consists
“ Woman's domestic honour and chief praise,
“Bred only and completed to the taste

“Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
G20 “ To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye-

"To these that sober race of men, whose lives
“Religious titled them the sons of God,
“Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame,




Ignobly—to the trains and to the smiles
625 “Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy,

“Ere long to swim at large; and laugh, for which
“ The world, ere long, a world of tears must weep.

To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft:

“ O pity and shame, that they, who to live well 630 “ Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread

“ Paths indirect, or in the midway faint !
" But still I see the tenour of man's woe
“ Holds on the same -from woman to begin."

• From man's effeminate slackness it begins," 635 Said the angel; “who should better hold his place

“By wisdom, and superior gifts receiv'd.
“But now prepare thee for another scene."

He look'd, and saw wide territory spread

Before him—towns, and rural works between610 Cities of men with lofty gates and towers

Concourse in arms—fierce faces threat'ning war-
Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise :
Part wield their arms—part curb the foaming steed-

Single, or in array of battle rangd,
645 Both horse and foot; nor idly must'ring stood:

One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
From a fat meadow-ground; or fleecy flock,

Ewes and their bleating lambs, over the plain, 650 Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly,

But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray:
With cruel tournament the squadrons join ;
Where cattle pastur'd late, now scatter'd lies

With carcasses and arms the ensanguin'd field, 655 Deserted. Others to a city strong

Lay siege, encamp'd—by batt'ry, scale, and mine,
Assaulting : others from the wall defend,
With dart and javelin, stones, and sulph’rous fire:

On each hand slaughter, and gigantic deeds! 660 In other part the sceptred heralds call

To council, in the city-gates: anon


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Gray-headed men and grave, with warriors mix’d,
Assemble, and harangues are heard ; but soon,

In factious opposition ; till at last 665 Of middle age one rising, eminent

In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, trùth, and peace,
And judgment from above : him old and young

Exploded, and had seiz'd with violent hands;
670 Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence,

Unseen amid the throng: so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law,
Through all the plain ; and refuge none was found.

Adam was all in tears, and to his guide 675 Lamenting turn'd full sad :

O, what are these? “ Death's ministers, not men! who thus deal death “ Inhumanly to men, and multiply “ Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew “ 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 Heaven “Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost ?" To whom thus Michael :

“ These are the product “Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st; 685 “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 call'd: 690

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 styld great conquerors,
“ Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods-
" Destroyers rightlier call'd, and plagues of men !




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“ Thus fame shall be achiev’d, renown on earth;

“ And what most merits fame in silence hid. 700 “ But he-the seventh from thee—whom thou beheld'st

“ 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 705 “ To judge them with his saints-him the Most High,

"Rapt 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 710 “ 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: The brazen throat of war had ceas'd to roar:

All now was turn'd to jollity and game, 715 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 rev'rend sire among them came, 720 And of their doings great dislike declar'd,

And testified against their ways: he oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met-
Triumphs, or festivals; and to them preach'd

Conversion and repentance, as to souls 725 In prison, under judgment 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,
730 Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and height;

Smear'd round with pitch ; and in the side a door
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,
735 Came sevens, and pairs; and enter'd in as taught

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