Paradise Lost: Book XI (1674)

Original Text: 
John Milton, Paradise Lost, 2nd edn. (London: Samuel Simmons, 1674). A transcription by Roy Flannagan of the second (1674) edition in John Milton's Complete Poetical Works Reproduced in Photographic Facsimile. A Critical Text Edition, ed. Harris Francis Fletcher, III (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948). PR 3551 F52 Robarts Library. As published in Ian Lancashire, in collaboration with John Bradley, Willard McCarty, Michael Stairs, and T. R. Wooldridge, Using TACT and Electronic Texts: Text-Analysis Computing Tools Vers. 2.1 for MS-DOS and PC DOS (New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1996). CD-ROM.
THE ARGUMENT.
1THus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
2Praying, for from the Mercie-seat above
3Prevenient Grace descending had remov'd
4The stonie from thir hearts, & made new flesh
5Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'd
6Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
7Inspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flight
8Then loudest Oratorie: yet thir port
9Not of mean suiters, nor important less
10Seem'd thir Petition, then when th' ancient Pair
11In Fables old, less ancient yet then these,
12Deucalion and chaste Pyrrha to restore
13The Race of Mankind drownd, before the Shrine
14Of Themis stood devout. To Heav'n thir prayers
15Flew up, nor missd the way, by envious windes
16Blown vagabond or frustrate: in they passd
17Dimentionless through Heav'nly dores; then clad
18With incense, where the Golden Altar fum'd,
19By thir great Intercessor, came in sight
20Before the Fathers Throne: Them the glad Son
21Presenting, thus to intercede began.
22See Father, what first fruits on Earth are sprung
23From thy implanted Grace in Man, these Sighs
24And Prayers, which in this Golden Censer, mixt
25With Incense, I thy Priest before thee bring,
26Fruits of more pleasing savour from thy seed
27Sow'n with contrition in his heart, then those
28Which his own hand manuring all the Trees
29Of Paradise could have produc't, ere fall'n
30From innocence. Now therefore bend thine eare
31To supplication, heare his sighs though mute;
32Unskilful with what words to pray, Iet mee
33Interpret for him, mee his Advocate
34And propitiation, all his works on mee
35Good or not good ingraft, my Merit those
36Shall perfet, and for these my Death shall pay.
37Accept me, and in mee from these receave
38The smell of peace toward Mankinde, let him live
39Before thee reconcil'd, at least his days
40Numberd, though sad, till Death, his doom (which I
41To mitigate thus plead, not to reverse)
42To better life shall yeeld him, where with mee
43All my redeemd may dwell in joy and bliss,
44Made one with me as I with thee am one.
45To whom the Father, without Cloud, serene.
46All thy request for Man, accepted Son,
47Obtain, all thy request was my Decree:
48But longer in that Paradise to dwell,
49The Law I gave to Nature him forbids:
50Those pure immortal Elements that know
51No gross, no unharmoneous mixture foule,
52Eject him tainted now, and purge him off
53As a distemper, gross to aire as gross,
54And mortal food, as may dispose him best
55For dissolution wrought by Sin, that first
56Distemperd all things, and of incorrupt
57Corrupted. I at first with two fair gifts
58Created him endowd, with Happiness
59And Immortalitie: that fondly lost,
60This other serv'd but to eternize woe;
61Till I provided Death; so Death becomes
62His final remedie, and after Life
63Tri'd in sharp tribulation, and refin'd
64By Faith and faithful works, to second Life,
65Wak't in the renovation of the just,
66Resignes him up with Heav'n and Earth renewd.
67But let us call to Synod all the Blest
68Through Heav'ns wide bounds; from them I will not hide
69My judgments, how with Mankind I proceed,
70As how with peccant Angels late they saw;
71And in thir state, though firm, stood more confirmd.
72He ended, and the Son gave signal high
73To the bright Minister that watchd, hee blew
74His Trumpet, heard in Oreb since perhaps
75When God descended, and perhaps once more
76To sound at general Doom. Th' Angelic blast
77Filld all the Regions: from thir blissful Bowrs
78Of Amarantin Shade, Fountain or Spring,
79By the waters of Life, where ere they sate
80In fellowships of joy: the Sons of Light
81Hasted, resorting to the Summons high,
82And took thir Seats; till from his Throne supream
83Th' Almighty thus pronouncd his sovran Will.
84O Sons, like one of us Man is become
85To know both Good and Evil, since his taste
86Of that defended Fruit; but let him boast
87His knowledge of Good lost, and Evil got,
88Happier, had it suffic'd him to have known
89Good by it self, and Evil not at all.
90He sorrows now, repents, and prayes contrite,
91My motions in him, longer then they move,
92His heart I know, how variable and vain
93Self-left. Least therefore his now bolder hand
94Reach also of the Tree of Life, and eat,
95And live for ever, dream at least to live
96For ever, to remove him I decree,
97And send him from the Garden forth to Till
98The Ground whence he was taken, fitter soile.
