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With large wine-offerings pour’d, and sacred feast,
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart, who, not content 25
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game) 30
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heaven claiming second sovereignty; 35
And from rebellion shall derive his name,
Though of rebellion others he accuse.
He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him or under him to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find 40
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell:
Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build
A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed
In foreign lands, their memory be lost;
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
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 tower
Obstruct Heaven-towers; and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
Quite out their native language; and, instead,
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown: 55
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 Heaven,
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange, 60
And hear the din: thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased:
O execrable son! so to aspire
Above his brethren; to himself assuming

Authority usurp'd, from God not given:
He 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

70 Reserving, human left from human free. But this usurper his encroachment proud Stays not on Man; to God his tower 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 abhorr'st 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: 85 Reason in man obscured or not obey'd, Immediately inordinate desires And upstart passions catch the government From reason; and to servitude reduce Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits 90 Within himself unworthy powers to reign Over free reason, God, in judgment just,

Subjects him from without to violent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly enthral
His outward freedom: tyranny must be;

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 lust: witness the irreverent 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 former world,

105 Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last, Wearied with their iniquities withdraw His presence

from 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 invoked, A nation from one faithful man to spring: Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, Bred up in idol-worship: 0, that men

115 (Canst thou believe!) should be so stupid grown, While yet the patriarch lived who scaped 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,

121 His kindred, and false Gods, into a land Which he will show him; and from him will raise A mighty nation; and upon him shower His benediction so that in his seed

125 All nations shall be bless'd: 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 Chaldea, passing now the ford

To Haran; after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wandering 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 neighboring plain 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 unnamed;) 140 From Hermon east to the great western Sea; Mount Hermon, 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 Deliverer, who shall bruise The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon

150 Plainlier shall be reveald. This patriarch bless’d, Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves; Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown: The grandchild, with twelve sons increas’d, departs From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd

156 Egypt, divided by the river Nile; See where it flows, disgorging at seven 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 (slaves Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them Inhospitably, and kills their infant males: Till by two brethren (these two brethren call'd Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim

170 His people from enthralment, they return, With glory and spoil, back to their promised land. But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies To know their God, or message to regard, Must be compelled by signs and judgments dire; 175 To blood unshed the rivers must be turn’d; Frogs, lice, and flies must all his palace fill With loathed intrusion, and fill all the land; His cattle must of rot and murrain die; Botches and blains must all his flesh emboss, 180 And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail, Hail mix'd with fire, must rend the Egyptian sky, And wheel on earth, devouring where it rolls; What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain, A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down 185 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 stroke, all the first-born Of Egypt must lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 190 The river-dragon tamed at length submits 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 Swallows him with his host; but them lets pass, As on dry land, between two crystal walls; Awed by the rod of Moses so to stand Divided, till his rescued gain their shore: Such wondrous power God to his saint will lend, 200

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