Imatges de pàgina
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A city' and tower, whose top may reach to Heav'n;
And get themselves a name, lest far dispers'd
In foreign lands their memory be lost,
Regardless whether good or evil fame.
But God, who oft descends to visit men
Unseen, and through their habitations walks
To mark their doings, them beholding soon,

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Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
Obstruct Heav'n-towers, and in derision sets
Upon their tongues a various spi'rit to rase
Quite out their native language, and instead
To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud
Among the builders; each to other calls
Not understood, till hoarse, and all in rage,
As mock'd they storm; great laughter was in Heav'n
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange 60
And hear the din; thus was the building left
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion nam’d.

Whereto thus. Adim fatherly displeas'd:
O execrable son so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurp'd, from God not given:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself

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Reserving, human left from human free.
But this usurper his encroachment proud
Stays not on man; to God his tow'r intends

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Siege and defiance: wretched man! what food
Will he convey up thither to sustain
Himself and his rash army, where thin air
Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
And famish him of breath, if not of bread?

To whom thus Michael: Justly thou abhorr'st
That son, who on the quiet state of man
Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
Rational liberty ; yet know withal,
Since thy origi'nal lapse, true liberty..
Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being:
Reason in man obscur’d, or not obey'd,
Immediately inordinate desires
And upstart passions catch the government
From reason, and to servitude reduce
Man till then free. Therefore since he permits
Within himself unworthy powers to reign
Over free reason, God in judgment just
Subjects him from without to viclent lords;
Who oft as undeservedly inthral
His outward freedom ; tyranny must be,
Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
But justice, and some fatal curse annex'd
Deprives them of their outward liberty,
Their inward lost: witness th' irreverent son
Of him who built the ark, who for the shame
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,

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JIO

Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
Thus will this latter, as the former world,
Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last
Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
His presence from among them, and avert
His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
To leave them to their own polluted ways;
And one peculiar nation to select
From all the rest, of whom to be invok'd,
A nation from one faithful man to spring:
Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
Bred up in idol-worship; O that man
(Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
While yet the Patriarch liv'd, who scap'd 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,
His kindred and false gods, into a land
Which he will shew him, and from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him shower
His benediction so, that in his seed
All nations shall be blest; 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 Chaldæa, passing now the ford

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To Haran, after him a cumbrous train
Of herds and flocks, and numerous servitude;
Not wand'ring poor, but trusting all his wealth

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With God, who call’d him, in a land unknown.
Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
Pitch'd about Sechem, and the neighb'ring plain
Of Moren; 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, though yet unnam’d).
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
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 blest,
Whom faithful Abraham due time shall call,“
A son, and of his son a grand-child leaves,
Like him in faith, in wisdom and renown;
The grand-child with twelve sons increas'd departs
From Canaan, to a land hereafter call'd
Egypt, divided by the river Nile;
See where it flows, disgorging at sev'n mouths
Into the sea: to sojourn in that land
He comes invited by a younger son

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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
To stop their overgrowth, as inmate guests [slaves
Too numerous; whence of guests he makes them
Inhospitably', and kills their infant males :
Till by two brethren (those two brethren call
Moses and Aaron) sent from God to claim 170
His people from inthralment, they return
With glory' and spoil back to their promis'd land.
But first the lawless tyrant, who denies
To know their God, or message to regard,
Must be compell’d by signs and judgments dire;
To blood unshed the rivers must be turn'd;
Frogs, lice, and fiies, must all his palace fill
With loath'd intrusion, and fill the land;
His cattle must of rot and murren die;
Botches and blains must all his flesh imboss, 180
And all his people; thunder mix'd with hail,
Hail mix'd with fire, must rend th’ Egyptian sky,
And wheel on th' earth, devouring where it rolls;
What it devours not, herb, or fruit, or grain,
A darksome cloud of locusts swarming down
Mus: eat, and on the ground leave nothing green;
Darkness must overshadow all his bounds,
Pa!pable darkness, and blot out ihree days;
Last with one midnight stroke all the first-born
Of Egypt inust lie dead. Thus with ten wounds 190
The river-diagon ain'd at length submits
To let his so curers dez art, and oft
Humbles his stubborn heart, but still as ice

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