The Son of God presents to his Father the Prayers of our first Parents now repenting, and intercedes for them: God accepts them, but declares that they must no longer abide in Paradise; sends Michael with a Band of Cherubim to dispossess them; but first to reveal to Adam future things: Michaels coming down. Adam shews to Eve certain ominous signs; he discerns Michaels approach, goes out to meet him: the Angel denounces thir departure. Eve's Lamentation. Adam pleads, but submits: The Angel leads him up to a high Hill, sets before him in vision what shall happ'n till the Flood.
THus they in lowliest plight repentant stoodPraying, for from the Mercie-seat abovePrevenient Grace descending had remov'dThe stonie from thir hearts, & made new fleshRegenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'dUnutterable, which the Spirit of prayerInspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flightThen loudest Oratorie: yet thir portNot of mean suiters, nor important lessSeem'd thir Petition, then when th' ancient PairIn Fables old, less ancient yet then these,Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha to restoreThe Race of Mankind drownd, before the ShrineOf Themis stood devout. To Heav'n thir prayersFlew up, nor missd the way, by envious windesBlown vagabond or frustrate: in they passdDimentionless through Heav'nly dores; then cladWith incense, where the Golden Altar fum'd,By thir great Intercessor, came in sightBefore the Fathers Throne: Them the glad SonPresenting, thus to intercede began.
See Father, what first fruits on Earth are sprungFrom thy implanted Grace in Man, these SighsAnd Prayers, which in this Golden Censer, mixtWith Incense, I thy Priest before thee bring,Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seedSow'n with contrition in his heart, then thoseWhich his own hand manuring all the TreesOf Paradise could have produc't, ere fall'nFrom innocence. Now therefore bend thine eareTo supplication, heare his sighs though mute;Unskilful with what words to pray, Iet meeInterpret for him, mee his AdvocateAnd propitiation, all his works on meeGood or not good ingraft, my Merit thoseShall perfet, and for these my Death shall pay.Accept me, and in mee from these receaveThe smell of peace toward Mankinde, let him liveBefore thee reconcil'd, at least his daysNumberd, though sad, till Death, his doom (which ITo mitigate thus plead, not to reverse)To better life shall yeeld him, where with meeAll my redeemd may dwell in joy and bliss,Made one with me as I with thee am one.
To whom the Father, without Cloud, serene.All thy request for Man, accepted Son,Obtain, all thy request was my Decree:But longer in that Paradise to dwell,The Law I gave to Nature him forbids:Those pure immortal Elements that knowNo gross, no unharmoneous mixture foule,Eject him tainted now, and purge him offAs a distemper, gross to aire as gross,And mortal food, as may dispose him bestFor dissolution wrought by Sin, that firstDistemperd all things, and of incorruptCorrupted. I at first with two fair giftsCreated him endowd, with HappinessAnd Immortalitie: that fondly lost,This other serv'd but to eternize woe;Till I provided Death; so Death becomesHis final remedie, and after LifeTri'd in sharp tribulation, and refin'dBy Faith and faithful works, to second Life,Wak't in the renovation of the just,Resignes him up with Heav'n and Earth renewd.But let us call to Synod all the BlestThrough Heav'ns wide bounds; from them I will not hideMy judgments, how with Mankind I proceed,As how with peccant Angels late they saw;And in thir state, though firm, stood more confirmd.
He ended, and the Son gave signal highTo the bright Minister that watchd, hee blewHis Trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhapsWhen God descended, and perhaps once moreTo sound at general Doom. Th' Angelic blastFilld all the Regions: from thir blissful BowrsOf Amarantin Shade, Fountain or Spring,By the waters of Life, where ere they sateIn fellowships of joy: the Sons of LightHasted, resorting to the Summons high,And took thir Seats; till from his Throne supreamTh' Almighty thus pronouncd his sovran Will.
O Sons, like one of us Man is becomeTo know both Good and Evil, since his tasteOf that defended Fruit; but let him boastHis knowledge of Good lost, and Evil got,Happier, had it suffic'd him to have knownGood by it self, and Evil not at all.He sorrows now, repents, and prayes contrite,My motions in him, longer then they move,His heart I know, how variable and vainSelf-left. Least therefore his now bolder handReach also of the Tree of Life, and eat,And live for ever, dream at least to liveFor ever, to remove him I decree,And send him from the Garden forth to TillThe Ground whence he was taken, fitter soile.
