John Milton-Paradise Lost / Book XII

Milton, John "Paradise Lost" Book XII
1 As one who in his journey bates at noon,
2 Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused
3 Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored,
4 If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
5 Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.
6 Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end;
7 And Man, as from a second stock, proceed.
8 Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive
9 Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine
10 Must needs impair and weary human sense:
11 Henceforth what is to come I will relate;
12 Thou therefore give due audience, and attend.
13 This second source of Men, while yet but few,
14 And while the dread of judgement past remains
15 Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity
16 With some regard to what is just and right
17 Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace;
18 Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop,
19 Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock,
20 Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid,
21 With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast,
22 Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell
23 Long time in peace, by families and tribes,
24 Under paternal rule: till one shall rise
25 Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content
26 With fair equality, fraternal state,
27 Will arrogate dominion undeserved
28 Over his brethren, and quite dispossess
29 Concord and law of nature from the earth;
30 Hunting (and men not beasts shall be his game)
31 With war, and hostile snare, such as refuse
32 Subjection to his empire tyrannous:
33 A mighty hunter thence he shall be styled
34 Before the Lord; as in despite of Heaven,
35 Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty;
36 And from rebellion shall derive his name,
37 Though of rebellion others he accuse.
38 He with a crew, whom like ambition joins
39 With him or under him to tyrannize,
40 Marching from Eden towards the west, shall find
41 The plain, wherein a black bituminous gurge
42 Boils out from under ground, the mouth of Hell:
43 Of brick, and of that stuff, they cast to build
44 A city and tower, whose top may reach to Heaven;
45 And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed
46 In foreign lands, their memory be lost;
47 Regardless whether good or evil fame.
48 But God, who oft descends to visit men
49 Unseen, and through their habitations walks
50 To mark their doings, them beholding soon,
51 Comes down to see their city, ere the tower
52 Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets
53 Upon their tongues a various spirit, to rase
54 Quite out their native language; and, instead,
55 To sow a jangling noise of words unknown:
56 Forthwith a hideous gabble rises loud,
57 Among the builders; each to other calls
58 Not understood; till hoarse, and all in rage,
59 As mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven,
60 And looking down, to see the hubbub strange,
61 And hear the din: Thus was the building left
62 Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named.
63 Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased.
64 O execrable son! so to aspire
65 Above his brethren; to himself assuming
66 Authority usurped, from God not given:
67 He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
68 Dominion absolute; that right we hold
69 By his donation; but man over men
70 He made not lord; such title to himself
71 Reserving, human left from human free.
72 But this usurper his encroachment proud
73 Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends
74 Siege and defiance: Wretched man!what food
75 Will he convey up thither, to sustain
76 Himself and his rash army; where thin air
77 Above the clouds will pine his entrails gross,
78 And famish him of breath, if not of bread?
79 To whom thus Michael. Justly thou abhorrest
80 That son, who on the quiet state of men
81 Such trouble brought, affecting to subdue
82 Rational liberty; yet know withal,
83 Since thy original lapse, true liberty
84 Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
85 Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being:
86 Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
87 Immediately inordinate desires,
88 And upstart passions, catch the government
89 From reason; and to servitude reduce
90 Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits
91 Within himself unworthy powers to reign
92 Over free reason, God, in judgement just,
93 Subjects him from without to violent lords;
94 Who oft as undeservedly enthrall
95 His outward freedom: Tyranny must be;
96 Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
97 Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
98 From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
99 But justice, and some fatal curse annexed,
100 Deprives them of their outward liberty;
101 Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son
102 Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame
103 Done to his father, heard this heavy curse,
104 Servant of servants, on his vicious race.
105 Thus will this latter, as the former world,
106 Still tend from bad to worse; till God at last,
107 Wearied with their iniquities, withdraw
108 His presence from among them, and avert
109 His holy eyes; resolving from thenceforth
110 To leave them to their own polluted ways;
111 And one peculiar nation to select
112 From all the rest, of whom to be invoked,
113 A nation from one faithful man to spring:
114 Him on this side Euphrates yet residing,
115 Bred up in idol-worship: O, that men
116 (Canst thou believe?) should be so stupid grown,
117 While yet the patriarch lived, who 'scaped the flood,
118 As to forsake the living God, and fall
119 To worship their own work in wood and stone
120 For Gods! Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes

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