Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Earth was form’d, but, in the womb as yet
Of waters, embryon immature involved,
Appear'd not: over all the face of Earth
Main ocean flow'd, not idle; but, with warm
Prolific humor softening all her globe,

280
Fermented the great mother to conceive,
Satiate with genial moisture; when God said,
Be gather'd now, ye waters under Heaven,
Into one place, and let dry land appear.
Immediately the mountains huge appear

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.
He scarce had said, when the bare Earth, till then
Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorn'd,
Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad 315
Her universal face with pleasant green;
Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flower'd
Opening their various colors, and made gay
Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown,
Forth flourish'd thick the clustering vine, forth crept
The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed 321
Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub,
And bush with frizzled hair implicit: last
Rose, as in dance, the stately trees, and spread
Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemm'd 325
Their blossoms: with high woods the hills were crown'd:
With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side;
With borders long the rivers: the Earth now
Seem'd like to Heaven, a seat where Gods might dwell,
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt 330
Her saered shades: though God had yet not rain'd
Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground
None was but from the Earth a dewy mist
Went up, and water'd all the ground, and each
Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the Earth, 335
"God made, and every herb, before it grew
On the green stem: God saw that it was good:

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,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

The less by night, altern; and made the stars,
And set them in the firmament of Heaven
To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day

350
In their vicissitude, and rule the night,
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
Surveying his great work, that it was good:
For of celestial bodies first the sun
A mighty sphere he framed, unlightsome first,

355
Though of ethereal mould: then form’d the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of stars,
And sow'd with stars the Heaven, thick as a field:
Of light by far the greater part he took,
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed 360
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light; firm to retain
Her gather'd beams, great palace now of light.
Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light.

1365
And hence the morning planet gilds her horns,
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though from human sigh
So far remote, with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all the horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
His longitude through Heaven's high road: the gray,
Dawn and the Pleiades before him danced,
Shedding sweet influence: less bright the moon, 375
But opposite in leveld west was set,
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
From him; for other light she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till night; then in the east her turn she shines, 380
Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars, that then appear'd

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Spangling the hemisphere: then first adorn'd
With their bright luminaries that set and rose, 385
Glad evening and glad morn crown'd the fourth day.

And God said, Let the waters generate
Reptile with spawn abundant, living souls:
And let fowl fly above the Earth, with wings
Display'd on the open firmament of Heaven. 390
And God created the great whales, and each
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously
The waters generated by their kinds;
And every bird of wing after his kind;
And saw that it was good, and bless'd them, saying,
Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas

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
They summ’d their pens; and, soaring the air sublime,
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
In prospect; there the eagle and the stork
On cliff and cedar tops their eyries build:
Part loosely wing the region, part more wise

425
In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
Their aery caravan, high over seas
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane 430
Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air
Floats as they pass, fann’d with unnumber'd plumes:
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings
Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale

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

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »