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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
Of them derided, but of God observ’d
The one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheld’st,
To save himself and household from amidst
A world devote to universal wrack.
No sooner he with them of man and beast
Select for life shall in the ark be lodg’d,
And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts
Of heav'n set open on the earth shall

Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep
Broke up shall heave 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 spoild, and trees adrift,



830 834

817 observ'd] Observations honoured. C. J.
831 horned] See Browne's Britan. Past. ii. p. 190.

• And now the horned flood bore to our isle.' Hor. Od. iv. 14. 25.

Sic tauriformis volvitur Aufidus.' and Virg. Geo. iv. 371. Æn. viii. 77.


Down the great river to the op’ning 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,
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 watery glass
Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
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 stopp'd


835 haunt] Virg. Æn. V. 128. • Apricis statio gratissima mergis. Hom. Hymn. Apoll. 77.

Πουλύποδες δ' εν εμοί θαλάμας φώκαι τε μελαιναι,

Οικία ποιήσονται ακηδέα.
835 clang] Hom. Il. iii. 3. Stat. Theb. v. 15, xii. 515.

-Grues Aquilone fugatæ
Cum videre Pharon; tunc æthera latius implent

Tunc hilari clangore sonant.' 840 hull] v. Donne's Poems, p. 316. xxxi. "A great ship overset, or without saile hulling.' Queen Elizabeth's Tear, by C. Lever, 1607, 4to. F. 2. Hulling upon the river where she lay.' Sandy's Psalms, p. 181. "The ship hulls, as the billows flow.'

847 tripping] Drayton applies this word to the flow of rivers : Polyolb. Song xiii. “The Avon trips along.' xv. «The Isis from her source comes tripping with delight ;' and xxvi. • Darwin from her fount comes tripping down towards Trent.' Todd.

848 soft foot] See Drakenborch's Note on Sil. Italicus, vi. 140. p. 298. Lucret. v. 274. 'Liquido pede,' with Wakefield's Note, and Jer. Taylor's Sermon on Lady Carbery, fol. p. 169.


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His sluices, as the heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground
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:
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 his head beholds
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,
Betok’ning 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
As present, heavenly instructor, I revive
At this last sight, assur'd that man shall live
With all the creatures, and their seed

Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroy'd, than I rejoice



875 885

852 tops] Backs. vii. 206. Bentl. MS.

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 heaven,
Distended as the brow of God appeas'd ?

Or serve they as a flowery verge to bind
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud,
Lest it again dissolve and shower the earth?

To whom th’ archangel. Dextrously thou aim'st; So willingly doth God remit his ire, 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 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, Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new, Both heaven and earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

880 brow) Fenton proposed to read. The bow of God.'

886 late] Fenton placed a comma after 'late,' but Bentley removed it, and gave the line agreeably to Milton's own editions.

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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 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 stations to guard the place.

As one who in his journey bates at noon, Though bent on speed, so here th' archangel paus’d Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restord, If Adam aught 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

1 As one] When the last book was divided into two, in the second edition, these first five lines were added:

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