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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
Long had not walk’d, when from thetents, behold,
and wanton dress. To th' harp they sung Soft am'rous ditties, and in dance came on.
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
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
Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence,
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,