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And sunk thee as thy fons; till gently rear'd
By th' angel, on thy feet thou stood'ft at last,
Tho' comfortless, as when a father mourns 760
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
And scarce to th' angel 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. Lei no man seek Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 771 Him or his cKildren; evil he may be sure, Which neither his foreknowing can prevent, And he the future evil shall no less In apprehenfion than in substance feel,
775 Grievous to bear; but that care now is past, Man is not whom to warn : those few escap'd Fanine 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'd But I was far deceiv'd; for now I fee 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 feen in acts of prowess eminent, And great exploits, but of true virtue void ; 790 Who having spilt much blood, and done much walte Subduing nations, and achiev'd thereby
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey,
Shall change their course to pleasure, eafe, and floth,
Surfeit and lust, till wantonnels and pride 795
Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace.
The conquer'd also, 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 no aid
Again ft invaders; therefore cool'd in zeal,
Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure;
Worldly or diffolute, on what their lords
Shall leave them to enjoy; for th' earth fhall bear
More than enough, that temp’rance may be try'd:
So all shall turs degenerate, all deprav'd, 8c6
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, custom, and a world 810
Offended; fearless of reproach and scorn,
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 fhall return
Of them derided, but of God observ'd
The one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wond'rous ark as thou beheldlt,
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, fhall in the ark be lodg'd,
And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts
Of heav'n fet open on the earth shall pour
Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep
Broke up, shall heave the ocean to ufurp
Beyond all bounds, till inundations rise
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 sea-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
Wich soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt
His fluices, as the heav'n his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but feems on ground, 850
Fast on the top of fome high mountain fix'd.
And now the tops of hills as rocks appear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive
Towards the retreating fea their furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven fies,
And after him, the furer messenger,
A dove fent 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 defcends with all his 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
Conspicuous, with three lifted colours gay,
Betok’ning peace from God, and cov'nant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam erit so fad
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 last fight, allur'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 delroy'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 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 dissolve and shower the earth?
To whom th' archangel. Dextrously thou aim't; So willingly doth God remit his ire,
885 Though late repenting him of man depravid, 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 Buor.