Page images

Wave rolling after wave, where way they found, If steep, with torrent rapture, it through plain, Soft-ebbing ; nor withstood them rock or hill ; But they, or under ground, or circuit wide With serpent errour wandering, found their way, And on the washy oose deep channels wore; Easy, ere God bad bid the ground be dry, All but within those banks, where rivers now Stream, and perpetual draw their humid train. The dry land, Earth ; and the great receptacle Of congregated waters, he called Seas : And saw that it was good : and said, Let the Earth Put forth the verdant grass, herb yielding seed, And fruit-tree yielding fruit after her kind, Whose seed is in herself upon the Earth !-He scarce had said, when the bare Earth (till then Desert and bare, unsightly, unadorned) Brought forth the tender grass, whose verdure clad Her universal face with pleasant green. Then herbs of every leaf, that sudden flowered Opening their various colours, and made gay Her bosom, smelling sweet: and, these scarce blown, Forth flourished thick the clustering vine, forth crept The swelling gourd, up stood the corny reed Embattled in her field, and the humble shrub, And bush, with frizzled hair implicit : last Rose, as in a dance, the stately trees, and spread Their branches hung with copious fruit, or gemmed Their blossoms : with high woods the hills were

crowned; With tufts the valleys, and each fountain side,

With borders long the rivers : that Earth now
Seemed like to Heaven, a seat where Gods might dwell,
Or wander with delight, and love to haunt
Her sacred shades : though God had yet not rained
Upon the Earth, and man to till the ground
None was; but from the Earth a dewy mist
Went up, and watered all the ground, and each
Plant of the field; which, ere it was in the Earth,
God made, and every herb, before it grew
On the green stem : God saw that it was good :
So even and morn recorded the Third Day.

Again the Almighty spake, Let there be lights
High in the expanse of Heaven, to divide
The day from night; and let them be for signs,
For seasons, and for days, and circling years;
And let them be for lights, as I ordain
Their office in the firmament of Heaven,
To give light on the earth !—and it was so.
And God made two great lights, (great for their use
To Man) the greater to have rule by day,
The less by night, altern; and made the stars,
And set them in the firmament of Heaven,
To illuminate the Earth, and rule the day,
In their vicissitude, and rule the night ;
And light from darkness to divide. God saw,
Surveying his great work, that it was good :
For of celestial bodies first, the sun
(A mighty sphere !) he framed; unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mould: then formed the moon,
Globose ; and every magnitude of stars;
And sowed with stars the Heaven, thick as a field.

Of light by far the greater part he took,
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and placed
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light; firm to retain
Her gathered beams, great palace now of light :
Hither, as to their fountain, other stars
Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
And hence the morning-planet gilds her horns :
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though (from human sight
So far remote) with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all the horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run
His longitude through Heaven's high road : the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades, before him danced,
Shedding sweet influence. Less bright the moon,
But opposite in levelled west was set,
His mirrour, with full face borrowing her light
From him ; for other light she needed none
In that aspect; and still that distance keeps
Till night; then in the east her turn she shines,
Revolved on Heaven's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars ! that then appeared
Spangling the hemisphere; then first adorned
With their bright luminaries, that set and rose.
Glad evening and glad morn crowned the Fourth Day.

And God said, Let the waters generate
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul !
And let fowl Ay above the Earth, with wings

Displayed on the open firmament of Heaven ! And God created the great whales, and each Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously The waters generated by their kinds ; And every bird of wing after his kind; And saw that it was good, and blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas, And lakes, and running streams, the waters fill; And let the fowl be multiplied on the Earth!Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay, With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals Of fish, that with their fins and shining scales Glide under the green wave in sculls, that oft Bank the mid-sea : part single, or with mate, Graze the sea-weed their pasture, and through groves Of coral stray ; or, sporting with quick glance, Show to the sun their waved coats, dropt with gold ; Or, in their pearly shells at ease, attend Moist nutriment; or under rocks their food, In jointed armour, watch: on smooth, the seal And bended dolphins play: part, huge of bulk, Wallowing unwieldy, enormous in their gait, Tempest the ocean : there leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, on the deep Stretched like a promontory, sleeps or swims, And seems a moving land; and at his gills Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out, a sea. Meanwhile the tepid caves, and fens, and shores, Their brood as numerous hatch, from the egg, that soon Bursting with kindly rupture, forth disclosed Their callow young; but feathered soon and fledge,

They summed their pens; and, soaring the air sublime,
With clang despised the ground, under a cloud
In prospect : there the eagle and the stork
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build :
Part loosely wing the region; part, more wise
In common, ranged in figure, wedge their way,
Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
Their aery caravan, high over seas
Flying, and over lands, with mutual wing
Easing their flight; (so steers the prudent crane
Her annual voyage, borne on winds :) the air
Floats as they pass, fanned with unnumber'd plumes.
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solaced the woods, and spread their painted wings
Till even; nor then the solemn nightingale
Ceased warbling, but all night tuned her soft lays.
Others, on silver lakes and rivers, bathed
Their downy breast; the swan, with arched neck
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
Her state with oary feet : yet oft they quit
The dank, and, rising on stiff pennons, tower
The mid aëreal sky. Others on ground
Walked firm ; the crested cock, whose clarion sounds
The silent hours; and the other, whose gay train
Adorns him, coloured with the florid hue
Of rainbows and starry eyes. The waters thus
With fish replenished, and the air with fowl,
Evening and morn solemnized the Fifth Day.

The Sixth, and of creation last, arose
With evening harps and matin; when God said,
Let the Earth bring forth soul living in her kind,

« PreviousContinue »