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Driv'n by a keen north wind, that blowing dry
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd;
And the clear sun on his wide 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 tow'ards 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 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.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,
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 Heaven, over head beholds A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
865 Conspicuous with three listed colours gay Betokening peace from God, and cov'nant 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, assur'd 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
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
Distended as the brow of God appeas'd,
Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind
The fluid skirts of that same wat’ry cloud,
Lest it again dissolve, and show'r the earth ?
To whom the Arch-Angel. Dext'rously thou aim'st; 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 Aesh 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 food, 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 cov'nant : day and night, Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost 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 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; th state of the church till his second coming. Adam greatly satisfied and recomforted by these relations and promises descends the hill with Michael; wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking their station to guard the place.
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. 5
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 :
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,
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,
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
Concord and law of nature from the earth,
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous :
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styl'd
Before the Lord, as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heav'n claiming second sov'reignty; 35
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 40
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell :
Of brick, and of that stuff they cast to build
A city and tow'r, whose top may reach to Heaven;
And get themselves a name, lest far dispers'd 45
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks
To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spi'rit to rase
Quite out their native language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown: 55
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders; each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mock'd they storm; great laughter was in Heaven,
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange 60
And hear the din; thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d.
WhereTo thus Adam fatherly displeas'd.
O execrable son so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurp’d, from God not given :
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord : such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.
But this usurper his encroachment proud
Stays not on man; to God his tow'r intends
Siege and defiance: Wretched man! What food
Will he convey up thither to sustain
Himself and his rash army, where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And famish him of breath, if not of bread?