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The effects, which thy original crime hath wrought
In some to spring from thee; who never touch'd
The excepted tree; nor with the snake con-
Nor sinn'd thy sin; yet from that sin derive
Corruption, to bring forth more violent deeds."
His eyes he open'd, and beheld a field,
Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves
New reap'd; the other part sheep-walks and
I' the midst an altar as the land-mark stood
Rustic, of grassy sord; thither anon
A sweaty reaper from his tillage brought
First fruits, the green ear, and the yellow sheaf,
Uneull'd, as came to hand; a shepherd next,
More meek, came with the firstlings of his
Choicest and best; then, sacrificing, laid
The inwards and their fat, with incense strow'd,
On the cleft wood, and all due rights perform'd:
His offering soon propitious fire from Heaven
Consum'd with nimble glance, and grateful
The other's not, for his was not sincere;
Whereat he inly rag'd, and, as they talk'd,
Smote him into the midriff with a stone
That beat out life! he fell; and, deadly pale,
Groan'd out his soul with gushing blood effus'd.
Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
Dismay'd, and thus in haste to the angel cried.
"O teacher, some great mischief hath befall'n To that meek man, who well had sacrific'd; Is piety thus and pure devotion paid "
To whom Michael thus, he also mov'd, replied. "These two are brethren, Adam, and to come Out of thy loins; the unjust the just hath slain, For envy that his brother's offering found From Heaven acceptance; but the bloody fact Will be aveng'd; and the other's faith, approv'd, Lose no reward; though here thou see him die, Rolling in dust and gore." To which our sire.
"Alas! both for the deed, and for the cause! But have I now seen Death? Is this the way I must return to native dust? O sight Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold, Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!"
To whom thus Michaël. "Death thou hast
In his first shape on Man; but many shapes Of Death, and many are the ways that lead To his grim cave, all dismal; yet to sense
More terrible at the entrance, than within.
Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die;
By fire, flood, famine, by intemperance more
In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
Before thee shall appear; that thou may'st
What misery the inabstinence of Eve [know
Shall bring on men." Immediately a place
Before his eyes appear'd, sad, noisome, dark;
A lazar-house it seem'd; wherein were laid
Numbers of all diseas'd: all maladies
Of ghastly spasm, or racking torture, qualms
Of heart-sick agony, all feverous kinds,
Convulsions, epilepsies, fierce catarrhis,
Intestine stone and ulcer, colic-pangs,
Demoniac phrenzy, moaping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy,
Marasmus, and wide-wasting pestilence,
Dropsies, and asthmas, and joint-racking rheums.
Dire was the tossing, deep the groans; Despair
Tended the sick busiest from couch to couch;
And over them triumphant Death his dart
Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd
With vows, as their chief good, and final hope.
Sight so deform what heart of rock could long
Dry-ey'd behold? Adam could not, but wept,
Though not of woman born; compassion quell'd
His best of man, and gave him up to tears
A space, till firmer thoughts restrain'd excess;
And, scarce recovering words, his plaint re-
"O miserable mankind, to what fall Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd! Better end here unborn. Why is life given To be thus wrested from us? rather, why Obtruded on us thus? who, if we knew What we receive, would either not accept Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down; Glad to be so dismiss'd in peace. Can thus The image of God in Man, created once So goodly and erect, though faulty since, To such unsightly sufferings be debas'd Under iuhuman pains? Why should not Man, Retaining still divine similitude In part, from such deformities be free, And, for his Maker's image sake, exempt?” "Their Maker's image," answer'd Michael, "then
Forsook them, when themselves they vilified
To serve ungovern'd Appetite; and took
His image whom they serv'd, a brutish vice,
Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
Therefore so abject is their punishment,
Disfiguring not God's likeness, but their own;
Or if his likeness, by themselves defac'd;
While they pervert pure Nature's healthful
To loathsome sickness; worthily, since they God's image did not reverence in themselves."
"I yield it just," said Adam, "and submit. But is there yet no other way, besides These painful passages, how we may come To death, and mix with our connatural dust?
"There is," said Michael, "if thou well observe The rule of Not too much; by temperance taught, In what thou eat'st and drink'st; seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till many years over thy head return:
So may'st thou live; till, like ripe fruit, thou drop
Into thy mother's lap; or be with ease
Gather'd, not harshly pluck'd; for death mature:
This is Old Age; but then, thou must outlive
Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty; which will
To wither'd, weak, and gray; thy senses then,
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego,
To what thou hast; and, for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume
The balm of life." To whom our ancestor.
"Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong Life much; bent rather, how I may be quit, Fairest and easiest of this cumbrous charge; Which I must keep till my appointed day Of rendering up, and patiently attend My dissolution." Michaël replied.
"Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou Live well; how long, or short, permit to Heaven: And now prepare thee for another sight."
He look'd, and saw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue; by some, were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound Of instruments, that made melodious chime, Was heard, of harp and organ; and, who mov'd Their stops and chords, was seen; his volant touch,
Instinct through all proportions, low and high,
Fled and pursued transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one who, at the forge
Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
Down to the veins of Earth; thence gliding hot
To some cave's mouth; or whether wash'd by
From underground ;) the liquid ore he drain'd
Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he form'd
First his own tools; then, what might else be
Fusil or graven in metal. After these, [wrought
But on the hither side, a different sort
From the high neighbouring hills, which was
Down to the plain descended; by their guise
Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent
To worship God aright, and know his works
Not hid; nor those things last, which might
Freedom and peace to men: they on the plain
Long had not walk'd, when from the tents,behold!
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In gems and wanton dress; to the harp they sung
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on:
The men, though grave, ey'd them; and let their
Rove without rein; till, in the amorous net [eyes
Fast caught, they lik'd; and each his liking chose;
And now of love they treat, till the evening-star,
Love's harbinger, appear'd; then, all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd:
With feast and music all the tents resound.
Such happy interview, and fair event [flowers,
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands,
And charming symphonies, attach'd the heart
Of Adam, soon inclin❜d to admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus express'd.
"True opener of mine eyes, prime angel blest; Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past; Those were of hate and death, or pain much
Here Nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends."
To whom thus Michael. "Judge not what is best
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet;
Created, as thou art, to nobler end
Holy and pure, conformity divine.
Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race
Who slew his brother; studious they appear
Of arts that polish life, inventers rare;
Unmindful of their Maker, though his spirit[none.
Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledg'd
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;
For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd
Of goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
Yet empty of all good wherein consists
Woman's domestic honour and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye.
To these that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy,
Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep."
To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft.
"O pity and shame, that they, who to live well
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread
Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint!
But still I see the tenour of man's woe
Holds on the same, from woman to begin."
"From man's effeminate slackness it begins," Said the angel, "who should better hold his place By wisdom, and superior gifts receiv'd. But now prepare thee for another scene."
He look'd, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between;
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war,
Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise;
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed,
Single or in array of battle rang'd
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood;
One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock,
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain,
Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly,
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray;
With cruel tournament the squadrons join;
Where cattle pastur'd late, now scatter'd lies
With carcasses and arms the ensanguin'd field,
Deserted: others to a city strong
Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and
Assaulting; others from the wall defend [mine,
With dart and javelin,stones, and sulphurous fire;
On each hand slaughter, and gigantic deeds.
In other part the scepter'd heralds call
To council, in the city-gates; anon
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon
In factious opposition; till at last,
Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and
Of middle age one rising, eminent
In wise deport, spake much of rightand wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace,
And judgment from above: him old and young
Exploded, and had seiz'd with violent hands;
Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence
Unseen amid the throng: so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law,
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
Lamenting turn'd full sad: "O! what are these,
Death's ministers, not men? who thus deal death
Inhumanly to men, and multiply
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
His brother: for of whom such massacre
Make they, but of their brethren ; men of men?
But who was that just man, whom had not Hea-
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
Mean while the south-wind rose, and, with black
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under Heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
Sent up amain; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark ceiling stood; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous; and continued, till the Earth
No more was seen: the floating vessel swum
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else
Flood overwhelm'd, and them with all their
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?"
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
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 call'd;
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Man-slaughter, 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 be-
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
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 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;
And scarce to the 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
When violence was ceas'd, and war on Earth,
All would have then gone well; peace would have
Rapt 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
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
Allar'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 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;
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
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploits, but of true virtue void;
Who, having spilt much blood, and done much
Subduing nations, and achiev'd thereby
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey;
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and
Surfeit, and lust; till wantonness and pride[sloth,
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
Of them derided, but of God observ'd
The one just man alive; by his command
Shall build a wonderous ark, as thou beheldst,
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 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 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'
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;
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
His sluices, as the Heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on groun
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 [light:
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may
The second time returning, in his bill
An olive-leaf he brings, pac ific 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,
Betokening 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, eavenly instructor! I revive
At this last sight; assur'd that Man shall live,
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroy'd, 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. [Heaven
But say, what mean those colour'd streaks in
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 the arch-angel. "Dextrously thou So willingly doth God remit his ire, [aim'st; Though late repenting him of Man deprav'd; 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, 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 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
Both Heaven and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell."
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 the arch-angel paus'd
Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restor'd,
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.
"Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and
And Man, as from a second stock, proceed. [end;
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,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, [feast,
With large wine-offerings pour'd, and sacred
Shall spend their days in joy unblam'd; and
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 undeserv'd
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the Earth;
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous :
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styl'd
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
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
And get themselves a name; lest, far dispers'd
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 duings, them beholding soon,
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heaven-towers; and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
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 mock'd they storm: great laughter was in
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange,
And hear the din: thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam'd."
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeas'd.
** O execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren; to himself assuming
Authority usurp'd, from God not given:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
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's
That son, who on the quiet state of men
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
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being
Reason in man obscur'd, or not obey'd,
Immediately inordinate desires,
And upstart passions, catch the government
From reason; and to servitude reduce
Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God, in judgment just,
Subjects him from without to violent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
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 annex'd,
Deprives them of their outward liberty;
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;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invok'd,
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
While yet the patriarch liv'd, who 'scap'd the
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
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
A mighty nation; and upon him shower [raise
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 Chaldæa, passing now the ford
To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;