صور الصفحة

"Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, 20

"With large wine-offerings poured and sacred feast,

"Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell

"Long time in peace, by families and tribes,

"Under paternal rule; till one shall rise

"Of proud ambitious heart, who, not content

"With fair equality, fraternal state,

"Will arrogate dominion undeserved

"Over his brethren, and quite dispossess

"Concord and law of nature from the earth;

"Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his game) 30

"With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse

"Subjection to his empire tyrannous:

"A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled

'' Before the Lord; as, in despite of Heaven,

"Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty,

"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 tower whose top may reach to Heaven,

"And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed

"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, 50

"Comes down to see their city, ere the tower

"Obstruct Heaven-towers; and in derision sets

"Upon their tongues a various spirit, to raze

"Quite out their native language; and, instead,

"To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:

"Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud,

"Among the builders; each to other calls,

"Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage,

"As mocked 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' named."

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased: "O execrable son! so to aspire "Above his brethren; to himself assuming "Authority usurped, from God not given: "He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, "Dominion absolute; that right we hold "By his dominion; but man over men "He made not lord; such title to himself 70

"Reserving, human left from human free.
"But this usurper his encroachment proud
"Stays not on man; to God his tower 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?"

To whom thus Michael:

"Justly thou abhorr'st "That son, who on the quiet state of men 80

"Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
"Rational liberty; yet know withal,
"Since thy original lapse, true liberty
"Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
"Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
"Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
"Immediately inordinate desires,
"And upstart passions, catch the government
"From reason; and to servitude reduce
"Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits 90

"Within himself unworthy powers to reign
"Over free reason, God, in judgment just,
"Subjects him from without to violent lords;
"Who oft as undeservedly enthral
"His outward freedom: tyranny must be;
"Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
"Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
"From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,

'But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,

'Deprives them of their outward liberty; 100

'Their inward lost: witness the irreverent son

'Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame

'Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,

'' Servant of servants,' on his vicious race.

"Thus will this latter, as the former world, 'Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last, 'Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw 'His presence from among them, and avert 'His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth 'To leave them to their own polluted ways; 110

'And one peculiar nation to select
'From all the rest, of whom to be invoked—
'A nation from one faithful man to spring:
'Him, on this side Euphrates yet residing,
'Bred up in idol-worship—(O, that men—
'Canst thou believe ?—should be so stupid grown,
'While yet the patriarch lived who scaped the flood,
'As to forsake the living God, and fall
'To worship their own work in wood and stone
'For Gods!)—yet him God the Most High vouchsafes 120
'To call by vision, from his father's house,
'His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
'Which he will show him; and from him will raise
'A mighty nation, and upon him shower
'His benediction so, that in his seed
'All nations shall be blest: he straight obeys—
'Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes:
'I see him, (but thou canst not,) with what faith
'He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
'Ur of Chaldea, passing now the ford, 130

'To Haran ; after him a cumbrous train
'Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
'Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
'With God, who called him, in a land unknown.
'Canaan he now attains: I see his tents
'Pitched about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
'Of Moreh; there, by promise, he receives
'Gift to his progeny of all that land,

"From Hamath northward to the Desert south;

"(Things by their names I call, though yet unnamed;) 140

"From Hermon east to the great western sea;

"Mount Hermon—yonder sea—each place behold

"In prospect, as I point them; on the shore,

"Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream,

"Jordan, true limit eastward; but his sons

"Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills.

"This ponder, that all nations of the earth

"Shall in his seed be blessed: by that seed

"Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise

"The serpent's head; whereof to thee anon 15°

"Plainer shall be revealed. This patriarch blest,

"Whom 'faithful Abraham' due time shall call,

"A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves;

"Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown:

"The grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs

"From Canaan, to a land hereafter called

"Egypt, divided by the river Nile;

"See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths

"Into the sea. To sojourn in that land

"He comes, invited by a younger son 160

"In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds

'' Raise him to be the second in that realm

"Of Pharaoh: there he dies, and leaves his race

"Growing into a nation; and, now grown,

"Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks

"To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests

"Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them slaves

"Inhospitably, and kills their infant males:

"Till by two brethren (these two brethren call

"Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170

"His people from enthralment, they return,

"With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.

"But first the lawless tyrant, who denies

"To know their God, or message to regard,

"Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire:

"To blood unshed the rivers must be turned;

"Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill

"With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land;

"His cattle must of rot and murren die;

"Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 18c

"And all his people; thunder mixed with hail,

"Hail mixed with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky,

"And wheel on the earth, devouring where it rolls;

"What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,

"A darksome cloud of locusts, swarming down,

"Must eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;

"Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,

"Palpable darkness, and blot out three days;

"Last, with one midnight-stroke, all the first-born

"Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 190

"The river-dragon tamed at length submits

"To let his sojourners depart, and oft

"Humbles his stubborn heart, but still, as ice

"More hardened after thaw; till, in his rage

"Pursuing whom he late dismissed, the sea

"Swallows him, with his host; but them let pass,

"As on dry land, between two crystal walls;

"Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand

"Divided till his rescued gain their shore:

"Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, 200

"Though present in his Angel; who shall go

"Before them in a cloud, and pillar of fire—.

"By day a cloud, by night a pillar of fire;

"To guide them in their journey, and remove

"Behind them, while the obdurate king pursues:

"All night he will pursue; but his approach

"Darkness defends between till morning watch;

"Then, through the fiery pillar and the cloud

"God looking forth will trouble all his host,

"And craze their chariot-wheels: when, by command, 210

"Moses once more his potent rod extends

"Over the sea; the sea his rod obeys;

"On their embattled ranks the waves return,

"And overwhelm their war: the race elect

"Safe, towards Canaan from the shore, advance

"Through the Wild Desert; not the readiest way,

"Lest, entering on the Canaanite alarmed,

"War terrify them inexpert, and fear

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