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His triple-colourd bow, whereon to look,
And call to mind his cov'nant: day and night,
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,
Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new,
Both heav'n and earth, wherein the just shall 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 incarnation, death, resurrection, and asceusion; 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 had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of paradise, the ricry sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place.

As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed, so here th' archangel paused
Betwixt the world destroy'd and world restored ;
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
Then with transition sweet new speech resumes.

Thus thou hast sech 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 Deity,
With some regard to what is just and right
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace,
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
"Corn, wine, and oil; and from the herd, or flock,
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
With large wine-offerings pour'd, and sacred feast,
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed, and dwell
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,

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Will arrogate dominion undeserved
Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
Concord and law of nature from the earth;
Hunting, and men not beasts shall be his game,
With war and hostile snare such as refuse
Subjection to his empire tyrannous.
A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled!
Before the Lord, as in despite of heav'n,
Or from heav'n claiming second sov'reignty;
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 tyrannize,
Marching from Eden towards the west, 3 shall find
The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
Boils out from under ground, the mouth of hell:
Of brick and of that stuff they cast to build
A city and tow'r, whose top may reach to hear'n,
And get themselves a name, lest far disperst
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God, who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks
To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs, 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 gabble rises loud
Among the builders, each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mock'd they storm; great laughter was in heav'n,
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange
And hear the din; thus was the building left

" Nimrod, who is supposed to have been the first who assumed kingly power. See Gen. x. 9. 2 The name Nimrod is derived from a

new word that signifies to rebel,

3. “And it came to pass, as they jour. neyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter," Gen. xi. 2, &c.

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Ridiculous, and the work Confusion' named.

Whereto thus Adam fatherly displeased. O execrable son! so to aspire Above his brethren, to himself assuming Authority usurp’d, from God not giv'n. He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl, Dominion absolute; that right we hold By His donation ; such title to Himself Reserving, human left from human frée. 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 friend Is lost, which always with right reason dwells Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being : Reason in man obscured, or not obey'd, Immediately inordinate desires And upstart passions catch the governnient From reason, and to servitude reduce Man till then free. Therefore, since he permits 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 nations will decline so low From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong, But justice, and some fatal curse annex’d, Deprives them of their outward liberty,

1 Babel signifies confusion in Hebrew.

Their inward lost: witness the irreverent son
Of him who built the ark, who for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
Servant of servants, on his vicious race."
Thus will this latter, as the former world,
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last,
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
A nation from one faithful man’ to spring:
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing
Bred up in idol-worship:: 0 that men,
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
While yet the patriarch lived, who scaped the flood,
As to forsake the living God, and fall
To worship their own work in wood and stone ,
For Gods; yet him God the most high vouchsafes
To call by vision from his father's house,
His kindred, and false Gods, into a land
Which he will show him, and from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him show'r
His benediction so, that in his seed
All nations shall be bless’d; he straight obeys,
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes.
I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
He leaves his Gods, his friends, and native soil,
Ur of Chaldæa, passing now the ford
To Haran, after him a cumbrous train
Of herds, and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who call’d him, in a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains, I see his tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighbouring plain
Of Moreh; there by promise he receives

i Gen, ix. 22-25. 9 Abraham.

3 Terah, Abraham's father, was an idol. ater. See Josh, xxiv. 2. Jewish tradition

represents the father and grandfather of Abraham to have been carvers of idols. Teraḥ was born in Noah's lifetime.

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