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Patrons of mankind, Gods, and sons of Gods,
Destroyers rightlier call'd and plagues of men.
Tbus fame shall be achiev'd, renown on earth,
And what most merits fame in silence hid.
But he the sev'nth from thee, whom thou beheldst
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
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; 710
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 befel, Rape or adultery, where passing fair Allur'd them; thence from cups to civil broils. Al length a reverend sire among them came, And of their doings great dislike declar'd, 720 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

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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, 729
Measur’d by cubit, length, and breadth, and heighth,
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 sev'ns, 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 wings
Wide hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under Heav'n; the hills to their supply 748
Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,
Sent up amain ; and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark cieling stood ; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous, and continued till the earth
No more was seen ; the fl ating vessel swam
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings else
Flood overwhelm’d, and them with'all their pomp
Deep under water rollid; sea cover'd sea,
Sea without shore; and in their palaces 750
Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd
And stabled ; of mankind, so nuinerous late,
All left, in one small bottom swam imbark'd.
How didst thou grieve then, Adamn, 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 769
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
And scarce to th' Augel 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 þurd'n 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 befal 771
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
Wand'ring that wat'ry, desert : I had hope
When violence was ceas'd, and war on earth, 780
All would have then gone well, peace would have

crown'd 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 (saw'st
First secn 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 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 800
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 temp'rance may be try'd:
So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav’d,
Justice and temp’rance, 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
Ofended; fearless of reproach and scorn,
Or violence, he of their wicked ways
Shall then 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 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 lodg'd,
And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts
Of Heav'n set open on the earth shall pour
Rain day and night ; all fountains of the deep


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 830 Out of his place, push'd by the horned flood With all his verdure spoild, and trees adrift, Down the

great river to the opening gulph, 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, 840 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;

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