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Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
and soon behold. He look’d, and saw 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, feast and dance; Marrying or prostituting, as befel, Rape or adultery, where passing fair Allur'd them; thence from cups to civil broils. At length a reverend sire among them came, And of their doings great dislike declar'd And testified against their ways; he oft Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, Triumphs or festivals; and to them preach'd Conversion and repentance, as to souls In prison, under judgements 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 vessel of huge bulk; Measur’d by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth, Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a door Contriv’d; and of provisions laid in large, For man and beast : when lo, a wonder strange!
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small,
prow Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else Flood overwhelm'd, and them with all their
pomp Deep under water rollid; sea cover'd sea, Sea without shore ; and in their palaces, Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp’d And stabled; of mankind, so numerous late, All left iri one small bottom swum imbark’d, How didst thou grieve then Adam, to behold The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, Depopulation! Thee another flood, Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drown'd, And sunk thee as thy sons; till, gently rear'd By the Angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last, Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
O visions isl foreseen! Better had I
crown'd With length of happy days the race of Man ; 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, And whether here the race of Man will end. To whom thus Michael. Those, whom last thou
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
eminent And great exploits, but of true virtue void ; Who, having spilt much blood, and done much waste Subduing nations, and achiev'd thereby Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey; Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and sloth, Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. The conquer'd also, and enslav'd by war, Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose And fear of God; from whom their piety feign'd In sharp contést of battle found no aid Against invaders; therefore, cool'd in zeal, Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords Shall leave them to enjoy; for the earth shall bear More than enough, that temperance may be tried: So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav'd; Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot; One man except, the only son of light In a dark age, against example good, Against allurement, custom, and a world Offended : fearless of reproach and scorn, Or violence, he of their wicked ways Shall them admonish ; and before them set The paths of righteousness, how much more safe, And full of peace; denouncing wrath to come
On their impenitence, and shall return
shall leave the ocean to usurp Beyond all bounds; till inundation 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 flood, 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 No sanctity, 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, Which now abated; for the clouds were fled, Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry, Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd