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The Earth was form’d, but, in the womb as yet
285 Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave Into the clouds; their tops ascend the sky; So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low Down sunk a hollow bottom, broad and deep, Capacious bed of waters: thither they
290 Hasted with glad precipitance, uproll’d, As drops on dust conglobing from the dry: Part rise in crystal wall, or ridge direct, For haste; such flight the great command impress’d On the swift floods: as armies at the call
295 Of trumpet (for of armies thou hast heard) Troop to their standard; so the watery throng, Wave rolling after wave, where way they found, If steep, with torrent rupture, if through plain, Soft-ebbing; nor withstood them rock or hill; 300 But they, or under ground, or circuit wide With serpent error wandering, found their way, And on the washy ooze deep channels wore; Easy, ere God had bid the ground be dry, All but within those banks, where rivers now 305 Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. The dry land Earth, and the great receptacle Of congregated waters he callid Seas: And saw that it was good: and said, Let the Earth Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, 310 And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind,
Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth.
even and morn recorded the third day. Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide
340 The day from night; and let them be for signs, For seasons, and for days, and circling years; And let them be for lights, as I ordain Their office in the firmament of Heaven, To give light on the Earth; and it was so.
345 And God made two great lights, great for their use To Man, the greater to have rule by day,
The less by night, altern; and made the stars,
Spangling the hemisphere: then first adorn'd
And God said, Let the waters generate
396 And lakes and running streams the waters fill; And let the fowl be multiplied on the Earth. Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
400 Of fish that with their fins and shining scales Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft Bank the mid sea: part single, or with mate, Graze the seaweed their pasture, and through groves Of coral stray; or, sporting with quick glance, 405 Show to the sun their waved coats dropp'd with gold; Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk 410 Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, Tempest the ocean: there leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, on the deep Stretch'd like a promontory, sleeps or swims, And seems a moving land; and at his gills 415 Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. Meanwhile the tepid caves and fens and shores Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg that soon Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclosed 419
Their callow young; but feather'd soon and fledge
435 Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays: Others on silver lakes and rivers, bathed Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit
440 The dank, and rising on stiff pennons, tower The mid aerial sky: others on ground Walk'd firm; the crested cock whose clarion sounds The silent hours, and the other whose gay train Adorns him, color'd with the florid hue
445 Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus With fish replenish'd, and the air with fowl, Evening and morn solemnized the fifth day.
The sixth, and of creation last, arose With evening harps and matin; when God said, 450 Let the earth bring forth soul living in her kind, Cattle, and creeping things, and beast of the Earth, Each in their kind. The Earth obey'd, and straight Opening her fertile womb teem'd at a birth Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms, 455