Michael, this my behest have thou in charge,Take to thee from among the CherubimThy choice of flaming Warriours, least the FiendOr in behalf of Man, or to invadeVacant possession som new trouble raise:Hast thee, and from the Paradise of GodWithout remorse drive out the sinful Pair,From hallowd ground th' unholie, and denounceTo them and to thir Progenie from thencePerpetual banishment. Yet least they faintAt the sad Sentence rigorously urg'd,For I behold them softn'd and with tearsBewailing thir excess, all terror hide.If patiently thy bidding they obey,Dismiss them not disconsolate; revealeTo Adam what shall come in future dayes,As I shall thee enlighten, intermixMy Cov'nant in the womans seed renewd;So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace:And on the East side of the Garden place,Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbes,Cherubic watch, and of a Sword the flameWide waving, all approach farr off to fright,And guard all passage to the Tree of Life:Least Paradise a receptacle proveTo Spirits foule, and all my Trees thir prey,With whose stol'n Fruit Man once more to delude.
He ceas'd; and th' Archangelic Power prepar'dFor swift descent, with him the Cohort brightOf watchful Cherubim; four faces eachHad, like a double Janus, all thir shapeSpangl'd with eyes more numerous then thoseOf Argus, and more wakeful then to drouze,Charm'd with Arcadian Pipe, the Pastoral ReedOf Hermes, or his opiate Rod. Mean whileTo resalute the World with sacred LightLeucothea wak'd, and with fresh dews imbalmdThe Earth, when Adam and first Matron EveHad ended now thir Orisons, and foundStrength added from above, new hope to springOut of despaire, joy, but with fear yet linkt;Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewd.
Eve, easily may Faith admit, that allThe good which we enjoy, from Heav'n descends;But that from us ought should ascend to Heav'nSo prevalent as to concerne the mindOf God high-blest, or to incline his will,Hard to belief may seem; yet this will Prayer,Or one short sigh of humane breath, up-borneEv'n to the Seat of God. For since I saughtBy Prayer th' offended Deitie to appease,Kneel'd and before him humbl'd all my heart,Methought I saw him placable and mild,Bending his eare; perswasion in me grewThat I was heard with favour; peace returndHome to my Brest, and to my memorieHis promise, that thy Seed shall bruise our Foe;Which then not minded in dismay, yet nowAssures me that the bitterness of deathIs past, and we shall live. Whence Haile to thee,Eve rightly call'd, Mother of all Mankind,Mother of all things living, since by theeMan is to live, and all things live for Man.
To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.Ill worthie I such title should belongTo me transgressour, who for thee ordaindA help, became thy snare; to mee reproachRather belongs, distrust and all dispraise:But infinite in pardon was my Judge,That I who first brought Death on all, am grac'tThe sourse of life; next favourable thou,Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf'st,Farr other name deserving. But the FieldTo labour calls us now with sweat impos'd,Though after sleepless Night; for see the Morn,All unconcern'd with our unrest, beginsHer rosie progress smiling; let us forth,I never from thy side henceforth to stray,Wherere our days work lies, though now enjoindLaborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,What can be toilsom in these pleasant Walkes?Here let us live, though in fall'n state, content.
So spake, so wish'd much-humbl'd Eve, but FateSubscrib'd not; Nature first gave Signs, imprestOn Bird, Beast, Aire, Aire suddenly eclips'dAfter short blush of Morn; nigh in her sightThe Bird of Jove, stoopt from his aerie tour,Two Birds of gayest plume before him drove:Down from a Hill the Beast that reigns in Woods,First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace,Goodliest of all the Forrest, Hart and Hinde;Direct to th' Eastern Gate was bent thir flight.Adam observ'd, and with his Eye the chasePursuing, not unmov'd to Eve thus spake.
O Eve, some furder change awaits us nigh,Which Heav'n by these mute signs in Nature shewsForerunners of his purpose, or to warnUs haply too secure of our dischargeFrom penaltie, because from death releastSome days; how long, and what till then our life,Who knows, or more then this, that we are dust,And thither must return and be no more.Why else this double object in our fightOf flight pursu'd in th' Air and ore the groundOne way the self-same hour? why in the EastDarkness ere Dayes mid-course, and Morning lightMore orient in yon Western Cloud that drawsO're the blew Firmament a radiant white,And slow descends, with somthing heav'nly fraught.
