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Thy youth, thy strength, thy beauty, which will change
To wither'd, weak, and grey; thy senses then 540
Obtuse, all taste of pleasure must forego,
To what thou hast ; and for the air of youth,
Hopeful and cheerful, in thy blood will reign
A melancholy damp of cold and dry
To weigh thy spirits down, and last consume 545
The balm of life. To whom our ancestor.
Henceforth I fly not death, nor would prolong
Life much, bent rather how I may be quit
Fairest and easiest of this cumb'rous charge,
Which I must keep till my appointed day

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Of rend'ring up, and patiently attend
My dissolution. Michael reply'd.
Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou liv'st
Live well, how long or short permit to Heaven :
And now prepare thee for another sight.

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He look'd, and saw a spacious plain, whereon
Were tents of various hue; by some were herds
Of cattle grazing ; others, whence the sound
Of instruments that made melodious chime
Was heard, of harp and organ; and who mov'd

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Their stops and chords was seen : his volant touch
Instinct through all proportions low and high
Fled and pursu'd transverse the resonant fugue.
In other part stood one who at the forge
Lab'ring, two massy clods of ir’on and brass 565
Had melted, (whether found where casual fire
Had wasted woods on mountain or in vale,
Down to the veins of earth, thence gliding hot
To some cave's mouth, or whether wash'd by stream

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From under-ground) the liquid ore he drain'd 570
Into fit moulds prepar'd; from which he form'd
First his own tools; then, what might else be wrought
Fusile or grav’n in metal. After these,
But on the hither side, a different sort
From the high neighb'ring hills, which was their seat,
Down to the plain descended: by their guise
Just men they seem'd, and all their study bent
To worship God aright, and know his works
Not hid, nor those things last which might preserve
Freedom and peace to men; they on the plain
Long had not walk'd, when from the tents behold
A bevy of fair women, richly gay
In gems and wanton dress; to th' harp they sung
Soft amorous ditties, and in dance came on:
The men though grave, ey'd them, and let their eyes
Rove without rein, till in the amorous net
Fast caught, they lik’d, and each his liking chose;
And now of love they treat, till th' evening star,
Love's harbinger appear'd; then all in heat
They light the nuptial torch, and bid invoke
Hymen, then first to marriage rites invok'd :
With feast and music all the tents resound.
Such happy interview and fair event
Of love and youth not lost, songs, garlands, flowers,
And charming symphonies attach'd the heart 595
Of Adam, soon inclin'd t'admit delight,
The bent of nature; which he thus express’d.

True opener of mine eyes, prime Angel blest,
Much better seems this vision, and more hope
Of peaceful days portends, than those two past;

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Those were of hate and death, or pain much worse ;
Here nature seems fulfill'd in all her ends.

To whom thus Michael. Judge not what is best
By pleasure, though to nature seeming meet,
Created, as thou art, to nobler end
Holy and pure, conformity divine.
Those tents thou saw'st so pleasant, were the tents
Of wickedness, wherein shall dwell his race
Who slew his brother; studious they appear
Of arts that polish life, inventors rare,

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Unmindful of their Maker, though his Spirit
Taught them, but they his gifts acknowledg'd none.
Yet they a beauteous offspring shall beget;
For that fair female troop thou saw'st that seem'd
Of Goddesses so blithe, so smooth, so gay,
Yet empty of all good wherein consists
Woman's domestic honour and chief praise;
Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye ; 620
To these that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists, and now swim in joy,
Erelong to swim at large, and laugh, for which
The world erelong a world of tears must weep.

To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.
O pity' and shame, that they who to live well
Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread

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Paths indirect, or in the mid-way faint !
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe
Holds on the same, from woman to begin.

From Man's effeminate slackness it begins,
Said th’Angel, who should better hold his place
By wisdom, and superior gifts receiv'd.
But now prepare thee for another scene.

He look’d, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between,
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,

640 Concourse in arms, fierce faces threat’ning war, Giants of mighty bone, and bòld emprise; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle rang'd Both horse and foot, nor idly must'ring stood; One way a band select from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650 But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray; With cruel tournament the squadrons join; Where cattle pastur'd late, now scatter'd lies With carcases and arms th' ensanguin'd field Deserted : Others to a city strong

635 Lay siege, encamp'd; by battery, scale, and mine, Assaulting ; others from the wall defend With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous fire: On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds. In other parts the scepter'd heralds call

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To council in the city gates : anon
Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mix'd,
Assemble, and harangues are heard, but soon
In factious opposition, till at last
Of middle age one rising, eminent
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth and peace,
And judgment from above : him old and young
Exploded, and had seiz'd with violent hands,
Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence 670
Unseen amid the throng : so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword law
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
Lamenting, turn'd full sad; O what are these, 675
Death's ministers, not men, who thus deal death
Inhumanly to men, and multiply
Ten thousandfold the sin of him who slew
His brother : for of whom such massacre
Make they but of their brethren, men of men ? 680
But who was that just man, whom had not Heaven
Rescued, had in his righteousness been lost ?

To whom thus Michael. These are the product
Of those ill-mated marriages thou saw'st ;
Where good with bad were match’d, who of themselves
Abhor to join; and by imprudence mix’d,

686 Produce prodigious births of body' or mind. Such were these giants, men of high renown; For in those days might only shall be’admir’d, And valour and heroic virtue call'd;

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