Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
Driv'n by a keen north wind, that, blowing diy,
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd;
And the clear sun on his wille wat'ry 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 towards the deep, who now had stopt
His sluices, as the Heav'n his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
Fast on the top of some high mountain fix'd. 851
And now the tops of hills as rocks appear;
With clamour thence the rápid currents drive,
Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,

855
And after him, the surer messenger,
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 sign:

860 Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark The ancient sire descends 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

865 Conspicuous with three listed colours gay, Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, Greatly rejoic'd, and thus his joy broke forth. “O thou, who future things canst represent

870 As present, heav'nly instructor! I revive At this last sight, assurd that man shall live, With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. Far less I now lament for one whole world of wicked sons destroy'd, than I rejoice

875 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 those colour'd streaks in Heav'n

880

Distended, as the brow of God appeas’d?
Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind
The fluid skirts of that same watry cloud,
Lest it again dissolve, and shows the earth?"

To whom th'arch-angel. “ Dext'rously thou aim'st; So willingly doth God remit his ire,

885 Though late repenting him of man depravd; 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 sight, 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 set His triple-colour'd bow, whereon to look, And call to mind his covenant: day and night, Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost, 899 Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new, Both Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

THE END OF THE ELEVENTH BOOK.

THE

TWELFTH BOOK

OF

PARADISE LOST.

THE ARGUMENT. The angel Michael continues, from the flood, to relate what shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain, who that seed of the woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the fall; his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension; the state of the church till his second

Adam, greatly satisfied and recomforted these relations and promises, descends the hill rith Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quiet. ness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind them, and the cherubim taking their stations to guard the place.

PARADISE LOST.

BOOK XII.

5

AS one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed; so here the arch-angel paus'd
Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restor'd,
If Adam ought perhaps might interpose;
Then with transition sweet new speech resumes.

“ Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end;
And man, as from a second stock, proceed.
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
Must needs impair and weary human sense: 10
Henceforth what is to come I will relate;
Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
This second source of men, while yet but few,
And while the dread of judgment past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,

15 With some regard to what is just and right Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace, Lab'ring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock, Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,

20 With large wine-offerings pour'd, and sacred feast, Shall spend their days in joy unblam'd, and dwell Long time in peace, by families and tribes, Under paternal rule: till one shall rise of proud ambitious heart, who, not content 25 With fair equality, fraternal state, Will arrogate dominion undeserv'd Over his brethren, and quite dispossess

« ForrigeFortsæt »