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Much better seems this vision, and more hope
Of peaceful days portends, than those two pass’d; 600
Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse;
Here Nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.

To whom thus Michael: Judge not what is best
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet;
Created, as thou art, to nobler end,

605 Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother; studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventors rare;

610 Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledged none. Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget: For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd Of Goddesses so blithe, so smooth, so gay, .

615
Yet empty of all good, wherein onsists
Woman's domestic honor and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye. 620
To these that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy, 625
Erelong to swim at large; and laugh, for which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep.

To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft:
O pity and shame, that they, who to live well
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread

630
Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint!
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.

From Man's effeminate slackness it begins,

Said the Angel, who should better hold his place 635
By wisdom, and superior gifts received.
But now prepare thee for another scene.

He look'd, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between;
Cities of Men with lofty gates and towers,

640 Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war, Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle ranged Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood; 645 One way a band select from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650 But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray; With cruel tournament the squadrons join; Where cattle pastured late, now scatter'd lies With carcasses and arms the ensanguined field, Deserted: Others to a city strong

655 Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and mine, Assaulting: others from the wall defend With dart and javelin, stones, and sulphurous fire; On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. In other part the sceptred heralds call

660 To council, in the city-gates; anon Gray-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

665 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 670

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, 675
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? 680
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; (selves
Where good with bad were match’d, who of them-
Abhor to join; and, by imprudence mix'd, 686
Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in those days might only shall be admired,
And valor and heroic virtue call'd;

690 To overcome in battle, and subdue Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch Of humàn glory; and for glory done Of triumph, to be styled great conquerors,

695 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 beheldst 700 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, Wrap'd in a balmy cloud with winged steeds, 706

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; 710
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;

715
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,

720 And testified against their ways; he oft Frequented their assemblies, whereso met, Triumphs of festivals; and to them preach'd Conversion and repentance, as

souls In prison, under judgment imminent:

725 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 cubit, length, and breadth, and height; Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a door 731 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 735 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 740 Vapor, and exhalation dusk and moist, Sent up amain; 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 745
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,

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 stood'st 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 Henceforth to be foretold what shall befal

771 Him or his children; evil he may be sure, Which neither his foreknowing can prevent; And he the future evil 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,

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