99Michael, this my behest have thou in charge,
100Take to thee from among the Cherubim
101Thy choice of flaming Warriours, least the Fiend
102Or in behalf of Man, or to invade
103Vacant possession som new trouble raise:
104Hast thee, and from the Paradise of God
105Without remorse drive out the sinful Pair,
106From hallowd ground th' unholie, and denounce
107To them and to thir Progenie from thence
108Perpetual banishment. Yet least they faint
109At the sad Sentence rigorously urg'd,
110For I behold them softn'd and with tears
111Bewailing thir excess, all terror hide.
112If patiently thy bidding they obey,
113Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveale
114To Adam what shall come in future dayes,
115As I shall thee enlighten, intermix
116My Cov'nant in the womans seed renewd;
117So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace:
118And on the East side of the Garden place,
119Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbes,
120Cherubic watch, and of a Sword the flame
121Wide waving, all approach farr off to fright,
122And guard all passage to the Tree of Life:
123Least Paradise a receptacle prove
124To Spirits foule, and all my Trees thir prey,
125With whose stol'n Fruit Man once more to delude.
126He ceas'd; and th' Archangelic Power prepar'd
127For swift descent, with him the Cohort bright
128Of watchful Cherubim; four faces each
129Had, like a double Janus, all thir shape
130Spangl'd with eyes more numerous then those
131Of Argus, and more wakeful then to drouze,
132Charm'd with Arcadian Pipe, the Pastoral Reed
133Of Hermes, or his opiate Rod. Mean while
134To resalute the World with sacred Light
135Leucothea wak'd, and with fresh dews imbalmd
136The Earth, when Adam and first Matron Eve
137Had ended now thir Orisons, and found
138Strength added from above, new hope to spring
139Out of despaire, joy, but with fear yet linkt;
140Which thus to Eve his welcome words renewd.
141Eve, easily may Faith admit, that all
142The good which we enjoy, from Heav'n descends;
143But that from us ought should ascend to Heav'n
144So prevalent as to concerne the mind
145Of God high-blest, or to incline his will,
146Hard to belief may seem; yet this will Prayer,
147Or one short sigh of humane breath, up-borne
148Ev'n to the Seat of God. For since I saught
149By Prayer th' offended Deitie to appease,
150Kneel'd and before him humbl'd all my heart,
151Methought I saw him placable and mild,
152Bending his eare; perswasion in me grew
153That I was heard with favour; peace returnd
154Home to my Brest, and to my memorie
155His promise, that thy Seed shall bruise our Foe;
156Which then not minded in dismay, yet now
157Assures me that the bitterness of death
158Is past, and we shall live. Whence Haile to thee,
159Eve rightly call'd, Mother of all Mankind,
160Mother of all things living, since by thee
161Man is to live, and all things live for Man.
162To whom thus Eve with sad demeanour meek.
163Ill worthie I such title should belong
164To me transgressour, who for thee ordaind
165A help, became thy snare; to mee reproach
166Rather belongs, distrust and all dispraise:
167But infinite in pardon was my Judge,
168That I who first brought Death on all, am grac't
169The sourse of life; next favourable thou,
170Who highly thus to entitle me voutsaf'st,
171Farr other name deserving. But the Field
172To labour calls us now with sweat impos'd,
173Though after sleepless Night; for see the Morn,
174All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins
175Her rosie progress smiling; let us forth,
176I never from thy side henceforth to stray,
177Wherere our days work lies, though now enjoind
178Laborious, till day droop; while here we dwell,
179What can be toilsom in these pleasant Walkes?
180Here let us live, though in fall'n state, content.
181So spake, so wish'd much-humbl'd Eve, but Fate
182Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave Signs, imprest
183On Bird, Beast, Aire, Aire suddenly eclips'd
184After short blush of Morn; nigh in her sight
185The Bird of Jove, stoopt from his aerie tour,
186Two Birds of gayest plume before him drove:
187Down from a Hill the Beast that reigns in Woods,
188First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace,
189Goodliest of all the Forrest, Hart and Hinde;
190Direct to th' Eastern Gate was bent thir flight.
191Adam observ'd, and with his Eye the chase
192Pursuing, not unmov'd to Eve thus spake.
193O Eve, some furder change awaits us nigh,
194Which Heav'n by these mute signs in Nature shews
195Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn
196Us haply too secure of our discharge
197From penaltie, because from death releast
198Some days; how long, and what till then our life,
199Who knows, or more then this, that we are dust,
200And thither must return and be no more.
201Why else this double object in our fight
202Of flight pursu'd in th' Air and ore the ground
203One way the self-same hour? why in the East
204Darkness ere Dayes mid-course, and Morning light
205More orient in yon Western Cloud that draws
206O're the blew Firmament a radiant white,
207And slow descends, with somthing heav'nly fraught.
208He err'd not, for by this the heav'nly Bands
209Down from a Skie of Jasper lighted now
210In Paradise, and on a Hill made alt,
211A glorious Apparition, had not doubt
212And carnal fear that day dimm'd Adams eye.
213Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
214Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
215The field Pavilion'd with his Guardians bright;
216Nor that which on the flaming Mount appeerd
217In Dothan, cover'd with a Camp of Fire,
218Against the Syrian King, who to surprize
219One man, Assassin-like had levied Warr,
220Warr unproclam'd. The Princely Hierarch
221In thir bright stand, there left his Powers to seise
222Possession of the Garden; hee alone,
223To find where Adam shelterd, took his way,
224Not unperceav'd of Adam, who to Eve,
225While the great Visitant approachd, thus spake.
226Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
227Of us will soon determin, or impose
228New Laws to be observ'd; for I descrie
229From yonder blazing Cloud that veils the Hill
230One of the heav'nly Host, and by his Gate
231None of the meanest, some great Potentate
232Or of the Thrones above, such Majestie
234That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
235As Raphael, that I should much confide,
236But solemn and sublime, whom not to offend,
237With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.
238He ended; and th' Arch-Angel soon drew nigh,
239Not in his shape Celestial, but as Man
240Clad to meet Man; over his lucid Armes
241A militarie Vest of purple flowd
242Livelier then Meliboean, or the graine
243Of Sarra, worn by Kings and Hero's old
244In time of Truce; lris had dipt the wooff;
245His starrie Helme unbuckl'd shew'd him prime
246In Manhood where Youth ended; by his side
247As in a glistering Zodiac hung the Sword,
248Satans dire dread, and in his hand the Spear.
249Adam bowd low, hee Kingly from his State
250Inclin'd not, but his coming thus declar'd.
251Adam, Heav'ns high behest no Preface needs:
252Sufficient that thy Prayers are heard, and Death,
253Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
254Defeated of his seisure many dayes
255Giv'n thee of Grace, wherein thou may'st repent,
256And one bad act with many deeds well done
257Mayst cover: well may then thy Lord appeas'd
258Redeem thee quite from Deaths rapacious claime;
259But longer in this Paradise to dwell
260Permits not; to remove thee I am come,
261And send thee from the Garden forth to till
262The ground whence thou wast tak'n, fitter Soile.
263He added not, for Adam at the newes
264Heart-strook with chilling gripe of sorrow stood,
265That all his senses bound; Eve, who unseen
266Yet all had heard, with audible lament
267Discover'd soon the place of her retire.
268O unexpected stroke, worse then of Death!
269Must I thus leave thee Paradise? thus leave
270Thee Native Soile, these happie Walks and Shades,
271Fit haunt of Gods? where I had hope to spend,
272Quiet though sad, the respit of that day
273That must be mortal to us both. O flours,
274That never will in other Climate grow,
275My early visitation, and my last
276At Eev'n, which I bred up with tender hand
277From the first op'ning bud, and gave ye Names,
278Who now shall reare ye to the Sun, or ranke
279Your Tribes, and water from th' ambrosial Fount?
280Thee lastly nuptial Bowre, by mee adornd
281With what to sight or smell was sweet; from thee
282How shall I part, and whither wander down
283Into a lower World, to this obscure
284And wilde, how shall we breath in other Aire
285Less pure, accustomd to immortal Fruits?
286Whom thus the Angel interrupted milde.
287Lament not Eve, but patiently resigne
288What justly thou hast lost; nor set thy heart,
289Thus over-fond, on that which is not thine;
290Thy going is not lonely, with thee goes
291Thy Husband, him to follow thou art bound;
292Where he abides, think there thy native soile.
293Adam by this from the cold sudden damp
294Recovering, and his scatterd spirits returnd,
295To Michael thus his humble words addressd.
296Celestial, whether among the Thrones, or nam'd
297Of them the Highest, for such of shape may seem
298Prince above Princes, gently hast thou tould
299Thy message, which might else in telling wound,
300And in performing end us; what besides
301Of sorrow and dejection and despair
302Our frailtie can sustain, thy tidings bring,
303Departure from this happy place, our sweet
304Recess, and onely consolation left
305Familiar to our eyes, all places else
306Inhospitable appeer and desolate,
307Nor knowing us nor known: and if by prayer
308Incessant I could hope to change the will
309Of him who all things can, I would not cease
310To wearie him with my assiduous cries:
311But prayer against his absolute Decree
312No more availes then breath against the winde,
313Blown stifling back on him that breaths it forth:
314Therefore to his great bidding I submit.
315This most afflicts me, that departing hence,
316As from his face I shall be hid, deprivd
317His blessed count'nance; here I could frequent,
318With worship, place by place where he voutsaf'd
319Presence Divine, and to my Sons relate;
320On this Mount he appeerd, under this Tree
321Stood visible, among these Pines his voice
322I heard, here with him at this Fountain talk'd:
323So many grateful Altars I would reare
324Of grassie Terfe, and pile up every Stone
325Of lustre from the brook, in memorie,
326Or monument to Ages, and thereon
327Offer sweet smelling Gumms and Fruits and Flours:
328In yonder nether World where shall I seek
330For though I fled him angrie, yet recall'd
331To life prolongd and promisd Race, I now
332Gladly behold though but his utmost skirts
333Of glory, and farr off his steps adore.
334To whom thus Michael with regard benigne.
335Adam, thou know'st Heav'n his, and all the Earth.
336Not this Rock onely; his Omnipresence fills
337Land, Sea, and Aire, and every kinde that lives,
338Fomented by his virtual power and warmd:
339All th' Earth he gave thee to possess and rule,
340No despicable gift; surmise not then
341His presence to these narrow bounds confin'd
342Of Paradise or Eden: this had been
343Perhaps thy Capital Seate, from whence had spred
344All generations, and had hither come
345From all the ends of th' Earth, to celebrate
346And reverence thee thir great Progenitor.
347But this praeeminence thou hast lost, brought down
348To dwell on eeven ground now with thy Sons:
349Yet doubt not but in Vallie and in plaine
350God is as here, and will be found alike
351Present, and of his presence many a signe
352Still following thee, still compassing thee round
353With goodness and paternal Love, his Face
354Express, and of his steps the track Divine.
355Which that thou mayst beleeve, and be confirmd
356Ere thou from hence depart, know I am sent
357To shew thee what shall come in future dayes
358To thee and to thy Ofspring; good with bad
359Expect to hear, supernal Grace contending
360With sinfulness of Men; thereby to learn
361True patience, and to temper joy with fear
362And pious sorrow, equally enur'd
363By moderation either state to beare,
364Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead
365Safest thy life, and best prepar'd endure
366Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend
367This Hill; let Eve (for I have drencht her eyes)
368Here sleep below while thou to foresight wak'st,
369As once thou slepst, while Shee to life was formd.
370To whom thus Adam gratefully repli'd.
371Ascend, I follow thee, safe Guide, the path
372Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of Heav'n submit,
373However chast'ning, to the evil turne
374My obvious breast, arming to overcom
375By suffering, and earne rest from labour won,
376If so I may attain. So both ascend
377In the Visions of God: It was a Hill
378Of Paradise the highest, from whose top
379The Hemisphere of Earth in cleerest Ken
381Not higher that Hill nor wider looking round,
382Whereon for different cause the Tempter set
383Our second Adam in the Wilderness,
384To shew him all Earths Kingdomes and thir Glory.
385His Eye might there command wherever stood
386City of old or modern Fame, the Seat
387Of mightiest Empire, from the destind Walls
388Of Cambalu, seat of Cathaian Can
389And Samarchand by Oxus, Temirs Throne,
390To Paquin of Sinaean Kings, and thence
391To Agra and Lahor of great Mogul
392Down to the golden Chersonese, or where
393The Persian in Ecbatan sate, or since
394In Hispahan, or where the Russian Ksar
395In Mosco, or the Sultan in Bizance,
396Turchestan-born; nor could his eye not ken
397Th' Empire of Negus to his utmost Port
399Mombaza, and Quiloa, and Melind,
400And Sofala thought Ophir, to the Realme
401Of Congo, and Angola fardest South;
402Or thence from Niger Flood to Atlas Mount
403The Kingdoms of Almansor, Fez and Sus,
404Marocco and Algiers, and Tremisen;
405On Europe thence, and where Rome was to sway
406The World: in Spirit perhaps he also saw
407Rich Mexico the seat of Motezume,
408And Cusco in Peru, the richer seat
409Of Atabalipa, and yet unspoil'd
410Guiana, whose great Citie Geryons Sons
411Call El Dorado: but to nobler sights
412Michael from Adams eyes the Filme remov'd
413Which that false Fruit that promis'd clearer sight
414Had bred; then purg'd with Euphrasie and Rue
415The visual Nerve, for he had much to see;
416And from the Well of Life three drops instill'd.
417So deep the power of these Ingredients pierc'd,
418Eevn to the inmost seat of mental sight,
419That Adam now enforc't to close his eyes,
420Sunk down and all his Spirits became intranst:
421But him the gentle Angel by the hand
422Soon rais'd, and his attention thus recall'd.
423Adam, now ope thine eyes, and first behold
424Th' effects which thy original crime hath wrought
425In some to spring from thee, who never touch'd
426Th' excepted Tree, nor with the Snake conspir'd,
428Corruption to bring forth more violent deeds.
429His eyes he op'nd, and beheld a field,
430Part arable and tilth, whereon were Sheaves
431New reapt, the other part sheep-walks and foulds;
432Ith' midst an Altar as the Land-mark stood
433Rustic, of grassie sord; thither anon
434A sweatie Reaper from his Tillage brought
435First Fruits, the green Eare, and the yellow Sheaf,
436Uncull'd, as came to hand; a Shepherd next
437More meek came with the Firstlings of his Flock
438Choicest and best; then sacrificing, laid
439The Inwards and thir Fat, with Incense strew'd,
440On the cleft Wood, and all due Rites perform'd.
441His Offring soon propitious Fire from Heav'n
442Consum'd with nimble glance, and grateful steame;
443The others not, for his was not sincere;
444Whereat hee inlie rag'd, and as they talk'd,
445Smote him into the Midriff with a stone
446That beat out life; he fell, and deadly pale
447Groand out his Soul with gushing bloud effus'd.
448Much at that sight was Adam in his heart
449Dismai'd, and thus in haste to th' Angel cri'd.
