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PARADISE REGAIN'D.

BOOK II.

Mean while the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd
Jesus Messiah Son of God declar'd,
And on that high authority had believ'd, 5

And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd, I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in Holy Writ not nam'd,
Now missing him their joy so lately found,
So lately found, and so abruptly gone, 10

Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And as the days increas'd, increas'd their doubti
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; 15
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heav'n, yet once again to come.
Therefore as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho »o

The city' of Palms, .ffinon, and Salem old,
Machaerus, and each town or city wall'd
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Volume III. C

Or in Peraea; but return'd in vain.

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek, a 5

Where winds with reeds 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 30
Unlook'd for are we fall'n! 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, 35
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 wrapt him from us? will he now retire 40
After appearance, and again prolong
Our expectation .? God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of th' earth how they oppress
Thy chosen, to what highth their power unjust 45
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, 50

By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have convers'd;
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 recal, 5s
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence;
Soon we shall see our Hope, our Joy return.

Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume To find whom at the first they found unsought: But to his mother Mary, when she saw 60

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 raisM [clad.
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus

O what avails me now that honor high 66

To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute
Hail highly favour'd, among women blest!
While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd,
And fears as eminent, above the lot 70

Of other women, by the birth I bore,
In such a season born when 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 75

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 to
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 j 85

I look'd for some great change; to honor? 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 go

A sword shall pierce; this is my favor'd lot,

My exaltation to afflictions high;

Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;

I will not argue that, nor will repine i

But where delays he now? some great intent 95

Conceals himi when twelve years he scarce had seen,

I lost him, but so found, as well I saw

He could not lose himself; but went about

His father's business; what he meant I mus'd,

Since understand j much more his absence now 100

Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.

But I to wait with patience am inur'd;

My heart hath been a store-house long of things

And say'ings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling j
The while her Son tracing the desert wild,
Sole but with holiest meditations fed, no

Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to begin, how to accomplish best

[graphic]

His end of being on earth, and mission high:
For Satan with sly preface to return 115

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. 120

Princes, Heav'u'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 125
Without new trouble; such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less
Threatens than our expulsion down to Hell;
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impower'd, 130
Have found him, view'd him, tasted him, but find
Far other labor 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, 135

If he be man by mother's side at least,
With more than human gifts from Heav'n adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds:
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence 140

Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here; I summon all

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