He err'd not, for by this the heav'nly BandsDown from a Skie of Jasper lighted nowIn Paradise, and on a Hill made alt,A glorious Apparition, had not doubtAnd carnal fear that day dimm'd Adams eye.Not that more glorious, when the Angels metJacob in Mahanaim, where he sawThe field Pavilion'd with his Guardians bright;Nor that which on the flaming Mount appeerdIn Dothan, cover'd with a Camp of Fire,Against the Syrian King, who to surprizeOne man, Assassin-like had levied Warr,Warr unproclam'd. The Princely HierarchIn thir bright stand, there left his Powers to seisePossession of the Garden; hee alone,To find where Adam shelterd, took his way,Not unperceav'd of Adam, who to Eve,While the great Visitant approachd, thus spake.
Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhapsOf us will soon determin, or imposeNew Laws to be observ'd; for I descrieFrom yonder blazing Cloud that veils the HillOne of the heav'nly Host, and by his GateNone of the meanest, some great PotentateOr of the Thrones above, such MajestieInvests him coming; yet not terrible,That I should fear, nor sociably mild,As Raphael, that I should much confide,But solemn and sublime, whom not to offend,With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.He ended; and th' Arch-Angel soon drew nigh,Not in his shape Celestial, but as ManClad to meet Man; over his lucid ArmesA militarie Vest of purple flowdLivelier then Meliboean, or the graineOf Sarra, worn by Kings and Hero's oldIn time of Truce; lris had dipt the wooff;His starrie Helme unbuckl'd shew'd him primeIn Manhood where Youth ended; by his sideAs in a glistering Zodiac hung the Sword,Satans dire dread, and in his hand the Spear.Adam bowd low, hee Kingly from his StateInclin'd not, but his coming thus declar'd.
Adam, Heav'ns high behest no Preface needs:Sufficient that thy Prayers are heard, and Death,Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,Defeated of his seisure many dayesGiv'n thee of Grace, wherein thou may'st repent,And one bad act with many deeds well doneMayst cover: well may then thy Lord appeas'dRedeem thee quite from Deaths rapacious claime;But longer in this Paradise to dwellPermits not; to remove thee I am come,And send thee from the Garden forth to tillThe ground whence thou wast tak'n, fitter Soile.
He added not, for Adam at the newesHeart-strook with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseenYet all had heard, with audible lamentDiscover'd soon the place of her retire.
O unexpected stroke, worse then of Death!Must I thus leave thee Paradise? thus leaveThee Native Soile, these happie Walks and Shades,Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend,Quiet though sad, the respit of that dayThat must be mortal to us both. O flours,That never will in other Climate grow,My early visitation, and my lastAt Eev'n, which I bred up with tender handFrom the first op'ning bud, and gave ye Names,Who now shall reare ye to the Sun, or rankeYour Tribes, and water from th' ambrosial Fount?Thee lastly nuptial Bowre, by mee adorndWith what to sight or smell was sweet; from theeHow shall I part, and whither wander downInto a lower World, to this obscureAnd wilde, how shall we breath in other AireLess pure, accustomd to immortal Fruits?
Whom thus the Angel interrupted milde.Lament not Eve, but patiently resigneWhat justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine;Thy going is not lonely, with thee goesThy Husband, him to follow thou art bound;Where he abides, think there thy native soile.
Adam by this from the cold sudden dampRecovering, and his scatterd spirits returnd,To Michael thus his humble words addressd.
Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam'dOf them the Highest, for such of shape may seemPrince above Princes, gently hast thou touldThy message, which might else in telling wound,And in performing end us; what besidesOf sorrow and dejection and despairOur frailtie can sustain, thy tidings bring,Departure from this happy place, our sweetRecess, and onely consolation leftFamiliar to our eyes, all places elseInhospitable appeer and desolate,Nor knowing us nor known: and if by prayerIncessant I could hope to change the willOf him who all things can, I would not ceaseTo wearie him with my assiduous cries:But prayer against his absolute DecreeNo more availes then breath against the winde,Blown stifling back on him that breaths it forth:Therefore to his great bidding I submit.This most afflicts me, that departing hence,As from his face I shall be hid, deprivdHis blessed count'nance; here I could frequent,With worship, place by place where he voutsaf'dPresence Divine, and to my Sons relate;On this Mount he appeerd, under this TreeStood visible, among these Pines his voiceI heard, here with him at this Fountain talk'd:So many grateful Altars I would reareOf grassie Terfe, and pile up every StoneOf lustre from the brook, in memorie,Or monument to Ages, and thereonOffer sweet smelling Gumms and Fruits and Flours:In yonder nether World where shall I seekHis bright appearances, or foot-step trace?For though I fled him angrie, yet recall'dTo life prolongd and promisd Race, I nowGladly behold though but his utmost skirtsOf glory, and farr off his steps adore.
