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Their city, his temple, and his holy ark,
With all his sacred things, a scorn and prey
To that proud city, whose high walls thou saw'st
Left in confusion; Babylon thence call'd.
There in captivity he lets them dwell
The space of seventy years; then brings them back,
Remembering mercy, and his covenant sworn
fo David, stablish'd as the days of Heaven.
Return'd from Babylon by leave of kings
Their lords, whom God dispos'd, the house of God
They first re-edify; and for a while

In mean estate live moderate; till grown
In wealth and multitude, factious they grow:
But first among the priests dissension springs,
Men who attend the altar, and should most
Endeavor peace: their strife pollution brings
Upon the temple itself: at last they seize
The sceptre, and regard not David's sons;
Then lose it to a stranger, that the true
Anointed king Messiah might be born
Barr'd of his right; yet at his birth a star,
Unseen before in Heaven, proclaims him come ;
And guides the eastern sages, who inquire
His place, to offer incense, myrrh, and gold:
His place of birth a solemn angel tells
To simple shepherds, keeping watch by night;
They gladly thither haste, and by a quire
Of squadron'd angels hear his carol sung.
A virgin is his mother, but his sire

The power of the Most High: he shall ascend
The throne hereditary, and bound his reign
With Earth's wide bounds, his glory with the Hea-
vens."

He ceas'd, discerning Adam with such joy Surcharg'd, as had like grief been dew'd in tears, Without the vent of words; which these he breath'd. "O prophet of glad tidings, finisher Of utmost hope! now clear I understand What oft my steadiest thoughts have search'd in vain; Why our great Expectation should be call'd The seed of woman: virgin mother, hail, High in the love of Heaven; yet from my loins Thou shalt proceed, and from thy womb the Son Of God Most High; so God with man unites. Needs must the serpent now his capital bruise Expect with mortal pain: say where and when Their fight, what stroke shall bruise the victor's heel."

To whom thus Michael. "Dream not of their fight, As of a duel, or the local wounds Of head or heel: not therefore joins the Son Manhood to godhead, with more strength to foil Thy enemy; nor so is overcome Satan, whose fall from Heaven, a deadlier bruise, Disabled, not to give thee thy death's wound : Which he, who comes thy Savior, shall recure, Not by destroying Satan, but his works In thee, and in thy seed: nor can this be But by fulfilling that which thou didst want, Obedience to the law of God, impos'd On penalty of death, and suffering death; The penalty to thy transgression due, And due to theirs which out of thine will grow : So only can high Justice rest appaid. The law of God exact he shall fulfil Both by obedience and by love, though love Alone fulfil the law; thy punishment He shall endure, by coming in the flesh To a reproachful life, and cursed death; Proclaiming life to all who shall believe

In his redemption; and that his obedience,
Imputed, becomes their's by faith; his merits
To save them, not their own, though legal, works.
For this he shall live hated, be blasphem'd,
Seiz'd on by force, judg'd, and to death condemn'd
A shameful and accurs'd, nail'd to the cross
By his own nation; slain for bringing life :
But to the cross he nails thy enemies,
The law that is against thee, and the sins
Of all mankind with him there crucified,
Never to hurt them more who rightly trust
In this his satisfaction: so he dies,
But soon revives; Death over him no power
Shall long usurp: ere the third dawning light
Return, the stars of morn shall see him rise
Out of his grave, fresh as the dawning light,
Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems,
His death for man, as many as offer'd life
Neglect not, and the benefit embrace

By faith not void of works: this godlike act
Annuls thy doom, the death thou shouldst have died,
In sin for ever lost from life; this act

Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength,
Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms;
And fix far deeper in his head their stings
Than temporal death shall bruise the victor's heel,
Or theirs whom he redeems; a death, like sleep,
A gentle wafting to immortal life.
Nor after resurrection shall he stay
Longer on Earth, than certain times to appear
To his disciples, men who in his life
Still follow'd him; to them shall leave in charge
To teach all nations what of him they learn'd
And his salvation; them who shall believe
Baptizing in the profluent stream, the sign
Of washing them from guilt of sin to life
Pure, and in mind prepar'd, if so befall,
For death, like that which the Redeemer died.
All nations they shall teach; for, from that day,
Not only to the sons of Abraham's loins
Salvation shall be preach'd, but to the sons
Of Abraham's faith wherever through the world;
So in his seed all nations shall be blest.

