ePub 版




I who ere while the happy Garden sung,
By one Man's disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one Man's firm obedience fully try'd
Through all temptation, and the Tempter foild s
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls'd,
And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness.

Thou Spi'rit who ledst this glorious eremite
Into the desert, his victorious field,
Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence
By proof th’undoubted Son of God, inspire,
As thou art wont, my prompted song else mute,
And bear through highthor depth of Nature's bounds
With prosp'rous wing full summ'd, to tell of deeds
Above heroic, though in secret done,

15 And unrecorded left through many an age, Worthy to have not remain’d so long unsung.

Now had the great Proclamer, with a voice More awful than the sound of trumpet, cry'd Repentance, and Heav'n's kingdom nigh at hand To all baptis’d: to his great baptism flock'd With awe the regions round, and with them came

From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan, came as then obscure,
Unmark’d, unknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descry'd, divinely warn’d, and witness bore 26
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
To him his heav'nly office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd : on him baptis'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a dove

The Spi'rit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be last, and with the voice divine

35 Nigh thunder-struck, th' exalted Man, to whom Such high' attest was giv'n, a white survey'd With wonder, then with envy fraught and rage Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air To council summons all his mighty peers, 40 Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd, A gloomy consistory; and them amidst With looks 'aghast and sad he thus bespake :

O ancient Pow'rs of Air and this wide world, For much inore willingly I mention Air, 45 This our old conquest, than remember Hell, Our hated habitation; well ye know How many ages, as the years of men, This universe we have possess'd, and ruld In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth,

50 Since Adam and his facil consort Eve Lost Paradise deceiv'd by me, though since


With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve
Upon my head : long the decrees of Heav'n

Delay, for longest time to him is short ;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long threaten'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the head

60 Broken be not intended all our power To be infring’d, our freedom and our being, In this fair empire won of Earth and Air; For this ill news I bring, the woman's seed Destin'd to this, is late of woman born : His birth to our just fear gave no small cause, But his growth now to youth's flull Aower, displayAll virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve [ing Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear. Before him a great prophet, to proclame 70 His coming, is sent harbinger, who all Invites, and in the consecrated stream: Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them so Purified to receive him pure, or rather To do him honour as their king; all come, 75 And he himself among them was baptiz’d, Not thence to be more pure, but to receive' The testimony of Heav'n, that who he is Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw The prophet do him reverence, on him rising 80 Out of the water, Heav'n above the clouds Unfold her crystal doors, thence on his head

[ocr errors]

A perfect dove descend, whate'er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the Sov'ran voice I heard,
This is


Són belovod, in him am pleas'd. 85
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire.
He who obtains the monarchy of Heav'n,
And what will he not do to' advance his Son ?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the Deep; 90
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face.
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate, 95
But must with something sudden be oppos'd,
Not force, but well-couch'd fraud, well woven
Ere in the head of nations he appear (snares,
Their king, their leader, and supreme on Earth.
I, when no other durst, sole undertook
The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adam, and the exploit perforin'd
Successfully; a calmer voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found prosp'rous once
Induces best to hope of like success.

He ended, and his words impression left
Of much amazement to th' infernal crew,
Distracted and surpris’d with deep-dismay
At these sad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief :
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main enterprize

[ocr errors]

I 20

To him their great di&tator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march

From Hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,
Regents and potentates, and kings, yea gods
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.
So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles,
Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd,
This Man of Men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his reign on Earth so long enjoy'd : 125
But contrary unweeting he fulfillid
The purpos'd counsel pre-ordaind and fix'd
Of the Most High, who in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake:“

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold,' 130 Thou and alt angels conversant on Earth With man or men's affairs, how I begin To verify that solemn message late, On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure In Galilee, that she should bear a són

135 Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God; Then toldst her doubting how these things could be To her a virgin, that on her should come The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest O'er-shadow' her: this Man born and now upTo show him worthy of his birth divine [grown, And high prediction, henceforth I expose 142

« 上一頁繼續 »