To whom thus Michael with regard benigne.Adam, thou know'st Heav'n his, and all the Earth.Not this Rock onely; his Omnipresence fillsLand, Sea, and Aire, and every kinde that lives,Fomented by his virtual power and warmd:All th' Earth he gave thee to possess and rule,No despicable gift; surmise not thenHis presence to these narrow bounds confin'dOf Paradise or Eden: this had beenPerhaps thy Capital Seate, from whence had spredAll generations, and had hither comeFrom all the ends of th' Earth, to celebrateAnd reverence thee thir great Progenitor.But this praeeminence thou hast lost, brought downTo dwell on eeven ground now with thy Sons:Yet doubt not but in Vallie and in plaineGod is as here, and will be found alikePresent, and of his presence many a signeStill following thee, still compassing thee roundWith goodness and paternal Love, his FaceExpress, and of his steps the track Divine.Which that thou mayst beleeve, and be confirmdEre thou from hence depart, know I am sentTo shew thee what shall come in future dayesTo thee and to thy Ofspring; good with badExpect to hear, supernal Grace contendingWith sinfulness of Men; thereby to learnTrue patience, and to temper joy with fearAnd pious sorrow, equally enur'dBy moderation either state to beare,Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou leadSafest thy life, and best prepar'd endureThy mortal passage when it comes. AscendThis Hill; let Eve (for I have drencht her eyes)Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st,As once thou slepst, while Shee to life was formd.
To whom thus Adam gratefully repli'd.Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the pathThou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heav'n submit,However chast'ning, to the evil turneMy obvious breast, arming to overcomBy suffering, and earne rest from labour won,If so I may attain. So both ascendIn the Visions of God: It was a HillOf Paradise the highest, from whose topThe Hemisphere of Earth in cleerest KenStretcht out to the amplest reach of prospect lay.Not higher that Hill nor wider looking round,Whereon for different cause the Tempter setOur second Adam in the Wilderness,To shew him all Earths Kingdomes and thir Glory.His Eye might there command wherever stoodCity of old or modern Fame, the SeatOf mightiest Empire, from the destind WallsOf Cambalu, seat of Cathaian CanAnd Samarchand by Oxus, Temirs Throne,To Paquin of Sinaean Kings, and thenceTo Agra and Lahor of great MogulDown to the golden Chersonese, or whereThe Persian in Ecbatan sate, or sinceIn Hispahan, or where the Russian KsarIn Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance,Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not kenTh' Empire of Negus to his utmost PortErcoco and the less Maritim KingsMombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,And Sofala thought Ophir, to the RealmeOf Congo, and Angola fardest South;Or thence from Niger Flood to Atlas MountThe Kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,Marocco and Algiers, and Tremisen;On Europe thence, and where Rome was to swayThe World: in Spirit perhaps he also sawRich Mexico the seat of Motezume,And Cusco in Peru, the richer seatOf Atabalipa, and yet unspoil'dGuiana, whose great Citie Geryons SonsCall El Dorado: but to nobler sightsMichael from Adams eyes the Filme remov'dWhich that false Fruit that promis'd clearer sightHad bred; then purg'd with Euphrasie and RueThe visual Nerve, for he had much to see;And from the Well of Life three drops instill'd.So deep the power of these Ingredients pierc'd,Eevn to the inmost seat of mental sight,That Adam now enforc't to close his eyes,Sunk down and all his Spirits became intranst:But him the gentle Angel by the handSoon rais'd, and his attention thus recall'd.
Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first beholdTh' effects which thy original crime hath wroughtIn some to spring from thee, who never touch'dTh' excepted Tree, nor with the Snake conspir'd,Nor sinn'd thy sin, yet from that sin deriveCorruption to bring forth more violent deeds.
His eyes he op'nd, and beheld a field,Part arable and tilth, whereon were SheavesNew reapt, the other part sheep-walks and foulds;Ith' midst an Altar as the Land-mark stoodRustic, of grassie sord; thither anonA sweatie Reaper from his Tillage broughtFirst Fruits, the green Eare, and the yellow Sheaf,Uncull'd, as came to hand; a Shepherd nextMore meek came with the Firstlings of his FlockChoicest and best; then sacrificing, laidThe Inwards and thir Fat, with Incense strew'd,On the cleft Wood, and all due Rites perform'd.His Offring soon propitious Fire from Heav'nConsum'd with nimble glance, and grateful steame;The others not, for his was not sincere;Whereat hee inlie rag'd, and as they talk'd,Smote him into the Midriff with a stoneThat beat out life; he fell, and deadly paleGroand out his Soul with gushing bloud effus'd.Much at that sight was Adam in his heartDismai'd, and thus in haste to th' Angel cri'd.
O Teacher, some great mischief hath befall'nTo that meek man, who well had sacrific'd;Is Pietie thus and pure Devotion paid?
T' whom Michael thus, hee also mov'd, repli'd.These two are Brethren, Adam, and to comeOut of thy loyns; th' unjust the just hath slain,For envie that his Brothers Offering foundFrom Heav'n acceptance; but the bloodie FactWill be aveng'd, and th' others Faith approv'dLoose no reward, though here thou see him die,Rowling in dust and gore. To which our Sire.
Alas, both for the deed and for the cause!But have I now seen Death? Is this the wayI must return to native dust? O sightOf terrour, foul and ugly to behold,Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!
To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seenIn his first shape on man; but many shapesOf Death, and many are the wayes that leadTo his grim Cave, all dismal; yet to senseMore terrible at th' entrance then within.Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die,By Fire, Flood, Famin, by Intemperance moreIn Meats and Drinks which on the Earth shall bringDiseases dire, of which a monstrous crewBefore thee shall appear; that thou mayst knowWhat miserie th' inabstinence of EveShall bring on men. Immediately a placeBefore his eyes appeard, sad, noysom, dark,A Lazar-house it seemd, wherein were laidNumbers of all diseas'd, all maladiesOf gastly Spasm, or racking torture, qualmesOf heart-sick Agonie, all feavorous kinds,Convulsions, Epilepsies, fierce Catarrhs,Intestin Stone and Ulcer, Colic pangs,Daemoniac Phrenzie, moaping MelancholieAnd Moon-struck madness, pining Atrophie,Marasmus, and wide-wasting Pestilence,Dropsies, and Asthma's, and Joint-racking Rheums.Dire was the tossing, deep the groans, despairTended the sick busiest from Couch to Couch;And over them triumphant Death his DartShook, but delaid to strike, though oft invok'tWith vows, as thir chief good, and final hope.Sight so deform what heart of Rock could longDrie-ey'd behold? Adam could not, but wept,Though not of Woman born; compassion quell'dHis best of Man, and gave him up to tearsA space, till firmer thoughts restraind excess,And scarce recovering words his plaint renew'd.
O miserable Mankind, to what fallDegraded, to what wretched state reserv'd!Better end heer unborn. Why is life giv'nTo be thus wrested from us? rather whyObtruded on us thus? who if we knewWhat we receive, would either not acceptLife offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,Glad to be so dismist in peace. Can thusTh' Image of God in man created onceSo goodly and erect, though faultie since,To such unsightly sufferings be debas'tUnder inhuman pains? Why should not Man,Retaining still Divine similitudeIn part, from such deformities be free,And for his Makers Image sake exempt?
Thir Makers Image, answerd Michael, thenForsook them, when themselves they villifi'dTo serve ungovern'd appetite, and tookHis Image whom they serv'd, a brutish vice,Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.Therefore so abject is thir punishment,Disfiguring not Gods likeness, but thir own,Or if his likeness, by themselves defac'tWhile they pervert pure Natures healthful rulesTo loathsom sickness, worthily, since theyGods Image did not reverence in themselves.
I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.But is there yet no other way, besidesThese painful passages, how we may comeTo Death, and mix with our connatural dust;
There is, said Michael, if thou well observeThe rule of not too much, by temperance taughtIn what thou eatst and drinkst, seeking from thenceDue nourishment, not gluttonous delight,Till many years over thy head return:So maist thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou dropInto thy Mothers lap, or be with easeGatherd, not harshly pluckt, for death mature:This is old age; but then thou must outliveThy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will changeTo witherd weak and gray; thy Senses thenObtuse, all taste of pleasure must forgoe,To what thou hast, and for the Aire of youthHopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reigneA Melancholy damp of cold and dryTo weigh thy Spirits down, and last consumeThe Balme of Life. To whom our Ancestor.
Henceforth I flie not Death, nor would prolongLife much, bent rather how I may be quitFairest and easiest of this combrous charge,Which I must keep till my appointed dayOf rendring up, and patiently attendMy dissolution. Michael repli'd.
Nor love thy Life, nor hate; but what thou livstLive well, how long or short permit to Heav'n:And now prepare thee for another sight.
