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To whom thus Michael. These are the product
Of those ill mated marriages thou saw'st;
Where good with bad were match’d, who of them-
Abhor to join; and by imprudence mix’d
Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in those days, might only shall be admir'd,
And valour and heroic virtue callid:
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory, and for glory done
Of triumph to be styl'd great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods,
Destroyers rightlier call’d and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achiev’d, renown on earth,
And what most merits fame in silence hid.
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheld'st
The only righteous in a world perverse,
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With foes for daring single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his saints; him the most High
Wrapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds
Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God
High in salvation and the climes of bliss,
Exempt from death : to show thee what reward
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment:
Which now direct thine eyes 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 befell,
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 testify'd 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 judgments 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,
711 Which] The syntax is remarkable, which' governed not by the verb next following, but by the last in the sentence.
• Which, now direct thine eyes, and soon behold. Newton. 719 sire) See Brathwait's Honest Ghost, p. 128. grave reverend sire.'
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,
Came sevens, and pairs, and enter'd in, as taught
Their order : last the sire and his three sons
With their four wives; and God made fast the door.
Meanwhile the south-wind rose, and, with black
Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under heav'n; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
amain : and now the thicken’d sky Like a dark ceiling stood ; down rush'd the rain Impetuous, and continu'd till the earth No more was seen; the floating vessel swum Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow Rode tilting c'er the waves; all dwellings else Flood overwhelm’d, and them with all their pomp Deep under water roll’d; 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, in 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 th' 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 ;
And scarce to th' angel'utter'dst thus thy plaint.
O visions ill foreseen! better had I
Liv'd ignorant of future, so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispens’d
The burden 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
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,
Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,
Man is not whom to warn ; those few escap'd
Famine and anguish will at last consume
Wandering that watery desert.
I had hope,
778 Famine] So Ovid Met. i. 311.
• Maximus pars unda rapitur, quibus unda pepercit
Illos longa domant inopi jejunia victu.' Newton. VOL. II.
When violence was ceas’d, and war on earth,
All would have then gone well; peace would have
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
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploits, but of true virtue void ;
Who having spill'd 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 contest 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 th' earth shall bear
More than enough, that temperance may be try'd:
So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav’d,
Justice and temperance, truth and faith forgot ;