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R E G A I N D.

BOOK I.

I Who ere while the happy garden sung,
By one man's disobedience lost, now sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind,
By one man's firm obedience fully try'd
Through all temptation, and the tempter foil'd 5
In all his wiles, defeated and repuls'd,
And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness.

Thou Spirit who ledst this glorious eremite
Into the desert, his victorious field,
Against the spiritual foe,andbrought'sthim thence 10
By proof th' undoubted Son of God, inspire,
As thou art wont, my prompted song else mute,
And bear through highth or depth osnature's bounds
With prosp'rous wing full fumm'd, to tell of deeds
Above heroic, though in secret done, 15

And unrecorded left through many an age,
Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung.

Now had the great Proclamer, with a voice

More

More awful than the sound of trumpet, cry'd
Repentance, and Heav'n's kingdom nigh at hand 20
To all baptiz'd: to his great baptism flock'd
With awe the regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan, came as then obscure,
Unmark'd, unknown; but him the Baptist soon 25
Descry'd, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd,
To him his heav'nly office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd: on him baptiz'd
Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a dove 30

The spi'rit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly fam'd
Would not be last, and with the voice divine 35
Nigh thunder-struck, th' exalted man, to whom
Such high attest was giv'n, a while survey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught and rage
Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid atr
To council summons all his mighty peers, 40

Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd,
A gloomy consistory; and them amidst
With looks aghast and fad he thus bespake.

O ancient Pow'rs of air and this wide world, For much more willingly I mention air, 45

This our old conquest, than remember Hell,

Our

Our hated habitation; well ye know
How many ages, as the years of men,
This universe we have poffess'd, and rul'd
In manner at our will th' affairs of earth, 50

Since Adam and his facil consort Eve
Lost Paradise deceiv'd by me, though since
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve
Upon my head: long the decrees of Heav'n 55
Delay, for longest time to him is short;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long threaten'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the head 60

Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of earth and air;
For this ill news I bring, the woman's feed
Destin'd to this, is late of woman born: 65

His birth to our just fear gave no small cause,
But his growth now to youth's full flow'r, displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclame 70

His coming, his sent harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the consecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them so
Purified to receive him pure, or rather

To To do him honor as their king; all come, 75

And he himself among them was baptiz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony' of Heav'n, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence, on him rising 80
Out of the water, Heav'n above the clouds
Unfold her crystal doors, thence on his head
A perfect dove descend, what-e'er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the sovran voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd. 85
His mother then is mortal, but his sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven,
And what will he not do to' advance his Son?
His first-begot we know, and fore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep; go
Who this is we must learn, for man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate, 95

But must with something sudden be oppos'd,
Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven snares,
Ere in the head of nations he appear
Their king, their leader, and supreme on earth.
I, when no other durst, sole undertook 100

The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adam, and th' exploit perform'd

SucSuccessfully; a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way found prosp'rous once

Induces best to hope of like success. 105

He ended, and his words impression left
Of much amazement to th' infernal crew,
Distracted and furpris'd with deep dismay
At these sad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief: 110
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main enterprize
To him their great dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march 115
From Hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,
Regents and potentates, and kings, ye Gods
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.
So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles, 120

Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd,
This man of men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his reign on earth so long enjoy'd: 125
But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd N
The purpos'd counsel pre-ordain'd and fix'd
Os the most High, who in full frequence bright
Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake.

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, 130

B Thou

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