He lookd and saw a spacious Plaine, whereonWere Tents of various hue; by some were herdsOf Cattel grazing: others, whence the soundOf Instruments that made melodious chimeWas heard, of Harp and Organ; and who moovdThir stops and chords was seen: his volant touchInstinct through all proportions low and highFled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue.In other part stood one who at the ForgeLabouring, two massie clods of Iron and Brass Had melted (whether found where casual fireHad wasted woods on Mountain or in Vale,Down to the veins of Earth, thence gliding hotTo som Caves mouth, or whether washt by streamFrom underground) the liquid Ore he dreindInto fit moulds prepar'd; from which he formdFirst his own Tooles; then, what might else be wroughtFusil or grav'n in mettle. After these,But on the hether side a different sortFrom the high neighbouring Hills, which was thir Seat,Down to the Plain descended: by thir guiseJust men they seemd, and all thir study bentTo worship God aright, and know his worksNot hid, nor those things last which might preserveFreedom and Peace to men: they on the PlainLong had not walkt, when from the Tents beholdA Beavie of fair Women, richly gayIn Gems and wanton dress; to the Harp they sungSoft amorous Ditties, and in dance came on:The Men though grave, ey'd them, and let thir eyesRove without rein, till in the amorous NetFast caught, they lik'd, and each his liking chose;And now of love they treat till th' Eevning StarLoves Harbinger appeerd; then all in heatThey light the Nuptial Torch, and bid invokeHymen, then first to marriage Rites invok't;With Feast and Musick all the Tents resound.Such happy interview and fair eventOf love and youth not lost, Songs, Garlands, Flours,And charming Symphonies attach'd the heartOf Adam, soon enclin'd to admit delight,The bent of Nature; which he thus express'd.
True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest,Much better seems this Vision, and more hopeOf peaceful dayes portends, then those two past;Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse,Here Nature seems fulfilld in all her ends.
To whom thus Michael. Judg not what is bestBy pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet,Created, as thou art, to nobler endHolie and pure, conformitie divine.Those Tents thou sawst so pleasant, were the TentsOf wickedness, wherein shall dwell his RaceWho slew his Brother; studious they appereOf Arts that polish Life, Inventers rare,Unmindful of thir Maker, though his SpiritTaught them, but they his gifts acknowledg'd none.Yet they a beauteous ofspring shall beget;For that fair femal Troop thou sawst, that seemdOf Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,Yet empty of all good wherein consistsWomans domestic honour and chief praise;Bred onely and completed to the tasteOf lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,To dress, and troule the Tongue, and roule the Eye.To these that sober Race of Men, whose livesReligious titl'd them the Sons of God,Shall yield up all thir vertue, all thir fameIgnobly, to the traines and to the smilesOf these fair Atheists, and now swim in joy,(Erelong to swim at large) and laugh; for whichThe world erelong a world of tears must weepe.
To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.O pittie and shame, that they who to live wellEnterd so faire, should turn aside to treadPaths indirect, or in the mid way faint!But still I see the tenor of Mans woeHolds on the same, from Woman to begin.
From Mans effeminate slackness it begins,Said th' Angel, who should better hold his placeBy wisdome, and superiour gifts receav'd.But now prepare thee for another Scene.
He lookd and saw wide Territorie spredBefore him, Towns, and rural works between,Cities of Men with lofty Gates and Towrs,Concours in Arms, fierce Faces threatning Warr,Giants of mightie Bone, and bould emprise;Part wield thir Arms, part courb the foaming Steed,Single or in Array of Battel rang'dBoth Horse and Foot, nor idely mustring stood;One way a Band select from forage drivesA herd of Beeves, faire Oxen and faire KineFrom a fat Meddow ground; or fleecy Flock,Ewes and thir bleating Lambs over the Plaine,Thir Bootie; scarce with Life the Shepherds flye,But call in aide, which makes a bloody Fray;With cruel Tournament the Squadrons joine;Where Cattle pastur'd late, now scatterd liesWith Carcasses and Arms th' ensanguind FieldDeserted: Others to a Citie strongLay Seige, encampt; by Batterie, Scale, and Mine,Assaulting; others from the wall defendWith Dart and Jav'lin, Stones and sulfurous Fire;On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds.In other part the scepter'd Haralds callTo Council in the Citie Gates: anonGrey-headed men and grave, with Warriours mixt,Assemble, and Harangues are heard, but soonIn factious opposition, till at lastOf middle Age one rising, eminentIn wise deport, spake much of Right and Wrong,Of Justice, of Religion, Truth and Peace,And Judgment from above: him old and youngExploded and had seiz'd with violent hands,Had not a Cloud descending snatch'd him thenceUnseen amid the throng: so violenceProceeded, and Oppression, and Sword-LawThrough all the Plain, and refuge none was found.Adam was all in tears, and to his guideLamenting turnd full sad; O what are these,Deaths Ministers, not Men, who thus deal DeathInhumanly to men, and multiplyTen thousandfould the sin of him who slewHis Brother; for of whom such massacherMake they but of thir Brethren, men of men?But who was that Just Man, whom had not Heav'nRescu'd, had in his Righteousness bin lost?
