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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 o:hers to his baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Strait knew me, and with loudest voice proclam'd
Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven) 276
Me him whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus’d on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won :
But as I rose out of the laving stream, 280


both eye,

er con

manner of intimacy or acquain- fame manner as he had done betance with each other. John the fore, Parad. Loft, V, 172. Baptist says exprefly, John I. 31,

Thou Sun, of this great world 33. And I knew him not; and he

and soul, did not so much as know him by

Acknowledge him thy greater. fight, till our Saviour came to his baptism; and afterwards it doth And this, I think, is a proof that not appear that they

the present reading there is right, versed together. And it was wisely and that both Dr. Bentley's emenordered to by Providence, that the dation and mine ought absolutely testimony of John might have the to be rejected.

Thyer. greater weight, and be freer from 280.-out of the laving stream,] all suspicion of any compact or Alluding, I fancy, to the phrase collusion between them.

laver of regeneration so frequently 278. Refus’d on me his baptism to applied to baptism. It may be obconfer,

served in general of this soliloquy As much his greater,] Here Mil- of our Saviour, that it is not only ton uses the word greater in the excellently well adapted to the


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

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


present condition of the divine refled of all the knowledge of the speaker, but also very artfully in- soroz, as far as the capacity of troduc'd by the poet to give us a a human mind would admit. (See history of his hero from his birth Le Blanc's Elucidatio Status Conto the very scene with which the troversiarum, &c. Cap. 3.) In his poem is open'd.


early years he - increased in wif281. -eternal doors] So in dom, and in ftature. St. Luke II. 52. Psal. XXIV.7,9. everlasting doors. And Beza observes upon this place,

that ipfa Θεότητο. plenitudo 286.

-the time

sese, prout & quatenus ipfi libuit, Now full,] Alluding to the humanitati affumtæ infinuavit : Scripture phrase, the fulness of quicquid garriant matæologi, & time. When the fulness of time was novi Ubiquitarii Eutychiani. Gercome, &c. Gal. IV. 4.

hard, a Lutheran professor of di293. For what concerns my know- vinity, has the same meaning, or

ledge God reveals.] Jesus was none at all, in what I am going to led by an inward impulse to retire transcribe.--- Anima Chrifti, juxta into the desert : and he obeyed the naturalem, & habitualem scientiam motion, without knowing the pur vere profecit, aby omniscio ivéppose of it, for that was not yelxv suam, quæ est actu omnia vealed to him by God. The whole scire & cognoscere, per assumtam soliloquy is form’d upon an opini- humanitatem non semper exerente. on, which hath authorities enough [Joh. Gerhardi Loci Theol. tom. 1. to give it credit, viz. that Christ Loc. 4. Cap. 12.] Grotius employs was not, by virtue of the personal the same principle, to explain St. union of the two natures, and from Mark XIII. 32. - Videtur mihi, the first moment of that union, 'dol ni meliora docear, hic locus non




Th’authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led 290
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 rife,
And looking round on every side beheld 295
A pathless defert, dulk with horrid shades;



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non torquemus, TU POEZOTE 000166, sciebat, quanta Deitas inhabitans
Luc. II. 52! And our Tillotson revelabat. Repreh. Anath. quarti
approved the opinion. “ It is Cyrilli, Tom. 4. p. 713. If some

not unreasonable to suppose, that things might be supposed unknown “ the Divine Wisdom, which dwelt to Christ, without prejudice to the “ in our Saviour, did communi- union, being not revealed to him "cate itself to his human soul ac- by the united Word, it will follow

cording to his pleasure, and so that, till some certain time, even “ bis human Nature might at some the union itself might be unknown “ times not know some things. to him. This time seems to have 6 And if this be not admitted, been, in Milton's scheme, after the “ how can we understand that paf- foliloquy; but before the forty days

fage concerning our Saviour, of fafting were ended, and the “ Luke II. 52. that Jesus grew in Demon entered upon the scene of

wisdom and stature ?" (Sermons action : and then was a fit occasion Vol. IX. p. 273.] Grotius could to give him a feeling of his own find scarce any thing in antiquity strength, when he was just upon to support his explication : but the point of being attacked by there is something in Theodoret such an Adversary. Calton. very much to his purpose, which 294. So spake our Morning Star] I owe to Whitby's Stricturæ Pa- So our Saviour is called in the Retrum, p. 190. --Tn5 [dens jog- velation XXII. 16. the bright and


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.
Fuil forty days he pass’d, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon on 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;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last


morning far : and it is properly ap


- they at his fight grew plied to him here at his first rising. mild,] All this is very common 302. Such solitude before choiceft in description, but here very judi

society.) This verse is of the ciously employed as a mark of the fame measure as one in the Para. returning Paradisiacal state. dife Loft, IX. 249. and is to be

Warburton, scann'd in the same manner. For Solistude fometimes is best This beautiful description is form

- and noxious worm) fociety. Such folitude before choi/cest Gorpel I. 13. and was with the wild

ed upon that short hint in St. Mark's fosciety:

beasts. A circumstance not menOr we must allow that an Alexan tioned by the other Evangelists, but drine verse (as it is called) may be excellently improved by Milton to admitted into blank verse as well show how the ancient prophecies as into rime.

began to be fulfilled, Isa. XI. 6-9. 307. one cave] Read--fome LXV. 25. Ezek. XXXIV. 25; Jortin. and how Eden was raised in the



Among wild beasts; they at his sight grew mild, 310
Nor Neeping 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
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. 320

Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place So far from path or road of men, who pass


waste wilderness. But the word 314. But now an aged man, &c.] worm, tho' joined with the epithet As the Scripture is entirely filent noxious, may give too low an idea about what personage the Tempto some readers : but as we ob ter assum'd, the poet was at liberty served upon the Paradise Lost, IX. to indulge his own fancy; and 1068, where Satan is called false nothing, I think, could be better worm, it is a general name for the conceived for his present purpose, reptil kind, and a serpent is called or more likely to prevent suspicion the mortal worm by Shakespeare. of fraud. The poet might perhaps 2 Henry VI. A& III, and so like take the hint from a design of Dawise hy Cowley in his Davideis. vid Vinkboon's, where the Devil Book I.

is represented addressing himself

to our Saviour under the appearWith that she takes ance of an old man. It is to be One of her worst, her best be met with among Vischer's cuts to loved snakes,

the Bible, and is ingrav'd by Softly dear worm, soft and unseen Landerselt. Thyer. (faid the).

323. In

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