Page images

Wrinkled the face of deluge, as decay'd;

And the clear sun on his wide watʼry glass
Gaz'd hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
As after thirst, which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot towards the deep, who now had stopt
His sluices, as the Heav'n his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground



Fast on the top of some high mountain fix'd.
And now the tops of hills as rocks appear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive
Tow'ards the retreating sea their furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,
And after him, the surer messenger,


A dove sent forth once and again to spy

Green tree or ground whereon his foot may light;

The second time returning, in his bill

An olive leaf he brings, pacific sign:


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
Conspicuous with three listed colours gay,
Betokening peace from God, and cov'nant new.
Whereat the heart of Adam, erst so sad,
Greatly rejoic'd, and thus his joy broke forth.

"O thou who future things canst represent

As present, heav'nly Instructor, I revive
At this last sight, assur'd 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
For one man found so perfect and so just,
That God vouchsafes to raise another world

From him, and all his anger to forget.

Eut say, what mean those colour'd streaks in Heav'n





Distended as the brow of God appeas'd,

Or serve they as a flow'ry verge to bind

The fluid skirts of that same watʼry cloud,

Lest it again dissolve and show'r the earth?"

[ocr errors]

To whom the Archangel. Dext'rously thou aim'st; So willingly doth God remit his ire,

Though late repenting him of man deprav'd,

Griev'd at his heart, when looking down he saw

The whole earth fill'd with violence, and all flesh
Corrupting each their way; yet those remov'd,
Such grace shall one just man find in his sight,
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
Over the earth a cloud, will therein set
His triple-colour'd bow, whereon to look,
And call to mind his cov'nant: day and night,
Seed-time and harvest, heat and hoary frost,


Shall hold their course, till fire purge all things new,
Both Heav'n and Earth, wherein the just shall dwell.”






The Angel Michael continues from the flood to relate what shall succeed; then, in the mention of Abraham, comes by degrees to explain who that Seed of the Woman shall be which was promised Adam and Eve in the fall. His incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension; the state of the church till his second coming. Adam, greatly satisfied and re-comforted 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.

« PreviousContinue »