« AnteriorContinua »
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
115 (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, 121 His kindred, and false Gods, into a land Which he will show him; and from him will raise A mighty nation; and upon him shower His benediction so that in his seed
125 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 Chaldea, passing now the ford
130 To Haran; after him a cumbrous train Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude ; Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth With God, who call'd him, in a land unknown.
Canaay be now attains ; I see his tents
135 Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighboaring plain Of Moreh; there by promise he receives Gift to his progeny of all that land, From Hamath northward to the Desert south (Things by their names I call, thou yet unnamed ;) From Hermon east to the great western Sea; 141 Mount Hermon, yonder sea ; each place behold In prospect, as I point them; on the shore Mount Carmel; here, the double-founted stream, Jordan, true limit eastward ; but his sons 145 Shall dwell to Senir, that long ridge of hills. This ponder, that all nations of the earth Shall in his seed be blessed: by that seed Is meant thy great Deliverer, who shall bruise The Serpent's head; whereof to thee anon 150 Plainlier shall be reveal'd. This patriarch blesa'd, Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call, A son, and of his son a grandchild, leaves ; Like him in faith, in wisdom, and renown: l'he grandchild, with twelve sons increased, departs From Canaan, to a land hereafter callid
156 Egypt, divided by the river Nile ; See where it flows, disgorging at seven mouths Into the sea : to sojourn in that land He comes, invited by a younger son
160 In time of dearth; a son, whose worthy deeds Raise him to be the second in that realm Of Pharaoh : there he dies, and leaves his race Growing into a nation, and now grown Suspected to a sequent king, who seeks
165 To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests Toonumerous ; whence of guests he makes them slaves Inhospitably, and kills their infant males : Till by two brethren (these two brethren callid Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170 His people from enthralment, they return, With glory and spoil, back to their promised land.
But first, the lawless tyrant, who denies
205 All night he will pursue ; but his approach Darkness defends between till morning watch ; Then through the fiery pillar, and the cloud, God looking forth will trouble all his host, 209 And craze their chariot-wheels: when by command
Moses once more his potent rod extends
By his preseript a sanctuary is framed
255 The heavenly fires; over the tent a cloud Shall rest by day, a fiery gleam by night; Save when they journey, and at length they come, Conducted by his Angel, to the land Promised to Abraham and his seed :-the rest 260 Were long to tell; how many battles fought; How many kings destroy'd; and kingdoms won; Or how the sun shall in mid Heaven stand still A day entire, and night's due course adjourn, Man's voice com
mmanding, Sun, in Gibeon stand, 265 And thou, moon, in the vale of Aialon, Till Israel overcome! so call the third From Abraham, son of Isaac; and from him His whole descent, who thus shall Canaan win.
Here Adam interposed: O send from Heaven, 270 Enlightener of my darkness, gracious things 'Thou hast reveal'd; those chiefly which concern Just Abraham and his seed ; now first I find Mine eyes true-opening, and my heart much eased; Erewhile perplex'd with thoughts, what would become Of me and all mankind: but now I see
276 His day, in whom all nations shall be bless'd; Favour unmerited by me, who sought Forbidden knowledge by forbidden means. This yet I apprehend not, why to those
280Among whom God will deign to dwell on earth So many and so various laws are given ; So many laws argue so many sins Among them; how can God with such reside ?
To whom thus Michael: Doubt not but that sin 285 Will reign among them, as of thee begot;