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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 tow'r
Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various sp’rit 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 65
Authority usurp'd; from God not giv'n.

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 tow'r intends
Siege and defiance. Wretched man! what food
Will he convey up thither to sustain

75 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 abhorrst
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
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being.
Reason in man obscur'd, or not obey'd, 86
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 pow'rs to reign gi
Over free reason, God in judgment just
Subjects him from without to violent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly inthrall
His outward freedom. Tyranny must be, 95
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, 100
Their inward lost. Witness th' irrer rent 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 fornier world, 105
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last,

I 21

Weary'd with their iniquities, withdraw


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 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 115
(Canst thou believe ?) should be so stupid grown,
Whileyet the patriarch liv'd, who scap'd 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
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 show'r
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 130
To Haran : after him a cumb'rous train
Of herds, and flocks, and num'rous servitude;
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains : I see his tents

135 Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighb’ring plain

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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, tho' yet unnam’d,)
From Hermon east to the great western sea;
Mount Herinon, 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 145
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 Deliv’rer, who shall bruise
The Serpent's head: whereof to thee anon 150
Plainlier shall be reveal'd. 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.
Thegrandchild with twelve sonsincreas'd, departs
From Canaan to a land, hereafter call’d

Egypt, divided by the river Nile.
See where it flows, disgorging at sev’n 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 165 To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests

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Too num'rous; whence of guests he makes them

Inhospitably', and kills their infant males :
Till by two brethren (those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170
His people from inthralment, they return
With glory’and spoil back to their promis'd land.
But first the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compell’d by signs and judgments dire.
To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd; 176
Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill
With loath'd intrusion, and fill all the land;
His cattle must of rot and murrain die;
Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss,
And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend th' Egyptian sky,
And wheel on th' 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 strokę, all the first-born
Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds
The river-dragon tam’d, at length submits 191
To let his sojourners depart, and oft
Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice
More harden'd after thaw, till in his rage
Pursuing whom he late dismiss’d, the sea 195

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