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And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd:
Mean while the fon of God, who yet tome days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd,
Mufing and much revolving in his breast,
How beft the mighty work he might begin
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first
Publish his god-like office now mature,
One day forth walk'd alone, the spirit leading;
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse
With folitude, till far from track of men,
Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He entered now the bordering defart wild,
And with dark fhades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditation thus pursu’d.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me fwarm, while I confider
What from within I fcel my-felf, and hear,
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill forting with my preseut state compar’d.
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleafing, all my mind was fet
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be publick good; my felf 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 fweet,
Made it my whole delight, and in it grew
To fuch perfection, that ere yet my age
Had meafur'd twice fix years, at our great feaft
I went into the temple, there to hear

The teachers of our law, and to propofe

What might improve my knowledge or their own; And was admir'd by all, yet this not all

To which my fpirit aspir'd, victorious deeds Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while To rescue Ifrael from the Roman yoke, Then to fubdue and quell o'er all the earth Brute violence and proud tyrannick pow'r, Till truth were freed, and equity restor❜d: Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly, first By winning words to conquer willing hearts, And make persuasion do the work of fear; At least to try, and teach the erring foul Not wilfully mif-doing, but unaware Mif-led; the stubborn only to destroy. These growing thoughts my mother foon perceiving By words at times caft forth inly rejoic❜d, And faid to me apart, high are thy thoughts O fon, but nourish them and let them foar To what height facred virtue and true worth Can raise them, though above example high; By matchiefs deeds express thy matchlefs fire. For know, thou art no fon of mortal man, Though men esteem thee low of parentage, 'Thy father is th' eternal king who rules . All heav'n and earth, angels and fons of men; A meffenger from God fore-told thy birth Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he fore-told

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Thou should'st be great and fit on David's throne,
And of thy kingdom there shall be no end;

At thy nativity a glorious quire

Of angels in the fields of Bethlehem fung
To Shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Meffiah now was born,
Where they might fee him, and to thee they came;
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,

For in the inn was left no better room:
A ftar, not seen before in heav'n appearing
Guided the wife men thither from the east,
To honour thee with incenfe, myrrh, and gold,
"By whofe bright courfe led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy ftar new grav'n in heav'n,
By which they knew the king of Ifrael born.
Juft Simeon, and prophetick Anna, warn'd
By vision found thee in the temple, and spake
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that prefent stood:
This having heard, straight I again revolv'd
The law and prophets, searching what was writ
Concerning the Meffiah, to our scribes

Known partly, and foon found of whom they spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way muft lie
Through many a hard affay even to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,

Or work redemption for mankind, whofe fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus difhearten'd or dismay'd,
The time prefix'd I waited, when behold!
The baptift (of whofe birth I oft had heard,
Not knew by fight) now come, who was to come
Before Meffiah and his way prepare,
I as all others to his baptism came,

Which I believ'd was from above; but he


Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd
Me him (for it was fhewn him fo from heav'n)
Me him whofe harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptifm to confer,

As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But as I rofe out of the laving stream,
Heav'n open'd her eternal doors, from whence
The spirit defcended 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 fon, 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

The authority which I deriv'd from heav'n.
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 fpake our morning star, then in his rife,
And looking round on every fide beheld
A pathlefs defart, dusk with horrid shades;
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
Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recommend
Such folitude before choicest fociety.

Full forty days he pafs'd, whether on hill
Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night


Under the covert of fome antient oak,
Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbour'd in one cave, is not reveal'd;
Nor tafted human food, nor hunger felt
Till thofe days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild beafts: they at his fight grew mild,
Nor fleeping him nor waking harm'd, his walk
The fiery ferpent fled, and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof.

But now an aged man in rural weeds,

Following, as feem'd, the quest of some stray ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather; which might ferve
Against a winters day when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet return'd from field at eve,
He faw approach, who first with curious eye
Perus'd him, then with words thus utter'd fpake.

Sir, what ill chance has brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan, for single none

Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcafs, pin'd with hunger and with drought.
I ask the rather, and the more admire,

For that to me thou feem'ft the man, whom late
Our new baptizing prophet at the ford

Of Jordan honour'd fo, and call'd the fon

Of God; I faw and heard, for we fometimes

Who dwell this wilde, constrain'd by want, come forth
To town or village nigh (nigheft is far)

Where ought we hear, and curious are to hear,
What happens new; fame alfo finds us out.

To whom the fon of God. Who brought me hither

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