To whom thus Michael. These are the productOf those ill mated Marriages thou saw'st;Where good with bad were matcht, who of themselvesAbhor to joyn; and by imprudence mixt,Produce prodigious Births of bodie or mind.Such were these Giants, men of high renown;For in those dayes Might onely shall be admir'd,And Valour and Heroic Vertu call'd;To overcome in Battle, and subdueNations, and bring home spoils with infiniteMan-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitchOf human Glorie, and for Glorie doneOf triumph, to be styl'd great Conquerours,Patrons of Mankind, Gods, and Sons of Gods,Destroyers rightlier call'd and Plagues of men.Thus Fame shall be atchiev'd, renown on Earth,And what most merits fame in silence hid.But hee the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldstThe onely righteous in a World perverse,And therefore hated, therefore so besetWith Foes for daring single to be just,And utter odious Truth, that God would comeTo judge them with his Saints: Him the most HighRapt in a balmie Cloud with winged SteedsDid, as thou sawst, receave, to walk with GodHigh in Salvation and the Climes of bliss,Exempt from Death; to shew thee what rewardAwaits the good, the rest what punishment;Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.
He look'd, and saw the face of things quite chang'd,The brazen Throat of Warr had ceast to roar,All now was turn'd to jollitie and game,To luxurie and riot, feast and dance,Marrying or prostituting, as befell,Rape or Adulterie, where passing faireAllurd them; thence from Cups to civil Broiles.At length a Reverend Sire among them came,And of thir doings great dislike declar'd,And testifi'd against thir wayes; hee oftFrequented thir Assemblies, whereso met,Triumphs or Festivals, and to them preachdConversion and Repentance, as to SoulsIn Prison under Judgements imminent:But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceas'dContending, and remov'd his Tents farr off;Then from the Mountain hewing Timber tall,Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk,Measur'd by Cubit, length, and breadth, and highth,Smeard round with Pitch, and in the side a doreContriv'd, and of provisions laid in largeFor Man and Beast: when loe a wonder strange!Of every Beast, and Bird, and Insect smallCame seavens, and pairs, and enterd in, as taughtThir order: last the Sire, and his three SonsWith thir four Wives; and God made fast the dore.Meanwhile the Southwind rose, and with black wingsWide hovering, all the Clouds together droveFrom under Heav'n; the Hills to their supplieVapour, and Exhalation dusk and moist,Sent up amain; and now the thick'nd SkieLike a dark Ceeling stood; down rush'd the RainImpetuous, and continu'd till the EarthNo more was seen; the floating Vessel swumUplifted; and secure with beaked prowRode tilting o're the Waves, all dwellings elseFlood overwhelmd, and them with all thir pompDeep under water rould; Sea cover'd Sea,Sea without shoar; and in thir PalacesWhere luxurie late reign'd, Sea-monsters whelp'dAnd stabl'd; of Mankind, so numerous late,All left, in one small bottom swum imbark't.How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to beholdThe end of all thy Ofspring, end so sad,Depopulation; thee another Floud,Of tears and sorrow a Floud thee also drown'd,And sunk thee as thy Sons; till gently reardBy th' Angel, on thy feet thou stoodst at last,Though comfortless, as when a Father mournsHis Children, all in view destroyd at once;And scarce to th' Angel utterdst thus thy plaint.