450O Teacher, some great mischief hath befall'n
451To that meek man, who well had sacrific'd;
452Is Pietie thus and pure Devotion paid?
453T' whom Michael thus, hee also mov'd, repli'd.
454These two are Brethren, Adam, and to come
455Out of thy loyns; th' unjust the just hath slain,
456For envie that his Brothers Offering found
457From Heav'n acceptance; but the bloodie Fact
458Will be aveng'd, and th' others Faith approv'd
459Loose no reward, though here thou see him die,
460Rowling in dust and gore. To which our Sire.
461Alas, both for the deed and for the cause!
462But have I now seen Death? Is this the way
463I must return to native dust? O sight
464Of terrour, foul and ugly to behold,
465Horrid to think, how horrible to feel!
466To whom thus Michael. Death thou hast seen
467In his first shape on man; but many shapes
468Of Death, and many are the wayes that lead
469To his grim Cave, all dismal; yet to sense
470More terrible at th' entrance then within.
471Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die,
472By Fire, Flood, Famin, by Intemperance more
473In Meats and Drinks which on the Earth shall bring
474Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew
475Before thee shall appear; that thou mayst know
476What miserie th' inabstinence of Eve
477Shall bring on men. Immediately a place
478Before his eyes appeard, sad, noysom, dark,
479A Lazar-house it seemd, wherein were laid
480Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies
481Of gastly Spasm, or racking torture, qualmes
482Of heart-sick Agonie, all feavorous kinds,
483Convulsions, Epilepsies, fierce Catarrhs,
484Intestin Stone and Ulcer, Colic pangs,
486And Moon-struck madness, pining Atrophie,
487Marasmus, and wide-wasting Pestilence,
488Dropsies, and Asthma's, and Joint-racking Rheums.
489Dire was the tossing, deep the groans, despair
490Tended the sick busiest from Couch to Couch;
491And over them triumphant Death his Dart
492Shook, but delaid to strike, though oft invok't
493With vows, as thir chief good, and final hope.
494Sight so deform what heart of Rock could long
495Drie-ey'd behold? Adam could not, but wept,
496Though not of Woman born; compassion quell'd
497His best of Man, and gave him up to tears
498A space, till firmer thoughts restraind excess,
499And scarce recovering words his plaint renew'd.
500O miserable Mankind, to what fall
501Degraded, to what wretched state reserv'd!
502Better end heer unborn. Why is life giv'n
503To be thus wrested from us? rather why
504Obtruded on us thus? who if we knew
505What we receive, would either not accept
506Life offer'd, or soon beg to lay it down,
507Glad to be so dismist in peace. Can thus
508Th' Image of God in man created once
509So goodly and erect, though faultie since,
510To such unsightly sufferings be debas't
511Under inhuman pains? Why should not Man,
512Retaining still Divine similitude
513In part, from such deformities be free,
514And for his Makers Image sake exempt?
515Thir Makers Image, answerd Michael, then
516Forsook them, when themselves they villifi'd
517To serve ungovern'd appetite, and took
518His Image whom they serv'd, a brutish vice,
519Inductive mainly to the sin of Eve.
520Therefore so abject is thir punishment,
521Disfiguring not Gods likeness, but thir own,
522Or if his likeness, by themselves defac't
523While they pervert pure Natures healthful rules
524To loathsom sickness, worthily, since they
525Gods Image did not reverence in themselves.
526I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
527But is there yet no other way, besides
528These painful passages, how we may come
529To Death, and mix with our connatural dust;
530There is, said Michael, if thou well observe
531The rule of not too much, by temperance taught
532In what thou eatst and drinkst, seeking from thence
533Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
534Till many years over thy head return:
535So maist thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou drop
536Into thy Mothers lap, or be with ease
537Gatherd, not harshly pluckt, for death mature:
538This is old age; but then thou must outlive
539Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change
540To witherd weak and gray; thy Senses then
541Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forgoe,
542To what thou hast, and for the Aire of youth
543Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reigne
544A Melancholy damp of cold and dry
545To weigh thy Spirits down, and last consume
546The Balme of Life. To whom our Ancestor.
547Henceforth I flie not Death, nor would prolong
548Life much, bent rather how I may be quit
549Fairest and easiest of this combrous charge,
550Which I must keep till my appointed day
553Nor love thy Life, nor hate; but what thou livst
554Live well, how long or short permit to Heav'n:
555And now prepare thee for another sight.
556He lookd and saw a spacious Plaine, whereon
557Were Tents of various hue; by some were herds
558Of Cattel grazing: others, whence the sound
559Of Instruments that made melodious chime
560Was heard, of Harp and Organ; and who moovd
561Thir stops and chords was seen: his volant touch
562Instinct through all proportions low and high
563Fled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue.
