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Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame,
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists; and now swim in joy,
Ere long to swim at large ; and laugh, for which
The world ere long a world of tears must weep.
To whom thus Adam, of short joy bereft :
O pity and shame, that they, who to live well
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread
Paths indirect, or in the midway faint !
But still I see the tenour of man's woe
Holds on the same, from woman to begin .
From man's effeminate slackness it begins,
Said the angel, who should better hold his place
By wisdom, and superiour gifts received.
But now prepare thee for another scene.
He look’d, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between ;
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threatening war,
Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise ;
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed,
Single or in array of battle ranged
Both horse and foot, nor idly mustering stood :
One way a band select from forage drives
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine,
From a fat meadow-ground; or fleecy flock,
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain,
Their booty ; scarce with life the shepherds fly,
But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray:
With cruel tournament the squadrons join;
Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies
With carcases and arms the ensanguined field,
Deserted : others to a city strong
Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and mine,
Assaulting : others from the wall defend
With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous fire ;
On each hand slaughter, and gigantic deeds.
In other part the sceptred heralds call
To council, in the city-gates; anon
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriours mix'd,
Assemble, and harangues are heard, but soon
In factious opposition; till at last
Of middle age one rising*, eminent the angels becoming enamoured of the daughters of men. Şee iii. 463; and b. v. 447, and Par. Reg. b. i. 178, &c.-Newton.
* Of middle age one rising. Enoch, said to be of middle age, because he was translated when he was but 365 years old; a middle then,
Gen. v. 23.-RICHARDSON.
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth, and peace,
And judgment from above: him old and young,
Exploded, and had seized with violent hands;
Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence,
Unseen 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 thousand-fold the sin of him who 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 not Heaven
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost?
To whom thus Michael : These are the product
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st;
Where good with bad were match d, who of themselves
Abhor to join ; and, by imprudence mix'd,
Produce prodigious births of body or mind.
Such were these giants, men of high renown;
For in these days might only shall be admired,
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 styled great conquerours,
Patrons of mankind, gods, and sons of gods ;
Destroyers rightlier call’d, and plagues of men.
Thus fame shall be achieved, renown on earth ;
And what most merits fame in silence hid.
But lie, the seventh from thee, whom thou behelust
The only righteous in a world perverse,
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With foes, for daring single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his saints; him the Most Higli,
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds,
Did, as thou saw'st, receive, to walk with God
High in salvation, and the climes of bliss,
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment;
Which now direct thine eyes, and soon behold.
He look'd, and saw the face of things quite changed:
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar;
All now was turn'd to jollity and game,
what follows of his desisting, when he found his preaching ineffectual, and of removing
This account of Noah's preaching is founded chiefly on St. Peter, 1 Pet. iii. 19, 20; as
into another country, is taken from Josephus, Antiq. Jud. lib. i. c. 3.- NEWTON,
To luxury and riot, feast and dance ;
Marrying or prostituting, as befell,
Rape or adultery, where passing fair
Allured them ; thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a reverend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declared,
And testified against their ways: he oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,
Triumphs or festivals ; and to them preach'd
Conversion and repentancey, as to souls
In prison, under judgments imminent;
But all in vain : which when he saw, he ceased
Contending, and removed his tents far off :
Then, from the mountain hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk ;
Measured by cubit, length, and breadth, and highth ;
Smear'd round with pitch; and in the side a door
Contrived ; 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 the door.
Meanwhile the south wind rose, and with black wings
Wide-hovering, all the clouds together drove
From under heaven ; the hills to their supply
Vapour, and exhalation, dusk and moist,
Sent up amain: and now the thicken'd sky
Like a dark ceiling stood; down rush'd the rain
Impetuous; and continued, till the earth
No more was seen : the floating vessel swum
Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow
Rode tilting o'er the waves; all dwellings 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 sınall bottom swum imbark’d.
How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
The end of all thy offspring, end so sad,
Depopulation! Thee another flood,
Of tears and sorrow a flood, thee also drown'd,
And sunk thee as thy sons ; till, gently rear'd
on thy feet thou stood'st at last,
y Conversion and repentance.
Though comfortless; as when a father mourns
His children all in view destroy'd at once;
And scarce to the angel utter'dst thus thy plaint :
O visions ill foreseen! better had I
Lived ignorant of future; so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot
Enough to bear; those now, that were dispensed
The burden of many ages, on me light
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortive, to torment me ere their being,
With thought that they must be. Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretold, what shall befall
Him or his children ; evil he
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 warn : those few escaped
Famine and anguish will at last consume,
Wandering that watery desert: I had hope,
When violence was ceased, and war on earth,
All would have then gone well; peace would have crown'd
With length of happy days the race of man;
But I was far deceived; 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 man will end.
To whom thus Michael : Those, whom last 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 much waste,
Subduing nations, and achieved thereby
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 enslaved by war,
Shall, with their freedom lost,2 all virtue lose
And fear of God; from whom their piety feign'da
Milton every where shows his love of liberty; and here he observes very rightly, that
the loss of liberty is soon followed by the loss of all virtue and religion. There are such
sentiments in several parts of his prose works, as well as in Aristotle, and other masters of
a Piety feign'd. I conceive this to be unquestionably political. Milton was, it has been supposed, well aware of the feign'd piety of many of his own party, whom he had once considered as saints ; and whose temporising at the Restoration completed in his mind the bypocrisy of their character. Hypocrisy, it may be observed, Milton, in various parts of his poem, bus branded as the most abominable of crimes.—DỤNSTER.
In sharp contest of battel found no aid
Against invaders; therefore, coold 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 bear
More than enough, that temperance may be tried :
So all shall turn degenerate, all depraved ;
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 come
On their impenitence; and shall return
Of them derided, but of God observed
The one just man alive : by his command
Shall build a wondrous ark, as thou beheldst,
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 lodged,
And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts
Of 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 moved
Out of his place, push'd by the horned flood,
With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the opening gulf,
And there take root, an island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews' clang;
To teach thee that God attributes to place
No sanctity," if none be thither brought
b Then shall this mount
Of Paradise. It is the opinion of many learned men, that Paradise was destroyed by the deluge; and Milton describes it in a very poetical manner:-Push'd by the horned flood: 80 that it was before the flood became universal ; and while it poured along like a vast river; for rivers, when they meet with anything to obstruct their passage, divide themselves, and beconc horned, as it were ; and hence the ancients have compared them to bulls.-NEWTON.
c Orcs. Orcs, a species of whale.—Todd.
d God attributes to place
No sanctity. Milton omits no opportunity of lashing what he thought superstitious. These lines may