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Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mix’d,
Assemble and harangues are heard; but soon,
In factious opposition; till, at last,
Of middle age one rising, eminent
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace,
And judgment from above; him old and young
Exploded, and had seized 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 thousand fold 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 Heaven
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

themselves
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 inight only shall be admired,
And valour and heroic virtue call’d.
To overcome in battle, and subdue

Nations, and bring home spoils, with infinite
Manslaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory; and for glory done
Of triumph, to be styled great conquerors,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods;
Destroyers rightlier call’d, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth;
And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
But he, the seventh from thee, whom thou beheld'st
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;
Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.”
He look'd, and saw the face of things quite
changed;
The brazen throat of war had ceased 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
Allured them; thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a reverend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declared,
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 judgment imminent:
But all in vain: which, when he saw, he ceased
Contending, and removed his tents far off:
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk;
Measured by a cubit, length, and breadth and height,
Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a door
Contrived; 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 door.
Meanwhile the south wind rose, and, with black

wings
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under heaven; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation, dusk and moist,
Sent up arnain. 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 pomp,
Deep under water rolld; 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 embark'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 utteredst thus thy plaint:

“O visions ill foreseen! better had I
Lived ignorant of future : so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
Enough to bear: those now, that were dispensed
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 befal
Him or his children; evil, he

may 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 escaped, Famine and anguish will, at last, consume, Wandering that watery desert. I had hope, When violence was ceased, and war on earth, All would have then gone well; peace would have

crown'd,

be sure,

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, w hom last thou

saw'st
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

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 conquer’d, also, and enslaved 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 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 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

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