Imagens das páginas

He look'd, and saw wide territory spread Before him, towns, and rural works between ; Cities of men with lofty gates and towers, Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise ; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle rang'd Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering 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, 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, Deserted : others to a city strong Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and mine, Assaulting ; others from the wall defend With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire ; On each hand slaughter, and gigantic deeds. In other part the scepter'd heralds call To council, in the city-gates; anon Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mix'd, Assemble, and harangues are heard ; but soon, In factious opposition ; till at last, Of middle age one rising, eminent In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong, Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace, And judgment from above: hirn old and young Exploded, and had seiz'd with violent hands;

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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
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; (selves
Where good with bad were match’d, who of them-
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 callid;
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 styl’d great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods and sons of gods;
Destroyers rightlier call’d, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achiev'd, renown on Earth;
And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
But he, the seventh 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
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
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

The 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 befell,
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 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
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 door
Contrivd; and of provisions laid in large,

For man and beast : when lo, a wonder strange!
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small,
Came sevens 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

Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
Sent up amain ; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark ceiling stood ; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous; and continued, 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 poinp
Deep under water roll'd; sea cover'd 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 flood,
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drown'd,
And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently rear'd
By the 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 the angel utter'dst thus thy plaint.

66 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 must be. Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall
Him or his children ; evil he may be sure,
Which neither his foreknowing 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 con ime,
Wandering that watery desert: 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;
But I was far deceived; 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 achiev'd thereby Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey;

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