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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 proclam'd 275
Me him (for it was shown him fo 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 rofe out of the laving stream,
Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit defcended on me like a dove,
And last 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 fhould live obfcure,
But openly begin, as best becomes
Th' authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by fome ftrong 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 fpake our Morning Star then in his rise,
And looking round on every fide beheld
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;
And he ftill on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things paft 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 fhady 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 tasted 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 ferpent 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 quest of some stray 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
Durft ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcafs, pin'd with hunger and with drouth. 325
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 honor'd fo, and call'd thee Son
Of God; I faw and heard, for we fometimes
Who dwell this wild, conftrain'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.
To whom the Son of God. Who brought me hither, Will bring me hence, no other guide I seek.
By miracle he may, reply'd the swain, What other way I fee not, for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst 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 feldom taste. 345
He ended, and the Son of God reply'd.
Think'ft thou fuch force in bread? is it not written
(For I difcern thee other than thou feem'ft)
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
Mofes was forty days, nor eat nor drank;
And forty days Elijah without food
Wander'd this barren wafte; the fame I now:
Why doft thou then suggest to me distrust,
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?
Whom thus answer'd th' Arch-Fiénd now undif-
'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,
Who leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt
Kept not my happy station, but was driven
With them from blifs to the bottomlefs deep,
Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd
By rigor unconniving, but that oft
Leaving my dolorous prison I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of earth,
Or range in th' air, nor from the Heav'n of Heav'ns
Hath he excluded my refort fometimes.
I came among the Sons of God, when he
up 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 demurring,
I undertook that office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering prophets glibb'd with lies
To his deftruction, as I had in charge,
For what he bids I do: though I have loft
Much luftre of my native brightness, lost
To be belov'd of God, I have not loft
To love, at least contemplate and admire
What I fee excellent in good, or fair,
Or virtuous, I fhould fo have loft all fenfe.
What can be then lefs in me than desire
To fee thee and approach thee, whom I know
Declar'd the Son of God, to hear attent
Thy wisdom, and behold thy Godlike deeds?
Men generally think me much a foe
To all mankind: why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or violence; by them
I lost not what I loft, rather by them
I gain'd what I have gain'd, and with them dwell
Copartner in these regions of the world,
If not difpofer; lend them oft my aid,
Oft my advice by prefages and figns,
And answers, oracles, portents and dreams,
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they fay excites me, thus to gain
Companions of my misery and woe.
At first it may be; but long fince with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof,
That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
Nor lightens ought each man's peculiar load.
Small confolation then, were man adjoin'd:
This wounds me moft (what can it lefs?) that man,
Man fall'n fhall be reftor'd, I never more.
To whom our Saviour fternly thus reply'd. Deservedly thou griev'ft, compos'd of lies From the beginning, and in lies wilt end; Who boast'st release from Hell, and leave to come Into the Heav'n of Heav'ns: thou com'ft indeed, 410