Page images
PDF
EPUB

And for a time caught up to God, as once
Moses was in the mount, and missing long; 15
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heav'n, yet once again to come.
Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara ; in Jericho

20
The city of Palms, Ænom, and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall'a
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,

25 Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp'ring play, Plain fishermen, no greater men them call, Close in a cottage low together got, Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreath’d. Alas, from what high hope to what relapse

30 Unlook'd-for are we fallen! our eyes beheld Messiah certainly now come, so long Expected of our fathers; we have heard His words, his wisdom, full of grace and truth; Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand, 30 The kingdom shall to Israel be restored ; Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turn'd Into perplexity and new amaze: For whither is he gone, what accident Hath wrapt him from us ? will he now retire 40 After appearance, and again prolong Our expectation ? God of Israel, Send thy Messiah forth the time is come ; Behold the kings of th' earth how they oppress Thy chosen, to what height their power unjust 45 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 reveal'd him, 50 By his great Prophet, pointed at and shewn

16. 1 Kings xvii. 1. 18. 2 Kings ii. 17. 22. Macherus, a castle in the country beyond Jordan, named

Perua.
23. Genezaret ; the same as the sea of Tiberias, or the

sea of Galilee.
34. John i. 14.

36. Acts 1. 6. P

In public, and with him we have conversed ;
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, 56
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence;
Soon shall we see our Hope, our Joy, return.

Thus they out of their plaints new hopes resume,
To find whom at the first they found unsought:
But to his mother Mary, when she saw

60 Others return'd from baptism, not her son, Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none, (pure, Within her breast though calm, her breast though Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:

O what avails me now that honour high 66 To have conceived of God, or that salute, Hail, highly favour'd, among women blest! While I to sorrows am no less advanced, and fears as eminent, above the lot

70 Of other women, by the birth I bore, In such a season born when scarce a shed Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth, A manger his : yet soon enforced to fly

75 Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'a With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem ; From Egypt home return'd in Nazareth Hath been our dwelling many years, his life

80 Private, unactive, calm, contemplative, Little suspicious to any king; but now Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear, By John the Baptist, and in public shewn, Son own'd from Heaven by his father a nice; R5 I look'd for some great change; to horour 1 D: 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 90 A sword shall pierce: this is my favour'd lot, My exaltation to afflictions high! -9. Nazareth was in Galilee, a despised part of the country:

hence John i. 46.

Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;
I will not argue that, nor will repine :
But where delays he now? some great intent 95
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 mused,
Since understand : much more his absence now 100
Thus long to sonie great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inured ;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And say’ings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
Recalling what remarkably had pass’d
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly composed, awaited the fulfilling;
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,

110 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, and mission high: For Satan with sly preface to return

11 Had left him vacant, and 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:

120 Princes, Heav'n's ancient Sons, ethereal Thrones, Demonian Spirits now, from th' element Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call'd Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath, So may we hold our place and these mild seats 125 Without new trouble ; such an lemy Is risen to invade xs, who no less Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell;

103. The character o. Mary, though it can be hardly considered as described. is finely touched. The allusion here is to Luke ii. 19. 31.

122. It was the opinion of the ancients, that every elemen, as well as every corner of the earth lits peculiar demons. The same opinion appears to have been upheld during the middle ages, and Miltoll, it is supposed, h rrowed many of his notions from the strange and in ystical works which were formerly written on the subject.

I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impower'd, 120
Have found him, view'd him, tasted him, but find
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,

135
If he be man by mother's side at least,
With more than human gifts from Heav'n adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds ;
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence

140 of my success with Eve in Paradise Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure Of like succeeding here ; I summon alí Rather to be in readiness, with hand Or council to assist : lest I, who erst

145 Thought nove my equal, now be over-match'd.

So spake th' old Serpent doubting, and from all With clamour was assured their utmost aid At his command ; when from amidst them rose Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,

150 The sensualest, and, after Asmodai, The fleshliest incubus, and thus advised :

Set women in his eye, and in his walk, Among daughters of men, the fairest found ; Many are in each region passing fair

155 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, 180 Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets. Such object hath the power to soften and tame Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow, Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, 165 Draw out with credulous desire, and lead At will the manliest, resolutest breast, As the magnetic hardest iron draws. Women, when uothing else, beguiled the heart 168. Magnetic; the adjective for the substantive, as in

instances polnted out in the Par. Lost.

Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,

170 And made him bow, to the gods of his wives.

To whom quick auswer 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 175 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, False titled Sons of God, roaming the earth Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180 And coupled with them, and begot a race. Have we not seen, or by relation heard, In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, In wood or grove by mossy fountain side, In valley or green meadow, to way-lay

185 Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene, Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more Too long, then lay'st thy 'scapes on names adored, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

190 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 ber lures, easily scorn'd All her assaults, on worthier things intent? 195 Remember that Pellean conqueror, A youth, how all the beauties of the East He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd; How he surnamed of Africa dismiss'd In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid. 200 For Solomon, he lived 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 exposed : But he whom we attempt is wiser far

205 Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,

178. Milton here appears to favour the common notion of the angels having united with the daughters of men, but he expresses a contrary opinion, Par. Lost, xi. 621.

196. Alexander the Grean, born at Pella, in Macedonia; his conduct towards the wife and daughters of Darius was distinguished for continency:--as was Scipio's, surnamed African wa, on a similar occasion.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »