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"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 escaped "Famine and anguish will at last consume, "Wandering that watery desert. I had hope, "When violence was ceased, and war on earth, 780

"All would have then gone well; peace would have crowned "With length of happy days the race of man; "But I was far deceived; 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 sawst "In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they "First seen in acts of prowess eminent "And great exploits, but of true virtue void: 790

"Who, having spilt much blood, and done much waste,
"Subduing nations, and achieved 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 conquered also, and enslaved by war,
"Shall, with their freedom lost; all virtue lose,
"And fear of God; from whom their piety feigned
"In sharp contest of battle found no aid 800

"Against invaders; therefore, cooled 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 depraved,
"(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 810

"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 observed

'' The one just man alive; by his command

"Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheldst,

"To save himself, and household, from amidst 820

"A world devote to universal wrack.

"No sooner he, with them of man and beast

"Select for life, shall in the ark be lodged,

"And sheltered round, but all the cataracts

"Of Heaven, set open, on the earth shall pour

"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 moved 830

"Out of his place, pushed by the horned flood,

"With all his verdure spoiled, 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 ores, 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 looked, and saw the ark hull on the flood, 840

Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry,
Wrinkled the face of Deluge, as decayed;
And the clear Sun on his wide watery glass
Gazed 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 stopt
His sluices, as the Heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, 850

Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed.
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! 86a

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,

Betokening peace from God, and covenant new.

Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, Greatly rejoiced; and thus his joy broke forth:

"O thou, who future things canst represent 870

"As present, heavenly instructor! I revive
"At this last sight, assured that man shall live,
"With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
"Far less I now lament for one whole world
"Of wicked sons destroyed, 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 coloured streaks in Heaven
"Distended, as the brow of God appeased? 880

"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 the Archangel:

"Dexterously thou aimst; "So willingly doth God remit his ire, "Though late repenting him of man depraved; "Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw "The whole earth filled with violence, and all flesh "Corrupting each their way; yet, those removed, "Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, Sgc

"That he relents, not to blot out mankind;

1 And makes a covenant never to destroy

1 The earth again by flood; nor let the sea

'Surpass his bounds; nor rain to drown the world,

1 With man therein or beast; but, when he brings

1 Over the earth a cloud, will therein set

: His triple-coloured bow, whereon to look,

1 And call to mind his covenant: day and night,

1 Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,

'Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new, 900

'Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell."

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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 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 baits at noon,

Though bent on speed; so here the Archangel paused,

Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored,

If Adam aught 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: "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; "Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, "Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock

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