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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 rujes
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 sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end. 24.1
At thy nativity a glorious quire
Of angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung
To shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born, 24.5
Where they might see him, and to thee they came,
DireSed 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
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes 261

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 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 j but he 274.

Strait knew me, and with loudest voice proclam'd

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 i

But as I rose out of the laving stream, »8o

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 Heav'n.

And now by some strong motion I am led iga

Into this wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet, perhaps I need not know j
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.
So spake our Morning Star, then in his rise,
And looking round on eveiy side beheld Sjj

A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark'd, return
Was difficult, by human steps untrod;
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 j
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last 30}
Among wild beastsi they at his sight grew mild,
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 quest of some stray ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve 316
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 i

Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this So far from path or road of men, who pass [place In troop or caravan ? for single none Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here 324. His carcass, pin'd with hunger and with drouth. I ask the rather, and the more admire, 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 Who dwell this wild, constrain'd by want, come To town or village nigh (nighest is far) [forth Where ought we hear, and curious are to hear, What happens new; Fame also finds us out.

To whom the Son of God. Who brought 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 seldom 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 herewith manna? in the mount
Moses was forty days, nor ate nor drank;
And forty days Elijah without food
Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust, 355
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?

Whom thus answer'd th' Arch-fiend now undis-
'Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate, [guis'd:
Who leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt
Kept not my happy station, but was driven 360
With them from bliss to the bottomless deep,
Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd
By rigor unconniving, but that oft
Leaving my dolorous prison I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of earth 365

Or range in th' air, nor from the Heaven of Heav'ns
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
I came among the sons of God, when he
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job
To prove him, and illustrate his high worth; 370
And when to all his angels he propos'd
To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud
That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring,
I undertook that office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering prophets glibb'd with lies 375
To his destruction, as I had in charge,
For what he bids I do: though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, lost
To be belov'd of God, I have not lost
To love, at least contemplate and admire 380

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