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All righteous things : therefore, above my years, Which I believ'd was from above; but he
claim'd To such perfection, that, ere yet my age
Me him, (for it was shown him so from Heaven,)
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,
Heaven opened her eternal doors, from whence
Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounc'd me his, Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the Earth, • Me his beloved son, in whom alone Brute violence and proud tyrannic power, He was well pleas'd;' by which I knew the time Till truth were freed, and equity restor'd: Now full, that I no more should live obscure, Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first But openly begin, as best becomes, By winning words to conquer willing hearts, The authority which I derir'd from Heaven, And make persuasion do the work of fear; And now by some strong motion I am led At least to try, and teach the erring soul, Into this wilderness, to what intent Not wilfully misdoing, but unaware
I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know, Misled; the stubborn only to subdue. (ceiving, For what concerns my knowledge God reveals." These growing thoughts my mother soon per- So spake our Morning-star, then in his rise, By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd, And, looking round, on every side beheld And said to me apart, • High are thy thoughts, A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades; O son, but nourish them, and let them soar The way he came not having mark'd, return To what height sacred virtue and true worth Was difficult, by buman steps untrod; Can raise them, though above example high; And he still on was led, but with such thoughts By matchless deeds express thy matchless sire, Accompanied of things past and to come For know, thou art no son of mortal man; Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend Though men esteem thee low of parentage, Such solitude before choicest society. Thy father is the Eternal King who rules Full forty days he pass'd, whether on hill All Heaven and Earth, angels and sons of men; Sometimes, anon on shady vale, each night A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Under the covert of some ancient oak, Conceiv'd in me a virgin ; he foretold, [throne, Or cedar, to defend him from the dew, Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's Or harbourd in one cave, is not reveald; And of thy kingdom there should be no end. Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt At thy nativity, a glorious quire
Till those days ended ; hunger'd then at last Of angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung Among wild beasts: they at his sight grew mild, To shepherds, watching at their folds by night, Nor sleeping him nor waking harm’d; his walk And told them the Messiah now was born, The fiery serperit fed and noxious worm, Where they might see him, and to thee they The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof. came,
But 10w an aged man in rural weeds, Directed to the manger where thou lay'st, Following, as seem'd, the quest of some stray ewe, For in the inn was left no better room :
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serre A star, not seen before, in Heaven appearing, Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen, Guided the wise men thither from the east, To warm him wet return'a from field at ere, To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold; He saw approach, who first with curious eye By whose bright course led on they found the Perus’d him, then with words, thus utter'd spake. place,
“ Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to Affirming it thy star, new-graven in Heaven,
this place By which they knew the king of Israel born. So far from path or road of men, who pass Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn'd
In troop or caravar? for single none By vision, found thee in the temple, and spake, Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here Before the altar and the vested priest,
His carcase, pin'd with hunger and with drought. Like things of thee to all that present stood.'- I ask the rather, and the more admire, This having heard, straight I again revolv’d For that to me thou seem'st the Man, whom late The law and prophets, searching what was writ Our new baptizing prophet at the ford Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes (spake Of Jordan honour'd so, and call'd thee Son Known partly, and soon found, of whom they Of God : I saw and heard, for we sometimes I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie Who dwell this wild, constrain'd by want, come Through many a hard assay, even to the death,
forth Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,
To town or village nigh, (nighest is far,) Or work redemption for mankivd, whose sins Where aught we hear, and curious are to hear, Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head. What happens new; fame also finds us out.” Yet, neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd, To whom the Son of God. “Who brought The time prefix'd I waited; when bebold
me hither, The Baptist, (of whose birth I oft had heard, Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek.” Not knew by sight,) now corne, who was to “ By miracle he may,” replied the swain; Before Messiah, and his way prepare ! [come “What other way I see not; for we here 1, as all others, to his baptism came,
Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inord
Biore than the camel, and to drink go far, Man fall’n shall be restord, I never more."
To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied.
Into the Heayen of Heavens: thou com'st indeed “ Think'st thou such force in bread? Is it not As a poor miserable captive thrall written,
Comes to the place where he before had sat (For I discern thee other than thou seem'st) Among the prime in splendour, now depos'd,
Man lives not by bread only, but each word Ejected, emptied, gaz'd, unpitied, shunn'd,
Rather inflames thy torment: representing Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now: Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable, Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust, So never more in Hell than when in Heaven. Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art ;" But thou art serviceable to Heaven's King. Whom thus answer'd the arch-fiend, now Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear undisguis'd.
Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites ? br Tis true I am that Spirit unfortunate, What but thy malice mov'd thee to misdcem Whò, leagu’d with millions more in rash revolt, Of righteous Job, then cruelly to affict him Kept not my happy station, but was driven With all inflictions? but his patience won. With them from bliss to the bottomless deep, The other service was thy chosen task, Yet to that hideous place not so confin’d To be a liar in four hundred mouths; By rigour unconniving, but that oft,
For lying is thy sustenance, thy fond. * Leaving my dolorous prison, I enjoy
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all oracles Large liberty to round this globe of earth, By thee are given, and what confess'd more true Or rauge in the air; nor from the Heaven of Among the nations ? that hath been thy craft, Heavens
By mixing somewhat true to rent more lies. Hath he excluded my resort sometimes. But what have been thy answers, what but I came among the sons of God, when he
dark, Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job
Ambiguous, and with double sense deluding, To prove him, and illustrate his high worth ; Which they who ask'd have seldom understood, And, when to all his angels he propos'd
And not well understood as good not known? To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud
Who ever by consulting at thy shrine
To fly or follow what concernd him most,
For God hath justly given the nations up
Among them to declare his providence (truth, To love, at least contemplate and admire, To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy What I see excellent in good, or fair,
But from him, or his angels president Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense : In every province, who, themselves disdaining What can then be less in me than desire
To ; nproach thy temples, give thee in command To see thee and approach thee, whom I know What, to the smallest tittle, thou shalt say Declar'd the Son of God, to hear attent
To thy adorers? Thou, with trembling fear, Thy wisdom, and behold thy God-like deeds? Or like a fawning parasite, obey'st : Men generally think me much a foe
Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth foretold. To all mankind : why should I ? they to me But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd; Never did wrong or violence; by them
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse I lost not what I lost, rather by them [dwell, The Gentiles; henceforth oracles are ceas'd, I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them And thou no more with pomp and sacrifice Copartner in these regions of the world,
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos, or elsewhere; It not disposer; lend them oft my aid,
At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute. Oft my advice presages and signs,
God hath now sent his living oracle And answers, oracles, portents aad dreams, Into the world to teach his final will, Whereby they may direct their future life. And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell Eavy they say excites me, thus to gain
In pious hearts, an inward oracle Companions of my misery and woe.
To all truth requisite for mon to know.” At tirot it may be; but, long since with woe So spake our Saviour, but the subtle fi nd, Nearer acquainted, now I feel, by proof,
Though iniy stung with anger and disdai , That fellowship in pain divides not smart, Dissembled, and tnis answer smooth return'l. Nor lighteos aught each man's peculiar load. "Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke, Small consolation then, were man adjoin'd : And urg'd me with ward doings, which not will This wounds nie inost, (uhat can it less ?) that | But misery hath wrested from me.
Easily canst thou find one miserable,
And not enforc'd oft-times to part from truth, wilderness, where others had been miracu. If it may stand him more in stead to lie,
lously fed, tempts him with a sumptuvus banSay and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure ?
quet of the most luxurious kind. This he reBut thou art plac'd above me, thou art Lord; jects, and the banquet vanishes.—Satan, finding From thee I can, and must submiss, endure, our Lord not to be assailed on the ground of Check or reproof, and glad to 'scape so quit. appetite, tempts him again by offering him Hard are the ways of Truth, and rough to walk, riches, as the means of acquiring power : this Smooth on the tongue discours'd, pleasing to the Jesus also rejects, producing many instances And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song ; [ear, of great actions performed by persons under What wonder then if I delight to hear (mire virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger Her dictates from thy mouth ? Most men ad- of riches, and the cares and pains inseparable Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me from power and greatness. To hear thee when I come, (since no man comes,) And talk at least, though I despair to attain. Mean while the new-baptiz'd, who yet re Thy father, who is holy, wise, and pure,
main'd Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen To tread his sacred courts, and minister Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd About his altar, handling holy things,
Jesus Messiah, Son of God declar'd, Praying or vowing; and vouchsaf'd his voice And on that high authority had believ'd, To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd; I Inspir'd: disdain not such access to me."
To whom our Saviour, with unalter'd brow: Andrew and Simon, famous after known, “ Thy coming bither, though I know thy With others, though in Holy Writ not nam'd, scope,
Now missing him, their joy so lately found, I bid not, or forbid; do as thou find'st (So lately found, and so abruptly gone,) Permission from above; thou canst not more.” Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
He added not; aud Satan, bowing low And, as the days increas'd, increas'd their doubt His gray dissimulation, disappear'd
Sometimes they thought he might be only shown, Into thin air diffus'd: for now began
And for a time caught up to God, as once Nigát with her sullen wings to double-shade Moses was in the mount and missing long, The desert ; fowls in their clay nests were And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels couch'd;
Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come: And now wild beasts came forth the woods to Therefore, as those young prophets thon with roam.
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these (care
Machærus, and each town or city wall'd
Or in Peræa ; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek, (play, BOOK II.
Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering
Plain fishermen, (no greater men them call,) THE ARGUMENT.
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreath'd. The disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long ab- “ Alas, from what high hope to what relapse
sence, reason amongst themselves concerning Unlook'd for are we fall’n ! our eyes beheld it. Mary also gives vent to her maternal Messiah certainly now come, so long anxiety: in the expression of wbich she re
Expected of our fathers; we have heard capitulates many circumstances respecting the His words, his wisdomn full of grace and truths birib and early life of her son.—Satan again Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, meets his infernal council, reports the bad The kingdom shall to Israel be restord; success of his first temptation of our blessed Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd Lord, and calls upon them for counsel and Into perplexity and new amaze : assistance. Belial proposes the tempting of For whither is he gone, what accident Jesus with wonien. Satan rebukes Belial for Hath rapt him from v8? will he now retire his dissoluteness, charging on bim all the After appearance, and again prolong profligacy of that kind ascribed by the poets Our expectation? God of Israel, tot he heathen gods, and rejects his proposal | Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come ; as in no respect likely to succeed. Satan then | Behold the kings of the Earth, how they oppress suggests other modes of temptation, particu- Thy chosen; to what height their power unjust Jarly proposing to avail himself of the circum- They have exalted, and behind them cast stance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking
All fear of thee ; arise, and vindicate a band of chosen spirits with him, returns Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke, to resume bis enterprise. - Jesus hungers in But let us wait; thus far he hath perform'd, the desert.-Night comes on; the manner in Sent his anointed, and to us reveal'd him, which our Saviour passes the night is des-By his great prophet, pointerl at and shown scribed.-Morning advances.-- Satan againap- In public, and with him we have convers'd ; pears to Jesus, and, after expressing wonder Lei us be glad of this, and all our fears Ihat he should be so entirely neglected in the Lay on 'iis providence; he will not fail,
Nor will withdraw bim now, nor will recall,
“ Princes, Heaven's ancient sóns, ethereal Muck us with his blest sight, then snatch him
thrones ; hence ;
Demonian spirits now, from the element Soon we shall see our hope, our joy, return." Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call'd Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope re
Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats To find whom at the first they found unsought: Without new trouble,) such an enemy But, to his mother Mary, when she saw
Is risen to invade us, who no less Others return'd from baptism, not her son,
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell; Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none, (pure, I, as I undertook, and with the vote Within her breast though calm, her breast though Consenting in full frequence was impower'd, Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd Have found him, view'd him, tasted him ; but Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus Par other labour to be undergone [find clad.
Than when I dealt with Adam, first of men, “O, what avails me now that honour high Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell, To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute,
However to this man inferiour far; * Hail highly favour'd among women blest!' If he be man by mother's side, at least While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd,
With more than human gifts from Heaven adorn'd, And fears as eminent, above the lot
Perfections absolute, graces divine, Of other women, by the birth I bore;
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds. In such a season born, when scarce a shed Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me
Of my success with Eve in Paradise From the bleak air: a stable was our warmth, Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly,
Of like succeeding here : I summon all Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king Rather to be in readiness, with hand Were dead, who sought his life, and missing filla Or counsel to assist ; lest I, who erst With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem ; Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.” From Egypt home return'd, in Nazareth
So spake the old serpent, doubting; and from Hath been our dwelling many years ; his life With clamour was assured their utmost aid (all Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
At his command: when from amidst them rose Little suspicious to any king ; but now
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell, Full grown to man, acknowledg'd, as I hear, The sensuallest, and, after Asmodai, By John the Baptist, and in public shown, The fleshliest incubus ; and thus advis'd. Son own'd from Heaven by his Father's voice, “ Set women in his eye, and in his walk, I look'd for some great change ; lo honour? no, Among daughters of men the fairest found: But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold, Many are in each region passing fair That to the fall and rising he should be
As the noon sky; more like to goddesses Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet, Spoken against, that through my very soul Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues A sword shall pierce: this is my favour'd lot, Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild My exaltation to afflictions high ;
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible to approach, Amiced I may be, it seems, and blest ;
Skill'd to retire, and, in retiring, draw I will not argue that, nor will repine,
Hearts after them, tangled in amorous nets. But where delays he now? some great intent Such object hath the power to soften and tame Conceals him : when twelve years he scarce had Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow, I lost him, but so found, as well I saw [seen, Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, He could not lose himself, but went about Draw out with credulous desire, and lead His father's business; what he meant I mus'd, At will the manliest, resolutest breast, Since understand; much more bis absence now As the magnetic hardest iron draws. Thus long to some great purpose he obscures. Women, when nothing else, beguild the heart But I to wait with patience am inur'd ;
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build, My heart hath been a store-house long of things And made him bow, to the gods of his wives." And sayings laid up, portending strange events." To whom quick answer Satan thus return’d.
Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind “ Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
All others by thyself; because of old Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts Thou thyself doat'dst on womankind, admiring Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling: Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace, The while her son, tracing the desert wild, None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys. Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew, Into himself descended, and at once
False titled sons of God, roaming the Earth, All his great work to come before him set; Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, How to begin, how to accomplish best
And coupled with them, and begot a race, His end of being on Earth, and mission high: Have we not seen, or by relation heard, For Satan, with sly preface to return,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone In wood or grove, by mossy fountain side, Up to the middle region of thick air,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay Where all his potentates in council sat;
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene, There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy, Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, Solicitous and blank, he thus began.
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd, Without this body's wasting, I content me, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm; Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed Delight not all; among the sons of men,
Me hungering more to do my Father's will." How many have with a smile made small ac- It was the hour of night, when thus the Son Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd [count Commun’d in silent walk, then laid him down All her assaults, on worthier things intent! Under the hospitable covert nigh Remember that Pellean conqueror,
Of trees thick interwoven ; there he slept, A youth, how all the beauties of the East And dream'd, as appetite is wont to dream, He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd; Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet: How be, surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd,
Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood, In bis prime youth, the fair Iberian maid. And saw the ravens with their horny beaks For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Food to Elijah bringing, even and morn, Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what Higher design than to enjoy his state;
they brought: Thence to the bait of women lay exposid: He saw the prophet also, how he fled But he, whom we attempt, is wiser far
Into the desert, and how there he slept
Under a juniper; then how awak'd
And eat the second time after repose,
Left his ground-nest, high towering to descry 'Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell; The Morn's approach, and greet her with his How would one look from his majestic brow,
song : Seated as on the top of Virtue's bill,
As lightly from his grassy couch up rose Discountenance her despis'd, and put to rout Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream ; All her array; her female pride deject,
Fasting he went to sleep, and fasting.wak'd.
From whose high top to keu the prospect round,
But cottage, herd, or sheep-cote, none he saw; At every sudilen slighting quite abas h’d. Ouly in a bottom saw a pleasant gruve, Therefore with manlier objects we must try With chant of tuneful birds resounding loud: Hlis constancy; with such as have more show Thither he bent his way, determin'd there Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise, To rest at noon, and enter'd soon the shade Rocks, whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd; High-roof'd, and walks beneath, and alleys Or that which only seems to satisfy
brown, Lawful desires of nature, not beyond;
That open'd in the midst a woody scene; And now I know be hungers, where no food Nature's own work it seem'd (Nature taught Art) 13 to be found, in the wide wilderness :
And, to a superstitious eye, the haunt The rest commit to me; I shall let pass Of wood-gods and wood-nymphs : he viewid it No advantage, and his strength as oft assay."
When suddenly a man before bim stood; (round: He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud ac
Not rustic as before, but seemlier clad, claim;
As one in city, or court, or palace bred, Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band And with fair speech these words to him ad: Of spirits, likest to himself in guile,
dress'd. To be at hand, and at his beck appear,
“ With granted leave officious I return, If cause were to unfold some active scene
But much more wonder that the Son of God Of various persons, each to know his part:
In this wild solitude so long should bide,
As story tells, have trod this wilderness;
By a providing angel; all the race
Native of Thebez, wandering here was fed
Of thee these forty days none hath regard,
To whom thus Jesus. “ What conclud'st Nature hath neer of what she asks; yet God
thou hence ? Can satisfy that need some other way,
They all had need; I, as thou seest, have none." Though hunger still remain: so it remain
“ How hast thou hunger then?” Satar replied.