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Satan with his perverted world; then raise From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, 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, Measured 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 deemed
weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise 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: 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,
He ended, and they both descend the hill:
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; 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 are banish'd hence.
'This farther consolation yet secure
So spake our mother Eve, and Adam heard
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.
T&E subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy Spirit
The poem opens with John baptizing at the river Jordan: Jesus, coming there, is baptized; and is attested by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and by a voice from heaven, to be the Son of God Satan, who is present, upon this immediately flies up into the regions of the air; where, summoning his infernal council, he acquaints them with his apprehensions that Jesus is that seed of the woman, destined to destroy all their 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 triumph. Jesus is led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, while he is meditating on the commencement of his great office of Saviour of mankind. Pursuing his meditations, he narrates. in a soliloquy, what divine and philanthropic impulses he had felt from his early youth, and how his mothet 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 endeavours 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
Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious eremite
thence By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,