"The Brazen Throat Of War"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 179

Context: In Books XI and XII of Paradise Lost Adam is given an apocalypse, or vision. Basically the vision is a résumé of Biblical history from Adam and Eve's transgression and expulsion from Paradise to the beginnings of Christianity. Part of this history is seen by Adam on a plain before him; the rest is told in a narrative by Michael, the archangel. Included in what Michael tells is the story of Christ's coming to atone for man's sins. Adam also beholds in the vision the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of men, certain giants as described in Genesis 6: 1-8, who bring war to the earth. As this part of the vision ends, Adam sees the license of mankind that precedes the Flood and the story of Noah:

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He looked, and saw the face of things quite changed,
The brazen throat of war had ceased to roar,
All now was turned to jollity and game,
To luxury and riot, feast and dance,
Marrying or prostituting, as befell,
Rape or adultery, where passing fair
Allured them.

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