Then to the Heaven of Heavens he shall ascend
With victory triumphing through the air
Over his foes and thine; there shall surprise
The serpent, prince of air, and drag in chains
Through all his realm, and there confounded leave;
Then enter into glory, and resume
His seat at God's right hand, exalted high
Above all names in Heaven; and thence shall come,
When this world's dissolution shall be ripe,
With glory and power to judge both quick and dead;
To judge the unfaithful dead, but to reward
His faithful, and receive them into bliss,
Whether in Heaven or Earth; for then the Earth
Shall all be Paradise, far happier place
Than this of Eden, and far happier days."

So spake the archangel Michaël; then paus'd,
As at the world's great period; and our sire,
Replete with joy and wonder, thus replied.

"O Goodness infinite! Goodness immense! That all this good of evil shall produce, And evil turn to good; more wonderful Than that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! Full of doubt I stand, Whether I should repent me now of sin By me done, and occasion'd; or rejoice Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring

To God more glory, more good-will to men
From God, and over wrath grace shall abound.
But say, if our Deliverer up to Heaven
Must reascend, what will betide the few
His faithful, left among the unfaithful herd,
The enemies of truth? Who then shall guide
His people, who defend? Will they not deal
Worse with his followers than with him they dealt ?"
"Be sure they will," said the angel; "but from
Heaven

Of spirit and truth; the rest, far greater part,
Will deem in outward rites and specious forms
Religion satisfied; Truth shall retire
Bestuck with slanderous darts, and works of faith
Rarely be found: so shall the world go on,
To good malignant, to bad men benign;
Under her own weight groaning; till the day
Appear of respiration to the just,
And vengeance to the wicked, at return
Of him so lately promis'd to thy aid,

The woman's Seed; obscurely then foretold,
Now amplier known thy Savior and thy Lord;
Last, in the clouds, from Heaven to be reveal'd

In glory of the Father, to dissolve
Satan with his perverted world; then raise
From the conflagrant mass, purg'd and refin'd,
New Heavens, new Earth, ages of endless date,
Founded in righteousness, and peace, and love;
To bring forth fruits, joy, and eternal bliss."

He ended; and thus Adam last replied.
"How soon hath thy prediction, seer blest,
Measur'd this transient world, the race of time,
Till time stand fix'd! Beyond is all abyss,
Eternity, whose end no eye can reach.
Greatly instructed I shall hence depart;
Greatly in peace of thought; and have my fill
Of knowledge what this vessel can contain;
Beyond which was my folly to aspire.
Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,
And love with fear the only God; to walk
As in his presence; ever to observe
His providence; and on him sole depend,
Merciful over all his works, with good
Still overcoming evil, and by small
Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak
Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise

He to his own a Comforter will send,
The promise of the Father, who shall dwell
His Spirit within them; and the law of faith,
Working through love, upon their hearts shall write,
To guide them in all truth: and also arm
With spiritual armor, able to resist
Satan's assaults, and quench his fiery darts;
What man can do against them, not afraid,
Though to the death; against such cruelties
With inward consolations recompens'd,
And oft supported so as shall amaze
Their proudest persecutors; for the Spirit,
Pour'd first on his Apostles, whom he sends
To evangelize the nations, then on all
Baptiz'd, shall them with wondrous gifts endue
To speak all tongues, and do all miracles,
As did their Lord before them. Thus they win
Great numbers of each nation to receive
With joy the tidings brought from Heaven: at length
Their ministry perform'd, and race well run,
Their doctrine and their story written left,
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers, grievous wolves,
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heaven
To their own vile advantages shall turn
Of lucre and ambition; and the truth
With superstitions and traditions taint,
Left only in those written records pure,
Though not but by the Spirit understood.
Then shall they seek to avail themselves of names, Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loth

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Places, and titles, and with these to join
Secular power; though feigning still to act
By spiritual, to themselves appropriating
The Spirit of God, promis'd alike, and given
To all believers; and, from that pretence,
Spiritual laws by carnal power shall force
On every conscience; laws which none shall
Left them enroll'd, or what the spirit within
Shall on the heart engrave. What will they then
But force the Spirit of grace itself, and bind
His consort Liberty? what, but unbuild
His living temples, built by faith to stand,
Their own faith, not another's? for, on Earth,
Who against faith and conscience can be heard
Infallible? yet many will presume:
Whence heavy persecution shall arise
On all, who in the worship persevere

To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A Paradise within thee, happier far.-
Let us descend now therefore from this top
Of speculation; for the hour precise
Exacts our parting hence; and see! the guards,
By me encamp'd on yonder hill, expect
findTheir motion; at whose front a flaming sword,
In signal of remove, waves fiercely round:
We may no longer stay: go, waken Eve;
Her also I with gentle dreams have calm'd
Portending good, and all her spirits compos'd
To meek submission: thou, at season fit,
Let her with thee partake what thou hast heard;
Chiefly, what may concern her faith to know,
The great deliverance by her seed to come
(For by the woman's seed) on all mankind:
That ye may live, which will be many days,
Both in one faith unanimous, though sad,
With cause for evils past; yet much more cheer'd
With meditation on the happy end."

