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To which my Spi'rit aspir'd; victorious deeds 215
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while
To rescue Ifrael from the Roman yoke,
Then to fubdue and quell o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor’d:
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring foul
Not wilfully mif-doing, but unware
Mifled; the ftubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother foon perceiving
By words at times cast forth inly rejoic'd,
And faid to me apart, High are thy thoughts



O Son, but nourish them and let them foar 230
To what highth facred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no fon of mortal man;
Though men efteem thee low of parentage,
Thy Father is th' eternal King who rules
All Heav'n and Earth, Angels and Sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold


Thou should'st be great and fit on David's throne, And of thy Kingdom there fhould be no end. 241 At thy nativity a glorious quire



Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem fung
To fhepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born
Where they might fee him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'ft,
For in the inn was left no better room:
A ftar, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing
Guided the wife men thither from the east,
To honor thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy ftar new grav'n in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Ifrael born.
Juft Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn'd
By vision, found thee in the temple', and spake
Before the altar and the vested priest,


Like things of thee to all that present stood.
This having heard, strait I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ 260
Concerning the Meffiah, to our scribes


Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
Or work redemption for mankind, whose fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus difhearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold
The Baptift (of whose birth I oft had heard, 270


Not knew by fight) now come, who was to come
Before Meffiah and his way prepare.

I as all others to his baptifm came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Strait knew me, and with loudeft voice proclaim'd 275
Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven)
Me him whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,

As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit defcended on me like a dove,
And laft the fum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heav'n, pronounc'd me his,
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 obfcure,
But openly begin, as best becomes

Th' authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by fome 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 fide beheld
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid fhades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;



And he still on was led, but with fuch thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such folitude 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 reveal'd;
Nor tafted human food, nor hunger felt

Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild beafts: they at his fight grew mild, 310
Nor fleeping him nor waking harm'd, his walk
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 feem'd, the queft of fomeftray ewe, 315
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at eve,
He faw approach, who first with curious eye

Perus'd him, then with words thus utter'd spake. 320

Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place

So far from path or road of men, who pass

In troop or caravan? for fingle none

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Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcass, pin'd with hunger and with drouth. 325
I afk the rather, and the more admire,


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For that to me thou seem'ft the man, whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford
Of Jordan honor'd fo, and call'd thee Son

Of God; I faw and heard, for we fometimes 330
Whodwell this wild, contrain'd by want, come forth
To town or village nigh (nighest is far)
Where ought we hear, and curious are to hear,
What happens new; fame also finds us out.

Towhom the Son of God. Who brought me hither,
Will bring me hence, no other guide I feek. 336
By miracle he may, reply'd the swain,
What other way I fee not, for we here
Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirft inur'd
More than the camel, and to drink go far,
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 fhalt thou fave thyself and us relieve
With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste. 345

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 350 Our fathers here with Manna? in the mount Mofes was forty days, nor eat nor drank; And forty days Elijah without food Wander'd this barren wafte; the fame I now:




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