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And funk thee as thy fons ; till gently rear'd
By th' angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last,
Tho' comfortless, as when a father mourns 760
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
And scarce to th' angei utter'dit thus thy plaint.
O visions ill-foreseen! better bad I
Liv'd ignorant of future, so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
765 Enough to bear; those now, that were dispens'd The burihen 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 771 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,
775 Grievous to bear; but that care now is past, Man is not whom to warn : those few escap'd Famine and anguish will at lait confume, Wand'ring that wat'ry defert: I had hope, When violence had ceas'd, and war on earth, 780 All would have then gone well, peace would have
With length of happy days the race of man: (crown's · 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, 785
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; 790
Who having spilt much blood, and done much walte
Subduing vations, and achiev'd thereby
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey,
Shall change their course to pleature, eafe, and floth,
Surfeit and lult, till wantonnets and pride 795
Raise out of friend thip hostile deeds in peace.
The conquer'd alio, and inflav'd by war,
Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose,
And fear of God, from whom their piety feign'd
In sharp contest of battle found po aid
Against invaders; therefore cool'd in zeal,
Thenceforth fhall praâise how to live secure;
Worldly or diffolute, on what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for th'earth shall bear
More than enough, that temp'rance may be try'd:
So all fall tura degenerate, all deprav'd, 806
Justice and temp'rance, truth and faith forgot :
One man except, the only fon of light
In a dark age, against example good,
Against allurement, cuftom, and a world 810
Offended; fearless of reproach and seorn,
Or violence, he of their wicked ways
Shall them admonish, and before them fet
The paths of righteoufness, how much more fafe,
And full of peace, denouncing wrath to come 815
On their impenitence; and shall return
Of them derided, but of God observ'd
1 he one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wond'rous ark as thou beheldit,
To save himself and household from amidst 820
A world devote to univerfal wrack.
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 fet open on the earth shall pour
825 Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep Broke up, shall heave the ocean to ufurp
Beyond all bounds, till inundations rife
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 food,
With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the opening gulf,
And there take root, an island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and fea-mews clang:
To teach thee that God attributes to place 836
No fanctity, if none be thither brought
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
And now what further shall ensue, behold.
He look'd, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 840
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
Driv'n by a keen north-wind, that blowing dry
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd ;
And the clear fun on his wide watry glass
Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew, 845
As after thirst, which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot tow’ards the deep, who now had stopt
His fluices, as the heav'n his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 850
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 mesenger,
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 fign:
860 Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark The ancient fire descends with all bis 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 865
Conspicuous, with three lifted colours gay,
Betok’ning peace from God, and cov'nant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam erit so sad
Greatly rejoic'd, and thus his joy broke forth.
O thou who future things canst represent 870
As present, heavenly instructor, I revive
At this lalt fight, ailur'd that man shall live
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked fons de roy'd, than I rejoice
For one man found so perfect and fo just,
That God vouchsafes to raise another world
From him, and all his anger to forget.
But say, what mean these colour'd streaks in heaven,
Diftended as the brow of God appeas'd; 880
Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind
The Auid skirts of that same watry cloud,
Lelt it again diffolve and shower the earth?
To whom th' archangel. Dextrously thou aim'ft; So willingly doth God remit his ire,
885 Though late repenting him of man deprav'd, Griev'd at his heart, when looking down he saw The whole earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way; yet those remov'd, Such grace shall one just man find in his fight, 890 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 895 Over the earth a cloud, will therein fet His triple-colour'd bow, whereon to look,
And call to mind his covenant: day and night,
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary froit, 899
Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new,
Both heav'n and earth, wherein the just shall dwell.
END of the ELEVENTH Buok.