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Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season,
When prophecies of thee are best fulfill'd.
Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single characters,
In their conjunction met, give me to spell,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Attend thee, scorns, reproaehes, injuries,
Violence and stripes, and lastry cruel death;
A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,
Real or allegoricfe, I discern not;
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefix'd
Directs me in Ifhe starry rubriek set.
So saying he took, (for still he knew his power Nor yet expir'd,) and to the wilderness Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As day-Hght sunk, and brought in lowering Night, Her shadowy offspring; unsubstantial both, Privation metfe of light and absent day. Our Saviour meek, and with untroubled mind After his aery jaunt, though hurried sore, Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, Wherever, under some concourse of shades, Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might
shield From dews artd damps of night his shelter'd head;
But, shetter'd, slept in vain; for at his head
From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the birds,
Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God,
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-signify and threaten ill:
This tempest at this desart most was bent;
Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject
The perfect season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd seat, but wilt prolong
All to the push of fate, pursue thy way
Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when,
For both the when and how is no where told?
Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt;
For angels have proclaim'd it, concealing
The time and means. Each act is rightliest done,
Not when it must, but when it may be best:
If thou observe not this, be sure to find,
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's scepter get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night, that clos'd thee rounds
So many terrours, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee, as a sure fore-going sign.
So talk'd he, while the Son of God went on And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus.
Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm Those terrours, which thou speak'st of did me none; I never fear'd they could, though noising loud
And threatening high : what they can do, as signs
Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn
As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who, knowing, I shall reign past thy preventing,
Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I, accepting,
At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
Ambitious Spirit! and wouldst be thought my God;
And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discern'd,
And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest.
To whom the Fiend, now swoln with rage, replied. Then hear, O Son of David, Virgin-born, For Son of God to me is yet in doubt; Of the Messiah I had heard foretold By all the Prophets; of thy birth at length, Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first 1 knew, And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, On thy birth-night that sung thee Saviour born. From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Thy manhood last though yet in private bred; Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest, (Though not to be baptiz'd,) by voice from Heaven Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov'd. Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn