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Ere in the head of nations he appear,
Their king, their leader, and supreme on earth.
I, when no other durst, sole undertook
The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adam, and the exploit performed
Successfully; a calmer voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found prosperous once,
Induces hest to hope of like success."
He ended; and his words impression left
"Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold,
1 Alluding to the habit of sorcerers and necromancers, who are preresented in some prints as girded about the middle with the skins of snakes and serpents.
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest
O'ershadow her: this man born and now up-grown.
To show him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his apostacy: he might have learned
Less overweening, since he failed in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a man
Of female seed, far abler to resist
All his solicitations, and at length
All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conquest what the first man lost
By fallacy surprised. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness;
There be shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;
That all the angels and ethereal powers,
They now, and men hereafter, may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose
This perfect man, by merit called my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men."
So spake the eternal Father, and all Heaven
"Victory and triumph to the Son of God
1 Battle, not necessarily between two parties, but for duellum, ant for Minn.
Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell,
So they in Heaven their odes and vigils tuned:
"Oh, what a multitude of thoughts at once Awakened in me swarm, while I consider What from within I feel myself, and hear What from without comes often to my ears, Ill sorting with my present state compared! When I was yet a child, no childish play To me was pleasing: all my mind was set Serious to learn and know, and thence to do What might be public good; myself I thought Born to that end, born to promote all truth, All righteous things: therefore, above my years, The law of God I read, and found it sweet; Made it my whole delight; and in it grew To such perfection, that ere yet my age Had measured twice six years, at our great feast I went into the temple, there to hear The teachers of our law, and to propose What might improve my knowledge or their own,
To which my spirit aspired: victorious deeds
Yet this not all
At least to try, and teach the erring soul
Not wilfully misdoing, but unware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving,
By words at times cast forth, inly rejoiced,
And said to me apart: 'High are thy thoughts,
O son! but nourish them, and let them soar
All Heaven and earth, angels and sons of men;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceived in me a virgin; he foretold
Thou shouldst be great, and sit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
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,
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 Heaven appearing,
Guided the wise men thither from the east,
To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star new graven in Heaven,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warned
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, straight I again revolved
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins'
Yet neither thus disheartened or dismayed,
The time prefixed I waited, when behold
The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come
Before Messiah, and his way prepare.
T as all others to his baptism came,
Which I believed was from above; but he
Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaimed
Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven),
Me him whose harbinger he was; and first
Refused on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But as I rose out of the laving stream,
Heaven opened her eternal doors, from wheneo
The Spirit descended on me like a dove,
And last the sum of all, my Father's voice,
Audibly heard from Heaven, pronounced me hi3,
Me his beloved Son, in whom alone
He was well pleased; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live obscure,
But openly begin, as best becomes
The authority which I derived from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led
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 he still on was led, hut with such thoughts