He ended, and they both descend the hill;
Descended, Adam to the bower, where Eve
Lay sleeping, ran before: but found her wak'd;
And thus with words not sad she him receiv'd.
"Whence thou return'st, and whither went'st, 1
know;

For God is also in sleep; and dreams advise,
Which he hath sent propitious, some great good
Presaging, since with sorrow and heart's distress
Wearied I fell asleep: but now lead on;

By simply meek: that suffering for truth's sake
Is fortitude to highest victory,

And, to the faithful, death, the gate of life;
Taught this by his example, whom I now
Acknowledge my Redeemer ever blest."

To whom thus also the angel last replied.

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This having learn'd, thou hast attain'd the sum
Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the stars
Thou knew'st by name, and all the ethereal powers
All secrets of the deep, all Nature's works,
Or works of God in Heaven, air, earth, or sea,
And all the riches of this world enjoy'dst,
And all the rule, one empire; only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable; add faith,
Add virtue, patience, temperance; add love,
By name to come call'd charity, the soul

In me is no delay; with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling; thou to me
Art all things under Heaven, all places thou,
Who for my wilful crime art banish'd hence.
This further consolation yet secure
I carry hence; though all by me is lost,
Such favor I unworthy am vouchsaf'd,
By me the promis'd Seed shall all restore."

So spake our mother Eve; and Adam heard
Well pleas'd, but answer'd not: for now, too nigh
The archangel stood; and from the other hill
To their fix'd station, all in bright array
The cherubim descended; on the ground
Gliding meteorous, as evening mist
Ris'n from a river o'er the marish glides,
And gathers ground fast at the laborer's heel,
Homeward returning. High in front advanc'd
The brandish'd sword of God before them blaz'd,
Fierce as a comet; which with torrid heat,
And vapor as the Libyan air adust,
Began to parch that temperate clime; whereat
In either hand the hastening angel caught
Our lingering parents, and to the eastern gate
Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
To the subjected plain; then disappear'd.
They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of paradise, so late their happy seat,

Wav'd over by that flaming brand; the gate
With dreadful faces throng'd, and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropt, but wip'd them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.

PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK I.

THE ARGUMENT.

kind. Pursuing his meditations he narrates, in a soliloquy, what divine and philanthropic impulses he had felt from his early youth, and how his mother Mary, on perceiving these dispositions in him, had acquainted him with the circumstances of his birth, and informed him that he was no less a person than the Son of God; to which he adds what his own inquiries and reflections had supplied in confirmation of this great truth, and particularly dwells on the recent attestation of it at the river Jordan. Our Lord passes forty days, fasting, in the wilderness, where the wild beasts become mild and harmless in his presence. Satan now appears under the form of an old peasant; and enters into discourse with our Lord, wondering what could have brought him alone into so dangerous a place, and at the same time professing to recognize him for the person lately acknowledged by John, at the river Jordan, to be the Son of God. Jesus briefly replies. Satan rejoins with a description of the difficulty of supporting life in the wilderness; and entreats Jesus, if he be really the Son of God, to manifest his divine power, by changing some of the stones into bread. Jesus reproves him, and at the same time tells him that he knows who he is. Satan instantly avows himself, and offers an artful apology for himself and his conduct. Our blessed Lord severely reprimands him, and refutes every part of his justification. Satan, with much semblance of humility, still endeavors to justify himself; and, professing his admiration of Jesus and his regard for virtue, requests to be permitted at a future time to hear more of his conversation; but is answered, that this must be as he shall find permission from above Satan then disappears, and the book closes with a short description of night coming on in the desert.

I, WHO erewhile 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 tried
Through all temptation, and the tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls'd,
And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness.

The subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy Thou Spirit, who ledd'st this glorious eremite Spirit. The poem opens with John baptizing at Into the desert, his victorious field, the river Jordan. Jesus coming there is baptized; Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence and is attested, by the descent of the Holy Ghost, By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire, and by a voice from Heaven, to be the Son of As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute, God. Satan, who is present, upon this immedi- And bear through height or depth of Nature's ately flies up into the regions of the air: where, bounds, summoning his infernal council, he acquaints With prosperous wing full summ'd, to tell of deeds them with his apprehensions that Jesus is that Above heroic, though in secret done, seed of the Woman, destined to destroy all their And unrecorded left through many an age;

Worthy to have not remain'd so long unsung.

power, and points out to them the immediate
necessity of bringing the matter to proof, and of
attempting, by snares and fraud, to counteract
and defeat the person, from whom they have so
much to dread. This office he offers himself to
undertake; and, his offer being accepted, sets out
on his enterprise.-In the mean time God, in the
assembly of holy angels, declares that he has given
up his Son to be tempted by Satan; but foretells
that the tempter shall be completely defeated by
him-upon which the angels sing a hymn of As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
triumph. Jesus is led up by the Spirit into the To him his heavenly office; nor was long
wilderness, while he is meditating on the com- His witness unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
mencement of his great office of Savior of man- Heaven open'd, and in likeness of a dove

Now had the great proclaimer, with a voice
More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried
Repentance, and Heaven's kingdom nigh at hand
To all baptiz'd: to his great baptism flock'd
With awe the regions round, and with them came A
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan; came, as then obscure,
Unmark'd, unknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descried, divinely warn'd, and witness bore

The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heaven 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
Nigh thunder-struck, the exalted man, to whom
Such high attest was given, awhile 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,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy consistory; and then amidst,
With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake.

"O ancient powers of air, and this wide world, (For much more willingly I mention air, 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 rul'd,
In manner at our will, the affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facile 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 Heaven
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
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 full flower, displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve
Things highest, greatest multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
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 honor as their king: all come,
And he himself among them was baptiz'd;
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of Heaven, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence; on him, rising
Out of the water, Heaven above the clouds
Unfold her crystal doors: thence on his head
A perfect dove descend, (whate'er it meant,)
And out of Heaven the sovran voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd.'
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven:
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:
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,
But must with something sudden be oppos'd,
(Not force, but well-couch'd fraud, well-woven

snares,)

Ere in the head of nations he appear,
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 perform'd
Successfully: a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way, found prosperous once
Induces best to hope of like success."

He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement the 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 enterprise To him, their great dictator, 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: But, contrary, unweeting he fulfill'd The purpos'd council, preordain'd 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, Thou and all 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 Son, Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God; Then told'st 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'ershadow her. This man, born and now up

grown,

To show him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt, and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his apostacy: he might have learnt
Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a man,
Of female secd, far abler to resist
All his solicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell;
Winning, by conquest, what the first man lost,
By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness;

There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength
And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh,
That all the angels and ethereal powers,
They now, and men hereafter, may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose
This perfect man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men."

So spake the Eternal Father, and all Heaven

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Admiring stood a space, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd,
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

"O, what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awakened in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd!
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things; therefore, above my years,
The law of God I read, and found it sweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To such perfection, that, ere yet my age
Had measur'd twice six years, at our great feast
I went into the temple, there to hear
The teachers of our law, and to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own;
And was admir'd by all: yet this not all
To which my spirit aspir'd; victorious deeds
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts; one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue 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 heavenly first
By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul,
Not wilfully misdoing, but unaware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving,
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoic'd,
And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts,
O son, but nourish them, and let them soar
To what height sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless sire,
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage,
Thy father is the Eternal King who rules
All Heaven and Earth, angels and sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth

Conceiv'd in me a virgin; he foretold,
Thou shouldst be great, and sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
At thy nativity, a glorious quire

Of angels, in the fields of Bethlehem, sung
To shepherds, watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born,
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,
For in the inn was left no better room:

"Victory and triumph to the Son of God,
Now entering his great duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles!
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untried,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.

Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell,
And, devilish machinations, come to nought!"

So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tun'd:
Meanwhile the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara, where John baptiz'd,
Musing, and much revolving in his breast,
How best the mighty work he might begin
Of Savior to mankind, and which way first
Publish his godlike office now mature,
One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse
With solitude, till, far from track of men,

Thought following thought, and step by step led on, Known partly, and soon found, of whom they spake
He enter'd now the bordering desert wild,
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
And, with dark shades and rocks environ'd round, Through many a hard assay, even to the death,
His holy meditations thus pursued.
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,

Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins'
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 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,
Heaven open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The Spirit descended on me like a dove;
And last, the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounc'd me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone

6

A star, not seen before, in Heaven appearing,
Guided the wise 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 star, new-graven in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Israel born.
Just 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, straight I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes

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 authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
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 desert, dusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;

And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such solitude before choicest society.
Full forty days he pass'd, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon on shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak,
Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbor'd in one cave, is not reveal'd,
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt

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