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Into perplexity and new amaze :
For whither is he gone, wliat accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen ; to what highth their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of thee; arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke,
But let us wait; thus far he hath perform’d,
Sent his Anointed, and to us reveald him,
By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have convers’d;
Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his Providence; he will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall,
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence;
Soon we shall see our Hope, our Joy, return.”

Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought:
But, to his mother Mary, when she saw
Others return'd from baptism, not her son,
Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais’d
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad.

“what avails me now that honour high
To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute,
• Hail highly favour'd, among women blest!'
While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd,
And fears as eminent, above the lot
Of other women, by the birth I bore ;
In such a season born, when scarce a shed
Could be obtained to shelter him or me
From the bleak air ; a stable was our warmth,
A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fillid
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem;
From Egypt home return'd, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years ; his life
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king ; but now,
Full grown to man, acknowledg'd, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shown,

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Son own'd from Heaven by his Father's voice,
I look'd for some great change; to honour ? no;
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul
A sword shall pierce : this is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high ;
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;
I will not argue that, nor will repine.
But where delays he now ? some great intent
Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen,
I lost him, but so found, as well I saw
He could not lose himself, but went about
His Father's business; what he meant I mus'd,
Since understand ; much more his absence now
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inur'd;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events.”

Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
While her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set ;
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on earth, & mission high :
For Satan, with sly preface to return,
Had left him vacant, & with speed was gone
Up to the middle region of thick air,
Where all his potentates in council sat ;
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank, he thus began :

“Princes, Heaven's ancient Sons, ethereal Thrones,
Demonian Spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier callid
Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
So may we hold our place & these mild seats
Without new trouble, such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell;
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was empower'd,
Have found him, view'd him, tasted him; but find

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Far other labour to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam, first of Men,
Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this Man inferior far;
If he be Man by mother's side, at least
With more than human gifts from Heaven adorn’d,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here : I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist ; lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be over-match’d.”

So spake the old Serpent, doubting ; & from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,
The sensuallest, and, after Asmodai,
The fleshliest Incubus; and thus advis'd.

“Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found :
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky; more like to Goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible to approach,
Skill'd to retire, and, in retiring, draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften & tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguild the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,
And made him bow, to the Gods of his wives."

To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd.
“ Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh’st
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat'dst on womankind, admiring
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys
Before the Flood thou with thy lusty crew,

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False titled' sons of God, roaming the earth
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men,
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Have we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts & regal chambers how thou lurk’st,
In wood or grove, by mossy fountain side,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,
Satyr, or Faun, or Sylvan? But these haunts
Delight not all; among the sons of men,
How many have with a smile made small account
Of Beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd
All her assaults, on worthier things intent!
Remember that Pellean conqueror,
A youth, how all the beauties of the East
He slightly view'd, & slightly overpass'd;
How he surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd,
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd :
But he, whom we attempt, is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made & set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things. What woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder & the fame,
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond desire ? Or should she, confident,
As sitting

queen ador'd on Beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell;
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill,
Discountenance her despis'd, & put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe! for Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admire, & all her plumes
Fall flat, and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash'd.
Therefore with manlier objects we must try

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His constancy; with such as have more show
Of worth, of honour, glory, & popular praise,
Rocks, whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd ;
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond;

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And now I know he hungers, where no food
Is to be found, in the wide wilderness :
The rest commit to me; I shall let pass
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay."

He ceas'd, and heard their grant in loud acclaim ; 235 Then forth with to him takes a chosen band Of Spirits, likest to himself in guile, To be at hand, and at his beck appear, If cause were to unfold some active scene Of various persons, each to know his part :

240 Then to the desert takes with these his flight; Where, still from shade to shade, the Son of God After forty days fasting had remain'd, Now hungering first, and to himself thus said:

“Where will this end ? four times ten days I've pass'd 245 Wandering this woody maze, and human food Nor tasted, nor had appetite; that fast To virtue 1 impute not, or count part Of what I suffer here; if nature need not, Or God support nature without repast

250 Though needing, what praise is it to endure ? But now I feel I hunger, which declares Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God Can satisfy that need some other way, Though hunger still remain : so it remain

255 Without this body's wasting, I content me, And from the sting of famine fear no harm; Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed Me hungering more to do my Father's will.” It was the hour of night, when thus the Son

260 Commun'd in silent walk, then laid him down Under the hospitable covert nigh Of trees thick interwoven; there he slept, And dream'd, as appetite is wont to dream, Of meats & drinks, nature's refreshment sweet : 265 Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood, And saw the ravens with their horny beaks Food to Elijah bringing, even and morn, Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought : He saw the Prophet also, how he fled

270 Into the desert, and how there he slept Under a juniper; then how awak'd

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