John Milton

Here you will find the Long Poem Paradise Lost: Book 12 of poet John Milton

Paradise Lost: Book 12

As one who in his journey bates at noon, 
Though bent on speed; so here the Arch-Angel paused 
Betwixt the world destroyed and world restored, 
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose; 
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes. 
Thus thou hast seen one world begin, and end; 
And Man, as from a second stock, proceed. 
Much thou hast yet to see; but I perceive 
Thy mortal sight to fail; objects divine 
Must needs impair and weary human sense: 
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 judgement past remains 
Fresh in their minds, fearing the Deity, 
With some regard to what is just and right 
Shall lead their lives, and multiply apace; 
Labouring the soil, and reaping plenteous crop, 
Corn, wine, and oil; and, from the herd or flock, 
Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid, 
With large wine-offerings poured, and sacred feast, 
Shall spend their days in joy unblamed; and dwell 
Long time in peace, by families and tribes, 
Under paternal rule: till one shall rise 
Of proud ambitious heart; who, not content 
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) 
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 Heaven, 
Or from Heaven, claiming second sovranty; 
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 towards the west, shall find 
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 tower, whose top may reach to Heaven; 
And get themselves a name; lest, far dispersed 
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, 
Comes down to see their city, ere the tower 
Obstruct Heaven-towers, and in derision sets 
Upon their tongues a various spirit, 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 mocked they storm: great laughter was in Heaven, 
And looking down, to see the hubbub strange, 
And hear the din: Thus was the building left 
Ridiculous, and the work Confusion named. 
Whereto thus Adam, fatherly displeased. 
O execrable son! so to aspire 
Above his brethren; to himself assuming 
Authority usurped, 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 
Reserving, human left from human free. 
But this usurper his encroachment proud 
Stays not on Man; to God his tower intends 
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 abhorrest 
That son, who on the quiet state of men 
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 
Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being: 
Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed, 
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 judgement just, 
Subjects him from without to violent lords; 
Who oft as undeservedly enthrall 
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 annexed, 
Deprives them of their outward liberty; 
Their inward lost: Witness the irreverent son 
Of him who built the ark; who, for the shame 
Done to his father, heard this heavy curse, 
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 the