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And what most merits fame in silence hid.
But he the sev’nth from thee, whom thou beheld'st
The only righteous in a world perverse, 701
And therefore hated, therefore so beset
With foes for daring single to be just,
And utter odious truth, that God would come
To judge them with his Saints; him the Most
High,

705
Rapt in a balmy cloud with winged steeds,
Did, as thou saw'st, receive to walk with God,
High in salvation and the climes of bliss,
Exempt from death; to show thee what reward
Awaits the good, the rest what punishment :
Which now direct thine eyes, and soon behold.
He look'd, and saw the face of things quite

chang’d.
The brazen throat of war had ceas'd to roar:
All now was turn'd to jollity and game,
To luxury and riot, feast and dance,

715
Marrying or prostituting, as befel,
Rape or adultery, where passing fair
Allur'd them : thence from cups to civil broils.
At length a rev'rend sire among them came,
And of their doings great dislike declar'd, 720
And testify'd against their ways. He oft
Frequented their assemblies, whereso met,
Triumphs or festivals, and to them preach'd
Conversion and repentance, as to souls
In prison under judgments imminent : 725
But all in vain : which when he saw, he ceas'd

Contending, and remoy'd his tents far off.
Then from the mountain, hewing timber tall,
Began to build a vessel of huge bulk, 729
Measur'd by cubit, length, and breadth, and height,
Smear'd round with pitch, and in the side a door
Contriy'd; and of provisions laid in large
For man and beast: when lo, a wonder strange!
Of every beast, and bird, and insect small, 734
Came sev'ns and pairs, and enter'd in, as taught
Their order. Last, the sire and his three sons,
With their four wives; and God made fast the

door. Mean while the south wind rose, and with black

wings Wide hov'ring, all the clouds together drove From under Heav'n; the hills to their supply Vapour, and exhalation dusk and moist,

741 Sent up amain. And now the thicken'd sky Like a dark ceiling stood ; down rush'd the rain Impetuous, and continu'd till the earth No more was seen. The floating vessel swum Uplifted, and secure with beaked prow, 746 Rode tilting o'er the waves: all dwelling else Flood overwhelm'd, and them with all their pomp Deep under water roll'd; sea cover'd sea, Sea without shore: and in their palaces, 750 Where luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd And stabled. Of mankind, so num'rous late, All left, in one small bottom swum imbark'd. How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold

The end of all thy offspring, end so sad, 755
Depopulation! Thee another flood,
Of tears and sorrow'a flood, thee also drown'd,
And sunk thee as thy sons ; till, gently rear'd
By th' Angel, on thy feet thou stood'st at last,
Tho'comfortless, as when a father mourns 760
His children, all in view destroy'd at once :
And scarce to th’Angel utter’dst thus thy plaint:

O visions ill foreseen! Better had I
Liv’d ignorant of future, so had borne
My part of evil only, each day's lot 765
Enough to bear! those now, that were dispens'd
The burd’n of many ages, on me light
At once, by my foreknowledge gaining birth
Abortive, to torment me ere their being,
With thought that they must be! Let no man seek
Henceforth to be foretold what shall befall 771
Him or his children: evil he may be sure,
Which neither his foreknowing can prevent,
And he the future evil shall no less
In apprehension than in substance feel

775 Grievous to bear. But that care now is past, Man is not whom to warn : those few escap'd, Famine and anguish will at last consume, Wand'ring that wat'ry desert. I had hope When violence was ceas'd, and war on earth, All would have then gone well; peace would have crown'd

781 With length of happy days the race of man; But I was far deceiv'd: for now I see

Peace to corrupt no less than war to waste.
How comes it thus ? Unfold, celestial Guide;
And whether here the race of man will end?
To whom thus Michael: Those whom last

thou saw'st
In triumph and luxurious wealth, are they
First seen in acts of prowess eminent
And great exploits, but of true virtue void ; 790
Who, having spilt much blood, and done much

waste, Subduing nations, and atchiev'd thereby Fame in the world, high titles, and rich prey, Shallchangetheir course to pleasure,ease,andsloth, Surfeit, and lust, till wantonness and pride 795 Raise out of friendship hostile deeds in peace. The conquer'd also, and enslav'd by war, Shall, with their freedom lost, all virtue lose And fear of God, from whom their piety feign'd In sharp contest of battle, found no aid 800 Against invaders; therefore cool'd in zeal, Thenceforth shall practise how to live secure, Worldly or dissolute, on what their lords Shall leave them to enjoy: for th'earth shall bear More than enough, that temp’rance may be try’d. So all shall turn degen’rate, all deprav’d,

806 Justice and temp’rance, truth and faith forgot; One man except, the only son of light In a dark age, against example good, Against allurement, custom, and a world 810 Offended; fearless of reproach and scorn,

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Or violence, he of their wicked ways
Shall them admonish, and before them set
The paths of righteousness, how much more safe,
And full of peace, denouncing wrath to come
On their impenitence; and shall return 816
Of them derided, but of God observ'd
The one just man alive. By his command
Shall build a wond'rous ark, as thou beheld'st,
To save himself and household from amidst 820
A world devote to universal wrack.
No sooner he with them of man and beast
Select for life shall in the ark be lodg’d,
And shelter'd round, but all the cataracts
Of Heav'n, set open on the earth, shall
Rain day and night; all fountains of the deep
Broke up,

shall heave the ocean, to usurp
Beyond all bounds, till inundation rise
Above the highest hills: then shall this mount
Of Paradise, by might of waves, be mov'd 830
Out of his place, push'd by the horned flood,
With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the op’ning gulf,
And there take root an island salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and sea-mews clang,
To teach thee that God attributes to place 836
No sanctity, if none be thither brought
By men who there frequent, or therein dwell.
And now what further shall ensue, behold.

He look'd, and saw the ark hull on the flood, Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,

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