Imágenes de páginas

Onseen 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 : “0! what are these
Death's ministers, not men ? who thus deal death
Inhumanly to men, and multiply
Ten thousandfuld the sin of him wbo slew
His brother: for of whom such massacre
Make they, but of their brethren; men of men ?
But who was that just man, whom, had 006

Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?”

To whom thus Michael : " These are the proOf those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st ; [duct Where good with bad'were match'd, who of them

Abhor to join ; and, by imprudence mix'd,
Produce provigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in those days might only shall be admir'd,
And valour and heroic virtue call'd;
To overcome in battle, and subdue
Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
Of human glory; and for glory done
Of triumph, to be styl'd great conquerors,
Patruns of mankind, gods, and sons of gods;
Destroyers rightlier call'd, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achiev'd, renown on earth;
And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
But he, the seventh from thee, whom chou lier
The only righteous in a world perverse, (hield's
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With fous, for dating single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God oulu come
To judge them with his saints : him the Mos

Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged stuestes

Did, as thon saw'xt, receive, to walk with God
High in salvation and the ciimes of bliss,
Exempt from death ; to show thee what reward
Awaits the good ; the rest what punishment;
Which now direct thine eyes and soon bebold.”
He look'd, and saw the face of things quico

chang'd ;
The lirazen throat of war had ceas'd to roar;
All now was turn'd to jollity and game.
To luxury and riot, feast and dance ;
Marrying or prostituting, as befell,
Rape or adultery, where passing fair
Allur'd them ; thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a reverend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declar'd,
And testified against their ways; he oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,.
Triumplis or festivals; and to them preach'd
Conversion and repentance, as to souls
In prison, under judgments imminent;
But all in vain : which when he saw, he ceas'd
Contending, and remov'd his tents far off ;
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk: [highth ,
Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and
Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a door
Contriv'd ; 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
Their order : last the sire and his three sons,
With their four wives; and God made fast tho

(win ::: Meanwhile the south-wind rose, and with back Wide-hovering, ali me chuds together urove From under heaveo : i he bills to their supply Vapour, and exhalation cusk and inoist, Sent up amain. And pow the thicken'd sky Liku a dark ceiling sivoj uuwn rush'd tho raise

Impetuous; and continued, till the earth
No more was seen : the floating vessel swuin
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves ; all dwelings else
Flood overwhelm'd, and them with all their pomp
Deep under water roll'd ; sea cover'd sea,
Sea without shore ; and in their palaces,
Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd
And stabled ; of mankind, so numerous late,
All left, in one small bottom swum imbark'd.
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy offspring, end so sa:l,
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,
l'hough comfortless ; as when a father mourns
His children, all in view destroy'd at once ;
And scarce to the angel uttered 'st thus thy plaint:

“O visions ill foreseen! better had I
Liv’d ignorant of future ! so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
Enough to bear ; those now, that were dispens'd
The burden of many ages, on me light
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortive, to torment me ere their being, {serk
With thought that they must be. Let no man
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall
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,
Grievous to bear : but that care now is past,
Man is not whom to wain: those few escap'd
Famine and anguish will at last consume,
Wandering that watery desert; I had hope,
When violence was ceas'd, and war on earth,
All would have then gone well ; peace would have
With length of happy days the race of man;
But I was far deceiv'd ; for now I see
Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
How comes it thus ? unfold, celestial guide,
And whether here the race of mar will end."
To whom thus Michael: “Those, whom las


thou saw'st
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploits, but of true virtue void ;
Who, having spilt much blood, and done mue.
Subduing nations, and achiev'd thereby (waste,
Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey :
Shall change their course to pleasure, ease, and

sloth, Surfeit and lust; till wantonness and pride Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. The conquer'd also, and enslav'd by war, Shall, with their freed'm lost, all virtue lose And fear of God ; from whom their piety feign'd In sharp contest of ba tle found no aid Against invaders ; therefore, cool'd in zeal, Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords Shall leave them to enjoy ; for the earth shall

hear More than enough, that teinperance may he tried : So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav'd; Justice and temperance, truth and faith, forgot : One man except, the only son of light In a dark age, against example good, Against allurement, custom, and a world Offended : fearless of reproach and scorn, Or violence, he of their wicked ways Shall them admonish ; and before them set The paths of righteousness, how much more safe And full of peace; denouncing wrath to wme On their impenitence; and shall return Of them pawided, but of God observ'u

The one just man alive; hy his comniaud
Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheld 8*,
To save himself, and household, from amidst
A world devote to universal wrack.
No sooner he, with them of man and beast
Select for life, shall in the ark be lodg'd,
And shelter'd round; but all the cataracts
Df heaven set open on the earth shall pour
Rain, day and night ; all fountains of the deep,
Broke up, shall heave the ocean to usurp
Beyond all bounds ; till inundation rise
Above the highest hills : then shall this mount
Of Paradise by might of waves be mov'd
Out of his place, push'd by the horned food.
With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the opening guli,
And there take root an island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and seit-1.ew's

clang ;
To teach thee that God attributes to place
No sanctity, if none be thither brought
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
And now what further shall ensue, behold."

He look'd, and saw the ark hull on the food,
Which now ahated; for the clouds were thed,
Driven by a keen north-wind, that, blowing dry
Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd ;
And the clear sun on his wide watery glass
Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot towards the deep ; who now had

stopt His sluices, as the heaven his windows shut. The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground, Fast on the top of some high mountain fix'd. And now the tops of hills, as rocks, appear ; With clamour thence the rapid currents drive, Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide.

« AnteriorContinuar »