Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

The law and prophets, searching what was

writ

260 Concerning the Melliah, to our scribes Known partly, and foon found, of whom they

spake
I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard allay ev'n to the death,
Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain, 265
O work redemption for mankind, whose fins
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head. .
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 fight) now come, who was

to come
Before Messiah and his way prepare.
I as all others to his baptism came,
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Strait knew me, and with loudest voice

proclam'd

275 Me him (for it was shown him so from

Heaven) Me him whose harbinger he was; and first R-fus'd on me his baptism to confer, As much his greater, and was hardly won: But as I rofe out of the laving stream,

280 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 285 He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the

time Now full, that I no more (hould live obscure, But openly begin, as best becomes 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 rise, And looking round on every fide beheld 295 A pathless desert, dusk with horrid shades; The way he came not having mark’d, Was difficult, by human steps untrod; And he still was led, but with such

thoughts Accompanied of things past and to come 300 Lodg'd in his breast, as well might recoin

mend Such folitude before choicest society. Full forty days he pass’d, whether on hill Sometimes, anon in 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

return

on

Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last Among wild beasts: they at his light grew

mild,

310 Nor sleeping 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,

315 Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might

serve Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen, To warn 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
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcass, pin’d with hunger and with

drouth.

325 I ask the rather, and the more admire, For that to me thou seem'st the man, whom

late Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford Of Jordan honor'd lo, and call'd thee Son

Of God; I saw and heard, for we someti.

mes

330 Who dwell this wild, constrain'd want, come

forth To town or village nigh (nighest is far) Where ought we hear, and curious are to

hear, What happens new; fame also finds us out. To whom the Son of God. Who brought me hither,

335 Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek.

By miracle he may, reply'd the swain, What other way I see not, for we here Live on tongh roots and stubs, to thirst inur'd More than the camel, and to drink go far, 340 Men to much misery and hardship born; But if thou be the Son of God, command That out of these hard stones be made thee

bread, So shalt thou save thyself and us relieve With food, whercof we wretched seldom

taste.

345 He ended, and the Son of God reply'd. Think'st thou such force in bread ? is it not

written (For I discern thee other than thou seem'st) Man lives not by bread only, but each word Proceeding from the mouth of God, who

fed

350

[ocr errors]

ven

[ocr errors]

Our faihers here with Manna? in the mount
Moses was forty days, nor eat nor drank;
And forty days Elijah without food
Wander'd this barren waste; the same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust, 355
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art ?
Whom ihus answer'd th’ Arch-Fiénd now

undisguis'd.
This true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,
Who leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt
Kept not my happy station, but was dri-

360
With them from bliss to the bottomless deep,
Yet to that hideous place not so confin’d
By rigor unconniving, but that oft
Leaving my dolorous prison I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of carth, 365
Or range in th' air, nor from the Heav'n of

Heav'ng
Hath he excluded my refort sometimes.
I came among the sons of God, when he
Gave

up
into
my

hands Uzzean Job
To prove him, and illustrate his high worth; 370
And when to all his Angels he propos'd
To draw the proud king Ahab into fraud,
That he might fall in Ramoth they demurring,
I undertook that office, and the tongues
Of all his flattering prophets glibb’d with

lies

375

« ForrigeFortsæt »