Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
Noah Thretning God’s Vengeance vpon the World
XIX. Michael Drayton
A HUNDRED yeares the arke in building was,
So long the time ere he could bring to passe
This worke intended: all which time iust Noy
Cry’d that th’ Almighty would the world destroy.
And as this good man vsed many a day        5
To walke abroad his building to survay,
These cruell gyants comming in to see,
(In their thoughts wond’ring what this worke should be)
He with erected hands to them doth cry:—
“Either repent ye, or ye all must die;        10
Your blasphemies, your beastlinesse, your wrongs,
Are heard to heauen, and with a thousand tongues
Showt in the eares of the Almighty Lord,
So that your sinnes no leasure him affoord
To think on mercy; they so thickly throng,        15
That when he would your punishment prolong,
Their horrour hales him on, that from remorce
In his own nature you doe him inforce,
Nay, wrest plagues from him vpon human kinde;
Who else to mercy wholly is inclinde.        20
From Seth, which God to Eva gave in lew
Of her sonne Abel, whom his brother slue,
That cursed Cain—how hath th’ Almighty blest
The seed of Adam, though he so transgrest,
In Enos, by whose godlinesse men came        25
At first to call on th’ Almightie’s name,
And Enoch, whose integritie was such,
In whom the Lord delighted was, so much
As in his yeeres he suffered no decay,
But God to heauen tooke bodyly away;        30
With long life blessing all that goodly stem,
From the first man downe to Mathusalem.
Now from the loynes of Lamech sendeth me
(Vnworthy his ambassadour to be)
To tell ye yet, if ye at last repent,        35
He will lay by his wrathfull punishment;
That God, who was so mercifull before
To our forefathers, likewise hath in store
Mercy for vs, their nephues, if we fall
With teares before him; and he will recall        40
His wrath sent out already; therefore flye
To him for mercy: yet the threat’ning skie
Pauses, ere it the deluge downe will poure—
For euery teare you shed he ’ll stop a shower.
Yet of th’ Almighty mercy you may winne,        45
He’ll leaue to punish if you leaue to sinne.
That God eternall which old Adam cast
Out of the earthly heauen, where he had plac’t
That first-made man, for his forbidden deed,
From thence for euer banishing his seed,        50
For vs, his sinfull children, doth provide,
And with abundance hath vs still supply’d:
And can his blessings who respects you thus
Make you most wicked, most rebellious?
Still is your stubborne obstinacy such?        55
Haue ye no mercy, and your God so much?
Your God, said I? O wherefore said I so?
Your words deny him, and your works say ‘No.’
O see, the day doth but too fast approach,
Wherein heauen’s Maker means to set abroach        60
That world of water, which shall ouerflow
Those mighty mountaines whereon now you goe.
The dropsied clouds, see, your destruction threat;
The sunne and moone both in their course are set
To warre by water, and doe all they can        65
To bring destruction vpon sinfull man;
And euery thing shall suffer for your sake;
For the whole earth shall be but one whole lake.
Oh, cry for mercy, leaue your wicked wayes,
And God from time shall separate those dayes        70
Of vengeance coming, and he shall disperse
These clouds now threat’ning the whole vniverse,
And saue the world which else he will destroy.”—
But this good man, this terror-preaching Noy,
The beares and tigers might haue taught as well:        75
They laught to heare this godly man to tell
That God would drowne the world: they thought him mad,
For their Great Maker they forgotten had.

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