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Like a dark ceiling stood ; down rush'd the rain
750 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,
755 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 stoodst at last, Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
760 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 Lived ignorant of future, so had borne My part of evil only, each day's lot
765 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 770 Henceforth, to be foretold, what shall befal Him, or his children ; evil, he may be sure, Which neither his foreknowing can prevent ; And he the future evils shall, no less In apprehension than in substance, feel
775 Grievous to bear : but that care now is pass’d, 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,
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 deceived; for now I see Peace to corrupt, no less than war to waste. How comes it thus ? unfold, celestial guide ;
785 And whether here the race of man will end ?”
To whom thus Michael. “Those whom 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 ;
having spill?d much blood, and done much waste,
No sanctity, if none be thither brought
845 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 stopp'd His sluices, as the Heaven his windows shut. The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
850 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 fies;
855 And after him, the surer messenger, A dove, sent forth once and again, to spy Green tree, or ground, whereon his foot may light; The second time returning, in his bill An olive leaf he brings, pacific sign;
860 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
“O'thou, who future things canst represent
880 Or serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind The Auid skirts of that same watery cloud, Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth ?"
The Angel Michael continues, from the flood, to relate wliat shallsuc.
ceed; then in the mention of Abrahain, comes by degrees to explain who that Seed of the Woman shall be which was promised Adam and Eve in the call. His incirnation, derth, resurrection, and ascension; the state of the church till his second coining. Adam, greatly satisfied and re-comforted by these relations and promises, descends the hill with Michael : wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quiet. ness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery srord waving behind them, and the Che. rubim taking their stations to guard the place.