564In other part stood one who at the Forge
565Labouring, two massie clods of Iron and Brass Had melted (whether found where casual fire
566Had wasted woods on Mountain or in Vale,
567Down to the veins of Earth, thence gliding hot
568To som Caves mouth, or whether washt by stream
569From underground) the liquid Ore he dreind
570Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he formd
571First his own Tooles; then, what might else be wrought
572Fusil or grav'n in mettle. After these,
573But on the hether side a different sort
574From the high neighbouring Hills, which was thir Seat,
575Down to the Plain descended: by thir guise
576Just men they seemd, and all thir study bent
577To worship God aright, and know his works
578Not hid, nor those things last which might preserve
579Freedom and Peace to men: they on the Plain
580Long had not walkt, when from the Tents behold
581A Beavie of fair Women, richly gay
582In Gems and wanton dress; to the Harp they sung
583Soft amorous Ditties, and in dance came on:
584The Men though grave, ey'd them, and let thir eyes
585Rove without rein, till in the amorous Net
586Fast caught, they lik'd, and each his liking chose;
587And now of love they treat till th' Eevning Star
588Loves Harbinger appeerd; then all in heat
589They light the Nuptial Torch, and bid invoke
590Hymen, then first to marriage Rites invok't;
591With Feast and Musick all the Tents resound.
592Such happy interview and fair event
593Of love and youth not lost, Songs, Garlands, Flours,
594And charming Symphonies attach'd the heart
595Of Adam, soon enclin'd to admit delight,
596The bent of Nature; which he thus express'd.
597True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest,
598Much better seems this Vision, and more hope
599Of peaceful dayes portends, then those two past;
600Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse,
601Here Nature seems fulfilld in all her ends.
602To whom thus Michael. Judg not what is best
603By pleasure, though to Nature seeming meet,
604Created, as thou art, to nobler end
605Holie and pure, conformitie divine.
606Those Tents thou sawst so pleasant, were the Tents
607Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his Race
608Who slew his Brother; studious they appere
609Of Arts that polish Life, Inventers rare,
610Unmindful of thir Maker, though his Spirit
611Taught them, but they his gifts acknowledg'd none.
612Yet they a beauteous ofspring shall beget;
613For that fair femal Troop thou sawst, that seemd
614Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
615Yet empty of all good wherein consists
616Womans domestic honour and chief praise;
617Bred onely and completed to the taste
618Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
619To dress, and troule the Tongue, and roule the Eye.
620To these that sober Race of Men, whose lives
621Religious titl'd them the Sons of God,
622Shall yield up all thir vertue, all thir fame
623Ignobly, to the traines and to the smiles
624Of these fair Atheists, and now swim in joy,
625(Erelong to swim at large) and laugh; for which
626The world erelong a world of tears must weepe.
627To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.
628O pittie and shame, that they who to live well
629Enterd so faire, should turn aside to tread
630Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint!
631But still I see the tenor of Mans woe
632Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.
633From Mans effeminate slackness it begins,
634Said th' Angel, who should better hold his place
635By wisdome, and superiour gifts receav'd.
636But now prepare thee for another Scene.
637He lookd and saw wide Territorie spred
638Before him, Towns, and rural works between,
639Cities of Men with lofty Gates and Towrs,
640Concours in Arms, fierce Faces threatning Warr,
641Giants of mightie Bone, and bould emprise;
642Part wield thir Arms, part courb the foaming Steed,
643Single or in Array of Battel rang'd
644Both Horse and Foot, nor idely mustring stood;
645One way a Band select from forage drives
646A herd of Beeves, faire Oxen and faire Kine
647From a fat Meddow ground; or fleecy Flock,
648Ewes and thir bleating Lambs over the Plaine,
649Thir Bootie; scarce with Life the Shepherds flye,
650But call in aide, which makes a bloody Fray;
651With cruel Tournament the Squadrons joine;
652Where Cattle pastur'd late, now scatterd lies
653With Carcasses and Arms th' ensanguind Field
654Deserted: Others to a Citie strong
655Lay Seige, encampt; by Batterie, Scale, and Mine,
656Assaulting; others from the wall defend
657With Dart and Jav'lin, Stones and sulfurous Fire;
658On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds.
659In other part the scepter'd Haralds call
660To Council in the Citie Gates: anon
661Grey-headed men and grave, with Warriours mixt,
662Assemble, and Harangues are heard, but soon
663In factious opposition, till at last
664Of middle Age one rising, eminent
665In wise deport, spake much of Right and Wrong,
666Of Justice, of Religion, Truth and Peace,
667And Judgment from above: him old and young
668Exploded and had seiz'd with violent hands,
669Had not a Cloud descending snatch'd him thence
670Unseen amid the throng: so violence
671Proceeded, and Oppression, and Sword-Law
672Through all the Plain, and refuge none was found.
673Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
674Lamenting turnd full sad; O what are these,
675Deaths Ministers, not Men, who thus deal Death
676Inhumanly to men, and multiply
677Ten thousandfould the sin of him who slew
678His Brother; for of whom such massacher
679Make they but of thir Brethren, men of men?
680But who was that Just Man, whom had not Heav'n
681Rescu'd, had in his Righteousness bin lost?
682To whom thus Michael. These are the product
683Of those ill mated Marriages thou saw'st;
684Where good with bad were matcht, who of themselves
685Abhor to joyn; and by imprudence mixt,
686Produce prodigious Births of bodie or mind.
