Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Forthwith from out the ark a raven Alica,
And after him, the surer messenger,
A dove sent forth once and again to spy
Green tree or ground, whereon his fout may light,
The second time returning, in his bill
An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign :
Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark
The ancient sire descends, with all his train :
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,
Betukening peace from God, and covenant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad,
Greatly rejoic'd; and thus his joy broke forth :

"O'thou, who future things canst represent
As present, heavenly instructor! I revive
At this last sight ; assur'd that man shall live,
With all the creatures, and their seed preserve.
Far less I now lament for one whole world
Of wicked sons destroy'd, than I rejoice
For one man found so perfect, and so just,
That God vouchsafes to raise another world
From him, and all his anger to forget. (heave.
But say, what mean those colour'd streaks in
Distended, as the brow of God appeas'd ?
Ir serve they, as a flowery verge, to bind
The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud,
Lest it again dissolve, and shower the earth ?”

To whom the archangel : “ Dextrously thou So willingly doth God remit his ire, (aim'st; Though late repenting him of man deprav'd; Griev'd at his heart, when looking down he saw The whole earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way; yet, those remov'd, 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 ; por let the sam

Surpass his hounds; nor rain to drown the world,
With man therein or beast; but when he brings
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
Yis triple-colour'd 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 and carth, wherein the just shak

dwell.”

+

BOOK XII.

THE ARGUMENT. The angel Michael continues, from the Flood, to relate what shall succeed ; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain, who that seed of the woman shall be, which was promised Adam and Eve in the fall; his incar. mation, death, resurrection, and ascension ; the state of the church till his second coming. Adam, greatly satisfied and recomforted by these relations and promises, descends the hill with Michael, wakens Eve, who all this while har slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and sube mission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword. waving behind them, and the cherubim tako ng their stations to guard the place

As one who in his journey baits at noon,
Though bont on speed ; so here the archangel

paus'd
Eetwixt the world destroy'd and world restor'd,
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes :

“ Thus thou hast seen one world begin and

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, and attend :

“ This second source of men, while yet but few
And while the dread of judgment past remains
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Leity,
W'ith some regard to what is just and right
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace :
Lubouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crops

Corn, wine, and oil : and, from the herd or flork,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings pour'd, and sacred feast,
Shall spend their days in joy unblam’d; and dweli
Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
With fair equality, fraternal state,
Will arrogate dominion undeserv'd
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting (and men, not beasts, shall be his gamo)
With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous :
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styl'd
Before the Lord ; as in despite of Heaven,
Or from Heaven claiming second sovranty;
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 tyrannise,
Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the niouth of hel).
Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build .
& city and tower, whose top may reach to heaven
And get themselves a name ; lest, far dispers'd
In foreign lands, their memory be lost:
Regardless wbether good or evil fame.
But God, who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks
To mark their duings, them beholding soon,
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.
Forthwith a hideous galble rises loud,
Among the builders; each to other calls
Not understand; till hoarse, and all in rage,

As mock'd they storm : great laughter was .n

heaven,
And looking down, to see the hubhub.strange,
And hear the din : thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d."

Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeas'd .
“ () 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 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
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 :
Reason in man obscur’d, or not obey'd,
immediately inordinate desires,
And upstart passions, catch the government
From reason; and to servitude reduce
91an, till then free. Therefore, since he permite
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 regions will decline so low

« AnteriorContinuar »