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In gems and wanton drefs; to th' harp they fung
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on,
The men, tho' grave, ey'd them, and let their eyes
Rove without rein, till in the amorous net
Faft caught, they lik❜d, and each his liking chofe:
And now of love they treat, till th' èvening-star,
Love's harbinger, appear'd; then all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd:
With feaft and mufic all the tents refound..
Such happy interview and fair event
Of love and youth not loft, fongs, garlands, flowers,
And charming fymphonies, attach'd the heart
Of Adam, foon inclin'd t' admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus exprefs'd.
True opener of mine eyes, prime angel bless'd,
Much better feems this vifion, and more hope
Of peaceful days portends, than thofe two paft; 600
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse;
Here nature feems fulfill'd in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best By plea fure, though to nature seeming meet, Created as thou art, to nobler end,
Holy and pure, conformity divine.
Those tents thou faw't fo pleasant were the tents
Of wickedness, wherein fhall. dwell his race
Who flew his brother; ftudious they appear
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 fhall beget;
For that fair female troop thou faw'st, that seem'd
Of goddeffes, fo blithe, fo fmooth, fo gay,
Yet empty of all good, wherein confifts
Woman's domestic honour and chief praife;
Bred only and completed to the tafte
Of lustful appetence, to fing, to dance,
To drefs, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye.
To thefe that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the fons of God.
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the fmiles
Of these fair Atheifts, and now swim in joy,
Erelong to fwim at large; and laugh, for which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep.
To whom thus Adam, of fhort joy bereft.
O pity' and fhame, that they who to live well
Enter'd fo fair, fhould turn afide to tread
Paths indirect, or in the midway faint !
But till I fee the tenor of man's woe
Holds on the fame, from woman to begin.
From man's effeminate flacknefs it begins,
Said th' angel, who fhould better hold his place 635
By wisdom, and fuperior gifts receiv'd.
But now prepare thee for another scene.
He look'd, and faw wide territory spread
Before him, towns. and rural works between,
Cities of men with lofty gates
Concourfe in arms, fierce faces threat'ning war,
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise:
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming fteed, Single or in array of battle rang'd.
Both horfe and foot, nor idly muft'ring ftood; 645
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; icarce with life the fhepherds fly, 650
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray;
With cruel tournament the fquadrons join;
Where cattle paftur'd late, now scatter'd lies
With carcafes and arms th' infanguin'd field
Deferted others to a city strong
Lay fiege, incamp'd; by batt'ry, feale, and mine,
Affaulting; others from the wall defend
With dart and jav'lin, ftones and fulph'rous fire;
On each hand flaughter and gigantic deeds.
In other parts the scepter'd heralds call
To council in the city-gates: anon
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriors mix'd,
Affemble, and harangues are heard; but foon
In factious oppofition, till at last
Of middle age one rifing, eminent
In wife deport, fpake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth and peace,
And judgment from above: him old and young,
Exploded, and had feiz'd with violent hands,
Had not a cloud defcending fnatch'd him thence 670
Unfeen amid the throng: fo violence
Proceeded, and oppreffion, and fword-law
Thro' all the plain, and refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
Lamenting turn'd full fad: O what are these,
Death's minifters, not men, who thus deal death
Inhumanly to men, and multiply
Ten thoufandfold the fin of him who flew
His brother; for of whom fuch maffacre
Make they but of their brethren, men of men? 680 But who was that just man, whom had not heav'n Refcu'd, had in his righteoufnefs been loft?
To whom thus Michael. Thefe are the produc Of thofe ill-mated marriages thou faw'st? Where good with bad were match'd, who of themfelves Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mix'd, Produce prodigious births of body' or mind..
Such were thefe giants, men of high renown;
For in those days might only fhall be' admir'd,
And valour and heroic virtue call'd;
To overcome in battle, and fubdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Man-flaughter, fhall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory, and for glory done
Of triumph, to be ftyl'd great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and fons of gods;
Destroyers rightlier call'd, and plagues of men.
Thus fame fhall be achiev'd, renown on earth,
And what most merits fame in filence hid.
But he, the feventh from thee, whom thou beheldst
The only righteous in a world perverse,
And therefore hated, therefore fo befet
With foes, for daring fingle to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his faints: him the Moft High
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged feeds.
Did, as thou faw'ft, receive, to walk with God
High in falvation, and the climes of blifs,
Exempt from death; to fhow thee what reward
Awaits the good, the reft what punishment;
Which now direct thine eyes, and foon behold.
He look'd, and faw 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,
To luxury and riot, feaft and dance,
Marrying or proftituting, as befel,
Rape or adultery, where paffing fair
Allur'd them; thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a reverend fire among them came,
And of their doings great diflike declar'd,
And testify'd against their ways; he oft
Frequented their affemblies, where fo met,
Triumphs or feftivals, and to them preach'd
Converfion and repentance, as to fouls
In prifon 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 veffel of huge bulk;
Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and heighth;
Smear'd round with pitch; and in the fide a door
Contriv'd; and of provifions laid in large
For man and beaft; when lo, a wonder ftrange!
Of every beat, and bird, and infect small
Came fev'ns, and pairs, and enter'd in, as taught 735
Their order: laft the fire, and his three fons,
With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
Mean while the fouth-wind rofe, and with black wings
Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under heaven; the hills to their fupply
Vapour, and exhalation dufk and moift,
Sent up amain; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark cieling stood; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous, and continu'd till the earth
No more was feen: the floating veffel fwum
Uplifted, and fecure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings elfe
Flood overwhelm'd, and then with all their pomp
Deep under water roll'd; fea cover'd fea,
Sea without fhore; and in their palaces
Where luxury late reign'd, fea-monfters whelp'd
And ftabled; of mankind, fo numerous late,
All left in one fmall bottom fwum imbark'd.
How didft thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy offspring, end fo fad,
Depopulation! thee another flood,
Of tears and forrow' a flood, thee alfo drown'd,