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An olive leaf he brings ; pacific sign.
880 Anon dry ground appears, and from his ark The ancient sire descends with all his train : Then, with uplifted hands and eyes devout, Grateful to Heav'n, over his head beholds A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
865 Conspicuous, with three listed colours gay, Betokening peace from God, and covenant new. Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad, Greatly rejoiced, and thus his joy broke forth :
O thou, who future things can'st represent 870 As present, heav'nly Instructor, I revive At this last sight; assured that man shall live With all the creatures, and their seed preserve. Far less I now lament for one whole world Of wicked sons destroy'd, than I rejoice
875 For one man found so perfect and so just, That God vouchsafes to raise another world From him, and all his anger to forget. But say, what mean those colour'd streaks in Heav'n Distended as the brow of God appeased,
880 Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind The fluid skirts of that same watery cloud, Lest it again dissolve and shower the earth?
To whom th' Arch-Angel: Dext'rously thou aim'st; So willingly doth God remit his ire,
885 Though late repenting him of man depraved, Grieved at his heart, when looking down he saw The whole earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh Corrupting each their way; yet those removed, Such grace shall one just man find in his sight, 890 That he relents, not to blot out mankind, And makes a covenant never to destroy The earth again by flood, nor let the sea Surpass his bounds, nor rain to drown the world With man therein or beast ; but when he brings 895 Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
860. It may be observed that the olive is made frequent mention of in Scripture, and appears to have had a sort of sacred character among most of the ancient nations. Might it not acquire this by its having been thus appointed by God as a sign of peace between him and his creatures !
806. Three listed colours, the three principal ones are here alluded to
His triple-colour'd bow, whereon to look,
The Angel Michael continues, from the flood, to relate what shall succeed ; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by de grees to explain whó that Seed of the Woman shall be, which was promised Adam ard Eve in the fall; his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension ; the st te of the church till his second coming. Adam, greatly satisfied and recomforted by these relations and promises, descends the hill with Michael : wakens Eve, who all this while had slept, but with gentle dreams composed to quietness of mind and submission. Michael in either hand leads them out of Paradise, the fiery sword waving behind them, and the Cherubim taking their stations to guard the place.
As one who in his journey bates at noon,
10 Henceforth what is to come I will relate, Thou therefore give due audience, and attend. This second source of men, while yet but few, And while the dread of judgment past remains Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity,
15 1. This book was united to the former in the first edition, and on its being separated the first five lines were added to form its commencement.
11. Addison regrets that the poet did not continue the instead of reverting to the narrative form-Milton, however, appears to me to have been right in the plan he has pursued. It would, in the first place, have been unnatural to keep Adam longer in a state of ecstasy or trance; and next and principally, the action of the poem would have been entirely stopped too long, had the vision continued. By bringing the angel forward as speak ing and conversing with Adam, the plot, though not really for warded, has the appearance of going on
With some regard to what is just and right
proud ambitious heart; who not content 25 With fair equality, fraternal state, Will arrogate dominion undeserved Over his brethren, and quite dispossess Concord and law of nature from the earth, Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game) 30 With war and hostile snare such as refuse Subjection to his empire tyrannous : A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled Before the Lord, as in despite of Heav'n, Or from Heav'n claiming second sov’reignty ;
35 And from rebellion shall derive his name, Though of rebellion others he accuse. He with a crew, whom like ambition joins With him or under him to tyrannize, Marching from Eden tow'rds the west, shall find 40 The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell: Of brick, and of that stuff they cast to build A city and tow'r, whose top may reach to Heav'n; And get themselves a name, lest far dispersed 43 In foreign lands, there 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 bebolding soon,
50 Cones down to see their city, ere the tow'r Obstruct Heav'n-tow'rs, and in derision sets Upon their tongues a various spirit to rase
22. The silver age is here meant, as the time of man's innocence was the golden.-The iron age is next mentioned.
24. Nimrod is said to have been the first man who assumed the power and character of a monarch. Gen. x. 9.
36. The name of Nimrod is usually derived from a Hebrew word that signifies to rebel.
40. Gen. xi. 2, &c.
Quite out their native language, and instead
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased :
70 Reserving, human left from human free. But this usurper, his encroachment proud Stays not on man; to God his tow'r intends Siege and defiance. Wretched man! what food Will he convey up thither to sustain
75 Himself and his rash army, where thi
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 men
80 Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue Rational liberty; yet know withal, Since thy original lapse, true liberty Is lost, which always with right reason dwells T'winn'd, and from her hath no dividual being 85 Reason in man obscured, 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 90 Within himself unworthy powers to reign Over free reason, God in judgment just
59. Dr. Bentley reads is in this and in line 61. But the angel might regard the event as past, as in his relation he looked from a station which could command the whole extended course of time,
662, babel signifies confusion in Hebrew. Gen. xi. 9.
Subjects him from without to violent lords ;
Servant of servants,' on his vicious race. Thus will this latter, as the former world, 103 Still tend from bad to worse, till God at last, Weary'd 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;
110 And one peculiar nation to select From all the rest, of whom to be invoked, A nation from one faithful man to spring : Him on this side Euphrates yet residing, Bred up in idol-worship. O that men
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 shew 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 blest. He straight obeys, Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes. I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
101. Cham ; the father of Canaan is here meant. Gen. ix. 22. 2 110. The narrative is, from this point, confined to the history of the chosen race, the seed of Abraham. 115. Josh. xxiv, 2.
117. Terah, Abraham's father was born 222 years after the food, and Noah was living till the 30th year after it, so that idolatry had gained ground some years before his death. 120. Gen. xii. 1-3.
126. Heb. xi. 8. 128. This is not, it should be observed, a reverting to the former walon, as some commentatons seem to suppose, but a mode of