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To which my Spi'rit aspir’d; victorious deeds 215
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: 220
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly 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 mif-doing, but unware

225
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 foar 230
To what highth facred 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, 235
Thy Father is th' eternal King who rules
All Heav'n and Earth, Angels and Sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold
Thou should’st be great and fit on David's throne,
And of thy Kingdom there should be no end. 241
At thy nativity a glorious quire

Of

Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung
To shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born 245
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:
A star, not seen before, in Heav'n appearing
Guided the wise men thither from the east, 250
To honor thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star new grav’n in Heaven,
By which they knew the king of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn’d 255
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, strait I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ 260
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes
Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay ev’n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain, 265
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, 270

Not

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
Straitknew me, andwith loudestvoice proclaim'd 275
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, 280
Heav'n open’d her eternal doors, from whence
The Spi'rit descended on me like a dove,
And last the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heav'n, pronounc'd me his,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone 285
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
Th’authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led 290
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 295
A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark’d, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;

And

And he still on was led, but with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come 300
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 in shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak, 305
Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in one cave, is not reveal’d;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild beasts: they at his sight grew mild, 310
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm’d, his walk
The fiery serpent fled, and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seem'd, the questof some strayewe, 315
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at eve,
He saw approach, who first with curious.eye
Perus’d him, then with words thus utter'd spake. 320

. Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who return’d, and dropt not here
His carcass, pin’d with hunger and with drouth. 325
I ask the rather, and the more admire,

For

For that to me thou seem'st the man, whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford
Of Jordan honor’d so, and call’d thee Son
Of God; I saw and heard, for we sometimes 330
Whodwellthis wild, conitrain’d by want, come forth
To town or village nigh (nighest is far)
Where ought we hear, and curious are to hear,
What happens new; fame also finds us out.

Towhom the Son of God. Whobrought me hither, Will bring me hence, no other guide I seek. 336

By miracle he may, reply'd the swain, What other way I see not, for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur’d . More than the camel, and to drink go far, 340 Men to much misery and hardship born; But if thou be the Son of God, command That out of these hard stones be made thee bread, So shalt thou save thyself and us relieve With food, whereof we wretched feldom taste. 345

He ended, and the Son of God reply'd. Think'st thou such force in bread? is it not written (For I discern thee other than thou seem'st) Man lives not by bread only, but each word Proceeding from the mouth of God, who fed 350 Our fathers here with Manna? in the mount . Moses was forty days, nor eat nor drank; And forty days Elijah without food Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now:

Why

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