O Visions ill foreseen! better had ILiv'd ignorant of future, so had borneMy part of evil onely, each dayes lotAnough to beare; those now, that were dispenstThe burd'n of many Ages, on me lightAt once, by my foreknowledge gaining BirthAbortive, to torment me ere thir being,With thought that they must be. Let no man seekHenceforth to be foretold what shall befallHim or his Childern, evil he may be sure,Which neither his foreknowing can prevent,And hee the future evil shall no lessIn apprehension then in substance feelGrievous to bear: but that care now is past,Man is not whom to warne: those few escap'tFamin and anguish will at last consumeWandring that watrie Desert: I had hopeWhen violence was ceas't, and Warr on Earth,All would have then gon well, peace would have crowndWith length of happy dayes the race of man;But I was farr deceav'd; for now I seePeace to corrupt no less then Warr to waste.How comes it thus? unfould, Celestial Guide,And whether here the Race of man will end.To whom thus Michael. Those whom last thou sawstIn Triumph and luxurious wealth, are theyFirst seen in acts of prowess eminentAnd great exploits, but of true vertu void;Who having spilt much blood, and don much wasteSubduing Nations, and achievd therebyFame in the World, high titles, and rich prey,Shall change thir course to pleasure, ease, and sloth,Surfet, and lust, till wantonness and prideRaise out of friendship hostil deeds in Peace.The conquerd also, and enslav'd by WarrShall with thir freedom lost all vertu looseAnd fear of God, from whom thir pietie feign'dIn sharp contest of Battel found no aideAgainst invaders; therefore coold in zealeThenceforth shall practice how to live secure,Worldlie or dissolute, on what thir LordsShall leave them to enjoy; for th' Earth shall bearMore then anough, that temperance may be tri'd:So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav'd,Justice and Temperance, Truth and Faith forgot;One Man except, the onely Son of lightIn a dark Age, against example good,Against allurement, custom, and a WorldOffended; fearless of reproach and scorn,Or violence, hee of thir wicked wayesShall them admonish, and before them setThe paths of righteousness, how much more safe,And full of peace, denouncing wrauth to comeOn thir impenitence; and shall returneOf them derided, but of God observdThe one just Man alive; by his commandShall build a wondrous Ark, as thou beheldst,To save himself and household from amidstA World devote to universal rack.No sooner hee with them of Man and BeastSelect for life shall in the Ark be lodg'd,And shelterd round, but all the CataractsOf Heav'n set open on the Earth shall powreRaine day and night, all fountains of the DeepBroke up, shall heave the Ocean to usurpBeyond all bounds, till inundation riseAbove the highest Hills: then shall this MountOf Paradise by might of Waves be moovdOut of his place, pushd by the horned floud,With all his verdure spoil'd, and Trees adriftDown the great River to the op'ning Gulf,And there take root an Iland salt and bare,The haunt of Seales and Orcs, and Sea-mews clang.To teach thee that God attributes to placeNo sanctitie, if none be thither broughtBy Men who there frequent, or therein dwell.And now what further shall ensue, behold.
He lookd, and saw the Ark hull on the floud,Which now abated, for the Clouds were fled,Drivn by a keen North-winde, that blowing drieWrinkl'd the face of Deluge, as decai'd;And the cleer Sun on his wide watrie GlassGaz'd hot, and of the fresh Wave largely drew,As after thirst, which made thir flowing shrinkFrom standing lake to tripping ebbe, that stoleWith soft foot towards the deep, who now had stoptHis Sluces, as the Heav'n his windows shut.The Ark no more now flotes, but seems on groundFast on the top of som high mountain fixt.And now the tops of Hills as Rocks appeer;With clamor thence the rapid Currents driveTowards the retreating Sea thir furious tyde.Forthwith from out the Arke a Raven flies,And after him, the surer messenger,A Dove sent forth once and agen to spieGreen Tree or ground whereon his foot may light;The second time returning, in his BillAn Olive leafe he brings, pacific signe:Anon drie ground appeers, and from his ArkeThe ancient Sire descends with all his Train;Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,Grateful to Heav'n, over his head beholdsA dewie Cloud, and in the Cloud a BowConspicuous with three listed colours gay,Betok'ning peace from God, and Cov'nant new.Whereat the heart of Adam erst so sadGreatly rejoyc'd, and thus his joy broke forth.
O thou who future things canst representAs present, Heav'nly instructer, I reviveAt this last sight, assur'd that Man shall liveWith all the Creatures, and thir seed preserve.Farr less I now lament for one whole WorldOf wicked Sons destroyd, then I rejoyceFor one Man found so perfet and so just,That God voutsafes to raise another WorldFrom him, and all his anger to forget.But say, what mean those colourd streaks in Heavn,Distended as the Brow of God appeas'd,Or serve they as a flourie verge to bindeThe fluid skirts of that same watrie Cloud,Least it again dissolve and showr the Earth?
To whom th' Archangel. Dextrously thou aim'st;So willingly doth God remit his Ire,Though late repenting him of Man deprav'd,Griev'd at his heart, when looking down he sawThe whole Earth fill'd with violence, and all fleshCorrupting each thir way; yet those remoov'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 destroyThe Earth again by flood, nor let the SeaSurpass his bounds, nor Rain to drown the WorldWith Man therein or Beast; but when he bringsOver the Earth a Cloud, will therein setHis triple-colour'd Bow, whereon to lookAnd call to mind his Cov'nant: Day and Night,Seed time and Harvest, Heat and hoary FrostShall hold thir course, till fire purge all things new,Both Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.