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With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the seed of Eve
Upon my head: long the decrees of Heav'n
Delay, for longest time to him is short;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time hath compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long threaten'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the head
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 seed
Destin'd to this, is late of woman born:
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 atchieve
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is 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 do him honor as their king; all come,
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, whate'er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the Sov'ran voice I heard,
This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd.
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heav'n,
And what will he not do to' advance his Son?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep; 90
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,
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

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam, and th' exploit perform'd

Successfully; a calmer voyage now


Will waft me; and the way found pros'prous once Induces best to hope of like success.

He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement to th' infernal crew, Distracted and surpris'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
From Hell's deep-vaulted den to dwell in light,
Regents and potentates, and kings, yea gods
Of many a pleasant realm and province wide.
So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles,
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;
But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd,


The purpos'd counsel pre-ordain'd and fix'd
Of the Most High, who, in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake:

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, 130
Thou and all angels conversant on Earth
With man or men's affairs, how I begin
To verify that solemn message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Gallilee, that she should bear a son
Great in renown, and call'd the Son of God;
Then told'st her doubting how these things could be
To her a Virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the power of the Highest
O'ershadow her: this Man born and now upgrown,
To show him worthy of his birth divine
And high prediction, henceforth I expose



To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subtlety, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his apostacy; he might have learnt
Less overweening since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a Man

Of female seed, far abler to resist

All his solicitations, and at length


All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by conquest what the first man lost

By fallacy surpriz'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the wilderness,

There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death, the two grand foes,
By humiliation and strong sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength,
And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh:
That all the angels, and ethereal powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose
This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn salvation for the sons of men.

So spake th' eternal Father, and all Heav'n
Admiring stood a space, then into hymns
Burst forth, and in celestial measures mov'd, 170
Circling the throne and singing, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory and triumph to the Son of God
Now ent'ring his great duel, not of arms,
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrify, or undermine.
Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.


So they in Heav'n their odes and vigils tun'd; Meanwhile the Son of God, who yet some days Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd, Musing and much revolving in his breast, How best 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 thought, the better to converse 190
With Solitude, till far from track of men,

Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He enter'd now the bord'ring desert wild,
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditations thus pursu❜d:

O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider
What from within I feel myself, and hear
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd! 200
When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set

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