Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st Live well; how long or short permit to Heav'n. And now prepare thee for another sight, 555

He look’d, and saw a spacious plain, whereon Were tents of various hue: by some were herds Of cattle grazing; others, whence the sound Of instruments that made melodious chime Was heard, of harp and organ, and who mov'd Their stops and chords, was seen. His volant touch Instinct, through all proportions low and high, Fled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue. In other part stood one who, at the forge Lab'ring, two massy clods of iron and brass 565 Had melted (whether found where casùal fire Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale, Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot Tosomecave's mouth, or whether wash’dby stream From under-ground); the liquid ore he drain'd Into fit molds prepar'd; from which he form’d First his own tools; then, what might else be

wrought Fusile, or grav'n in metal. After these, But on the hither side, a diff'rent sort From the high neighb'ring hills, which was their seat,

575 Down to the plain descended. By their guise, Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent To worship God aright, and know his works Not hid, nor those things last which might preserve Freedom and peace to men. They on the plain

The men,

Long had not walk’d, when from thetents, behold,
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In
gems

and wanton dress. To th' harp they sung Soft am'rous ditties, and in dance came on.

tho'
grave, ey'd them, and let their

eyes
Rove without rein, till, in the am'rous net 586
Fast caught, they lik’d, and each his liking chose:
And now of love they treat, till th' ev'ning star,
Love's harbinger, appear'd; then all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok’d.
With feast and music all the tents resound.
Such happy interview and fair event
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flow'rs,
And charming symphonies attach'd the heart
Of Adam, soon inclin'd t'admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus express'd:

True op'ner of mine eyes, prime Angel blest, Much better seems this vision, and more hope Of peaceful days portends, than those two past : Those were of hate and death,or pain much worse; Here Nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.

To whom thus Michael: Judge not what is best By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet, Created, as thou art, to nobler end, 605 Holy and pure, conformity divine. Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race Who slew his brother. Studious they appear Of arts that polish life, inventors rare, 610

596

Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit Taught them; but they his gifts acknowledg'd

none: Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget; For that fair female troop thou saw'st, that seem'd Of Goddesses, so blithe, so smooth, so gay, 615 Yet empty of all good, wherein consists Woman's domestic honour and chief praise ; Bred only and completed to the taste Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance, To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye. To these that sober race of men, whose lives 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, 625 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 630 Paths indirect, or in the mid-way faint! But still I see the tenor of Man's woe Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.

From Man's effeminate slackness it begins, Said th’ Angel, who should better hold his place By wisdom, and superior gifts receiv’d. 636 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 tow’rs, 640
Concourse in arms, fierce faces threat’ning war,
Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise :
Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed,
Single or in array of battle rang’d
Both horse and foot; nor idly must'ring stood.
One way a band select, from forage drives 646
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 pastur'd late, now scatter'd lies
With carcasses and arms th’insanguin'd field
Deserted. Others, to a city strong 655
Lay siege, encamp'd; by batt'ry, scale, and mine,
Assaulting : others, from the wall, defend
With dart and jav'lin, stones and sulph'rous fire:
On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds.
In other part the scepter'd heralds call 660
To council in the city gates. Anon
Gray-headed men and grave, with warriors mix'd,
Assemble, and harangues are heard; but soon
In factious opposition, till at last
Of middle age one rising, eminent

665
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 seiz'd with violent hands,

VOL. II.

T

671

Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence,
Unseen amid the throng: so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law
Thro' 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

679 Make they but of their brethren, men of men ! But who was that just man, whom had not Heav'n Rescu’d, 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

685 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 those days might only shall be' admir'd, And valour and heroic virtue call'd. 690 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 stil'd great conquerors,

695 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,

« AnteriorContinuar »