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Or work Redemption for mankind, whose fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head,
Yet neither thus dishearten’d or dismay’d,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold
The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come
Before Messiah and his way prepare.
I as all others to his Baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd
Me him (for it was shewn him so from Heav'n)
Me him whose Harbinger he was;

and first
Refusd on me his Baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
Bụt as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a Dove,
And last the fum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heav'n, pronounc'd me hiss
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone
He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure,
But openly begin, as best becomes

The

The Authority which I deriv'd from Heav'n.
And now by some strong motion I am led
Into this Wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet, perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.

So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise,
And looking round on every side beheld
A pathless Defart, dusk with horrid shades;
The

way he came not having mark’d, return
Was difficult, by humane steps untrod;
And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg’d in his breaft, as well might recommend
Such Solitude before choicest Society.
Full forty days he pass’d, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient Oak,
Or Cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in one Cave, is not reveald;
Nor tasted humane food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild Beasts: they at his fight grew mild,
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm’d, his walk

The

The fiery Serpent fled, and noxious Worm,
The Lion and fierce Tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in Rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd; the quest of some stray Ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather; which might serve
Against a Winters day when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from Field at Eve,
He saw approach, who first with curious eye
Perus'd him, then with words thus utter'd spake.

Sir, what ill chance has brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In Troop or Carayan, for single none
Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His Carcass, pind with hunger and with droughth.
I ask the rather, and the more admire,
For that to me thou seem'ft the man, whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the Ford
Of Jordan honour'd so, and callid thee Son
Of God; I saw and heard, for we sometimes
Who dwell this wilde, constrain'd by want, come
To Town or Village nigh (nighest is far)

[forth Where ought we hear, and curious are to hear, What happ'ns now; Fame also finds us out.

To

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To whom the Son of God. Who brought mehiWill bring me hence, no other Guide I seek. [ther |

By Miracle he may, reply'd the Swain, What other

way

I see not, for we here,
Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur'd
More than the Camel, and to drink
Men to much misery and hardship born
But if thou be the Son of God, Command
That out of these hard ftones be made thee Bread;
So shalt thou fave thy self and us relieve
With Food; whereof we wretched seldom taste.

He ended, and the Son of God reply'd.
Think’ft thou such force in Bread? is it not written
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st)
Man lives not by Bread only, but each Word
Proceeding from the mouth of God; who fed
Our Fathers here with Manna; in the Mount
Moses was forty days, nor cat nor drank,
And forty days Elijah without food
Wandred this barren waste, the fame I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?

Whom

Whom thus answer'd th’ Arch Fiend now undis'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,

[guis'd. Who leagu'd with millions more in ralh revolt Kept not my happy Station, but was driv'n With them from Bliss to the bottomless deep, Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd By rigour unconniving, but that ofc Leaving my dolorous Prison I enjoy Large Liberty to round this Globe of Earth, Or range in th’Air, nor from the Heay’n of Heav'ns Hath he excluded

my

resort sometimes.
I came among the Sons of God, when he
Gave

up
into
my

hands Uzzean Job
To prove him, and illustrate his high worth;
And when to all his Angels he propos'd
To draw the proud King Ahab into fraud
That he might fall in Ramoth, they demuring;
I undertook that Office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering Prophets glibb’d with lies
To his destruction, as I had in charge.
For what he bids I do; though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, loft
To be beloy'd of God, I have not loft
C

To

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