687Such were these Giants, men of high renown;
688For in those dayes Might onely shall be admir'd,
689And Valour and Heroic Vertu call'd;
690To overcome in Battle, and subdue
691Nations, and bring home spoils with infinite
692Man-slaughter, shall be held the highest pitch
693Of human Glorie, and for Glorie done
694Of triumph, to be styl'd great Conquerours,
695Patrons of Mankind, Gods, and Sons of Gods,
696Destroyers rightlier call'd and Plagues of men.
697Thus Fame shall be atchiev'd, renown on Earth,
698And what most merits fame in silence hid.
699But hee the seventh from thee, whom thou beheldst
700The onely righteous in a World perverse,
701And therefore hated, therefore so beset
702With Foes for daring single to be just,
703And utter odious Truth, that God would come
704To judge them with his Saints: Him the most High
705Rapt in a balmie Cloud with winged Steeds
706Did, as thou sawst, receave, to walk with God
707High in Salvation and the Climes of bliss,
708Exempt from Death; to shew thee what reward
709Awaits the good, the rest what punishment;
710Which now direct thine eyes and soon behold.
711He look'd, and saw the face of things quite chang'd,
712The brazen Throat of Warr had ceast to roar,
713All now was turn'd to jollitie and game,
714To luxurie and riot, feast and dance,
715Marrying or prostituting, as befell,
716Rape or Adulterie, where passing faire
717Allurd them; thence from Cups to civil Broiles.
718At length a Reverend Sire among them came,
719And of thir doings great dislike declar'd,
720And testifi'd against thir wayes; hee oft
721Frequented thir Assemblies, whereso met,
722Triumphs or Festivals, and to them preachd
723Conversion and Repentance, as to Souls
724In Prison under Judgements imminent:
725But all in vain: which when he saw, he ceas'd
726Contending, and remov'd his Tents farr off;
727Then from the Mountain hewing Timber tall,
728Began to build a Vessel of huge bulk,
729Measur'd by Cubit, length, and breadth, and highth,
730Smeard round with Pitch, and in the side a dore
731Contriv'd, and of provisions laid in large
732For Man and Beast: when loe a wonder strange!
733Of every Beast, and Bird, and Insect small
734Came seavens, and pairs, and enterd in, as taught
735Thir order: last the Sire, and his three Sons
736With thir four Wives; and God made fast the dore.
737Meanwhile the Southwind rose, and with black wings
738Wide hovering, all the Clouds together drove
739From under Heav'n; the Hills to their supplie
740Vapour, and Exhalation dusk and moist,
741Sent up amain; and now the thick'nd Skie
742Like a dark Ceeling stood; down rush'd the Rain
743Impetuous, and continu'd till the Earth
744No more was seen; the floating Vessel swum
745Uplifted; and secure with beaked prow
746Rode tilting o're the Waves, all dwellings else
747Flood overwhelmd, and them with all thir pomp
748Deep under water rould; Sea cover'd Sea,
749Sea without shoar; and in thir Palaces
750Where luxurie late reign'd, Sea-monsters whelp'd
751And stabl'd; of Mankind, so numerous late,
752All left, in one small bottom swum imbark't.
753How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
754The end of all thy Ofspring, end so sad,
755Depopulation; thee another Floud,
756Of tears and sorrow a Floud thee also drown'd,
757And sunk thee as thy Sons; till gently reard
758By th' Angel, on thy feet thou stoodst at last,
759Though comfortless, as when a Father mourns
760His Children, all in view destroyd at once;
761And scarce to th' Angel utterdst thus thy plaint.
762O Visions ill foreseen! better had I
763Liv'd ignorant of future, so had borne
764My part of evil onely, each dayes lot
765Anough to beare; those now, that were dispenst
766The burd'n of many Ages, on me light
767At once, by my foreknowledge gaining Birth
768Abortive, to torment me ere thir being,
769With thought that they must be. Let no man seek
770Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall
771Him or his Childern, evil he may be sure,
772Which neither his foreknowing can prevent,
773And hee the future evil shall no less
774In apprehension then in substance feel
775Grievous to bear: but that care now is past,
776Man is not whom to warne: those few escap't
777Famin and anguish will at last consume
778Wandring that watrie Desert: I had hope
779When violence was ceas't, and Warr on Earth,
780All would have then gon well, peace would have crownd
781With length of happy dayes the race of man;
782But I was farr deceav'd; for now I see
783Peace to corrupt no less then Warr to waste.
784How comes it thus? unfould, Celestial Guide,
785And whether here the Race of man will end.
786To whom thus Michael. Those whom last thou sawst
787In Triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
788First seen in acts of prowess eminent
789And great exploits, but of true vertu void;
790Who having spilt much blood, and don much waste
791Subduing Nations, and achievd thereby
792Fame in the World, high titles, and rich prey,
793Shall change thir course to pleasure, ease, and sloth,
794Surfet, and lust, till wantonness and pride
795Raise out of friendship hostil deeds in Peace.
796The conquerd also, and enslav'd by Warr
797Shall with thir freedom lost all vertu loose
798And fear of God, from whom thir pietie feign'd
799In sharp contest of Battel found no aide
800Against invaders; therefore coold in zeale
801Thenceforth shall practice how to live secure,
802Worldlie or dissolute, on what thir Lords
803Shall leave them to enjoy; for th' Earth shall bear
804More then anough, that temperance may be tri'd:
805So all shall turn degenerate, all deprav'd,
806Justice and Temperance, Truth and Faith forgot;
807One Man except, the onely Son of light
808In a dark Age, against example good,
809Against allurement, custom, and a World
810Offended; fearless of reproach and scorn,
811Or violence, hee of thir wicked wayes
812Shall them admonish, and before them set
813The paths of righteousness, how much more safe,
814And full of peace, denouncing wrauth to come
815On thir impenitence; and shall returne
816Of them derided, but of God observd
817The one just Man alive; by his command
818Shall build a wondrous Ark, as thou beheldst,
819To save himself and household from amidst
820A World devote to universal rack.
821No sooner hee with them of Man and Beast
822Select for life shall in the Ark be lodg'd,
823And shelterd round, but all the Cataracts
824Of Heav'n set open on the Earth shall powre
825Raine day and night, all fountains of the Deep
826Broke up, shall heave the Ocean to usurp
827Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise
828Above the highest Hills: then shall this Mount
829Of Paradise by might of Waves be moovd
830Out of his place, pushd by the horned floud,
831With all his verdure spoil'd, and Trees adrift
832Down the great River to the op'ning Gulf,
833And there take root an Iland salt and bare,
834The haunt of Seales and Orcs, and Sea-mews clang.
835To teach thee that God attributes to place
836No sanctitie, if none be thither brought
837By Men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
838And now what further shall ensue, behold.
839He lookd, and saw the Ark hull on the floud,
840Which now abated, for the Clouds were fled,
841Drivn by a keen North-winde, that blowing drie
842Wrinkl'd the face of Deluge, as decai'd;
843And the cleer Sun on his wide watrie Glass
844Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh Wave largely drew,
845As after thirst, which made thir flowing shrink
846From standing lake to tripping ebbe, that stole
847With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt
848His Sluces, as the Heav'n his windows shut.
849The Ark no more now flotes, but seems on ground
850Fast on the top of som high mountain fixt.
851And now the tops of Hills as Rocks appeer;
852With clamor thence the rapid Currents drive
853Towards the retreating Sea thir furious tyde.
854Forthwith from out the Arke a Raven flies,
855And after him, the surer messenger,
856A Dove sent forth once and agen to spie
857Green Tree or ground whereon his foot may light;
858The second time returning, in his Bill
859An Olive leafe he brings, pacific signe:
860Anon drie ground appeers, and from his Arke
861The ancient Sire descends with all his Train;
862Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
863Grateful to Heav'n, over his head beholds
864A dewie Cloud, and in the Cloud a Bow
865Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,
866Betok'ning peace from God, and Cov'nant new.
867Whereat the heart of Adam erst so sad
868Greatly rejoyc'd, and thus his joy broke forth.
869O thou who future things canst represent
870As present, Heav'nly instructer, I revive
871At this last sight, assur'd that Man shall live
872With all the Creatures, and thir seed preserve.
873Farr less I now lament for one whole World
874Of wicked Sons destroyd, then I rejoyce
875For one Man found so perfet and so just,
876That God voutsafes to raise another World
877From him, and all his anger to forget.
878But say, what mean those colourd streaks in Heavn,
879Distended as the Brow of God appeas'd,
880Or serve they as a flourie verge to binde
881The fluid skirts of that same watrie Cloud,
882Least it again dissolve and showr the Earth?
883To whom th' Archangel. Dextrously thou aim'st;
884So willingly doth God remit his Ire,
885Though late repenting him of Man deprav'd,
886Griev'd at his heart, when looking down he saw
887The whole Earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh
888Corrupting each thir way; yet those remoov'd,
889Such grace shall one just Man find in his sight,
890That he relents, not to blot out mankind,
891And makes a Covenant never to destroy
892The Earth again by flood, nor let the Sea
893Surpass his bounds, nor Rain to drown the World
894With Man therein or Beast; but when he brings
895Over the Earth a Cloud, will therein set
896His triple-colour'd Bow, whereon to look
897And call to mind his Cov'nant: Day and Night,
898Seed time and Harvest, Heat and hoary Frost
899Shall hold thir course, till fire purge all things new,
900Both Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.

Notes

0] but declares (1674): and declares (1667). Cherubim (1674): Cherubims (1667). Flood.: Flood; (1674). Back to Line
233] coming; (1667); coming? (1674). Back to Line
329] foot-step trace: foot step-trace (1674). Back to Line
380] the (1764): not in 1667. Back to Line
398] Maritim (1674): Maritine (1667). Back to Line
427] that sin (1667): that (1674). Back to Line
485] This line, and the following two lines, are not in the 1667 edition. Back to Line
551] and patiently attend / My dissolution (1674): not in 1667. Back to Line
552] Michael repli'd (1674): Michael to him repli'd (1667). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1667
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2002
Rhyme: 
Special Copyright: 

Transcription courtesy of Roy Flannagan.