Imágenes de páginas

To whom the Archangel. “ Dexterously thou So willingly doth God remit his ire; [aimst ; Though late repenting him of man depraved, Grieved at his heart, when, looking down, he saw The whole earth fill’d with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way ; yet those removed, Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, That he relents, not to blot out mankind; And makes a covenant, never to destroy The earth again by flood, nor let the sea Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world With man therein, or beast; but, when he brings Over the earth a cloud, will therein set His triple coloured bow, whereon to look, And call to mind his covenant. Day and night, Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost Shall hold their course; till fire purge all things new Both Heaven & Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.”






The Angel Michael continues, from the flood, to relate wliat shall suc.

then in the mention of Abrahaja, comes by degrees to explain who that Seed of the Woman shall be which was promised Adam audi Eve in the call. His incarnation, death, resurrection, and asceusion; the state of the church till his second coming. 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 quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place.

[ocr errors]



As one who, in his journey, baits at noon, Tho’ bent on speed ; so here the Archangel paused, Betwixt the world destroy'd, and world restored ; If Adam aught, perhaps might interpose : Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.

“ Thus thou hast seen one world begin, & end; And man, as from a second stock, proceed. Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine Must needs impair and weary human sense : Henceforth, what is to come I will relate; Thou therefore give due audience, & attend. This second source of men, while yet but few, And while the dread of judgment pass'd remains Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, With some regard to what is just and right, Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace, Labouring the soil, & reaping plenteous crop, Corn, wine, & oil: & from the herd or flock, Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid. With large wine-offerings pour'd, & sacred feast, Shall spend their days in joy, unblamed, & dwel Long time in peace, by families and tribes, Under paternal rule : till one shall rise, Of proud ambitious heart, who not conte With fair equality, fraternal state, Will arrogate dominion undeserved, Over his brethren, and quite dispossess Concord and law of nature from the earth; Hunting, & men, not beasts, shall be his game, 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; And from rebellion shall derive his name, Though of rebellion others he accusc.


He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
With him, or under him, to tyrannize,
Marching from Eden, towards the west, shall find
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 & tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
And get themselves a name, lest, far dispers'd
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
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heaven's 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.
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,
And hear the din : thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.”

Wheretó 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
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
Himself and his rash army? where thin air,
Above the clouds,

clouds, will pine his entrails gross, And famish him of breath, if not of bread.”

To whom thus Michael. “ Justly thou abhor'st
That son, who on the quiet state of men
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

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »