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Sometimes they thought he might be only shown,
And for a time caught up to God, as once
Moses was in the mount, and missing long;
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to heaven, yet once again to come.
Therefore as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabaras in Jericho,

The city of Palms, Ænon and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall'd
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.
Then on the banks of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with weeds 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
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,
The kingdom shall to Israel be restor❜d:
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze :

For whither is he gone, what accident

Hath wrapp'd 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 height 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 reveal'd him,
By his great prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have convers'd;
Let us he glad of this, and all our fears

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 bless'd sight, then snatch him bence;

Soon shall we see our hope, our joy, return."

Thus they out of their plaints new bope 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, [pure, Within her breast though calm, her breast, though Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd

Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:

"O what avails me now that honour high To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute, Hail highly favour'd, among women bless'd!* 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, where 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 enforc'd to fly Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, fill'd 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, 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 affl'ctions high-!

Afflicted I may be, it seems, and bless'd':

I will not argue that, nor will repine.

But where delays he now? some great intent
Conceals him. When twelve years he scarce had
I lost him, but so found, as well I saw [seen,
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 bath 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;
The while her Son tracing the desert wild,
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Into bimself 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

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:

"Princes, heaven'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
Without new trouble; such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less

Threatens than our expulsion down to hell;
1, as I undertook, and with the vote

Consenting in full frequence was impower'd, 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,

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 council to assist; lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.”
So spake th' old Serpent doubting, and from all
With clamour was assur'd their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,

The sensualest, 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 art, 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 and 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, beguil'd 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,
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 and 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, and slightly overpass'd =
How he, surnam'd of Africa, dismiss'd
In his prime youth, the fair Iberian naid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of bonour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of woman lay expos'd;
But be whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on th' accomplishment
Of greatest things. What woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and 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-

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