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Of other women, by the birth I bore,
In such a season born, when scarce a shed
Could be obtain'd to shelter him or me
From the bleak air! a stable was our warmth,
A manger his : yet soon enforced to fly
'Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fillid
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.
From Egypt home return'd, in Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many years; his life
Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,
Little suspicious to any king; but now
Full grown to man, acknowledged, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in public shown,
Son own'd from heav'n by his Father's voice;
I look'd for some great change: to honour? no,
But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel, and to a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul
A sword shall pierce. This is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high;
be, it seems, and blest;
I will not argue that, nor will repine.
But where delays he now? some great intent
Conceals him. When twelve year's
he scarce had seen,
I lost hiin, but so found, as well I saw
He could not lose himself; but went about
His father's business. What he meant I mused,
Since understand. Much more his absence now
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inured;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events.
Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly composed awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son, tracing the desert wild,
Sole but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to begin, how to accomplish best
His end of being on earth, and mission high :
For Satan, with sly preface to return,
Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone
Up to the middle region of thick air,
Where all his potentates in council sat;
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank he thus began.
Princes, heav'n's ancient sons, ethereal thrones,
Demonian spirits now from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier callid
Pow’rs of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
So may we hold our place, and these mild seats
Without new trouble; such an enemy
Is risen to invade us, who no less
Threatens, than our expulsion down to hell;
I, as I undertook, and with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impower'd,
Have found him, view'd him, tasted him,' but find
Far other labour to be undergone
Than when I dealt with Adam first of men,
Though Adam by his wife's allurement fell,
However to this man inferior far,
If he be man by mother's side at least,
With more than human gifts from heav'n adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion oversure
Of like succeeding here: I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist, lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be overmatch'd.
So spake the old Serpent doubting, and from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
A Greciam. Soe also Psalm xxxv, 8: Lord il"
"O taste and see how kracious the
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,
The sensualest, and after Asmodai?
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advised.
Set women in his eye, and in his walk,
Among daughters of men the fairest found;
Many are in each region passing fair
As the noon sky; more like to goddesses
Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet,
Expert in amorous arts, enchanting tongues
Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'd, yet terrible to approach,
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tamo
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetica hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguiled the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,
And made him bow to the gods of his wives.
To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd.
Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat’dst on woman-kind, admiring
Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace,
None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys
Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew,
False titled sons of god, roaming the earth,
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men.
And coupled with them, and begot a race.
Fiave we not seen, or by relation heard,
In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk’st,
In wood or grove by mossy fountain side,
In valley or green meadow, to way-lay
Or Asmodeus, the angel who persecuted Sara, the daughter of Raguel, and slov ier husbands, See Tobit
The loadstone, or magnet.
Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,
Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,'
Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more
Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names adored,
A pollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,
Satyr, or fawn, or sylvan? but these haunts
Delight not all; among the sons of men,
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd
All her assaults, on worthier things intent?
Remember that Pellean conqueror,?
A youth, how all the beauties of the east
He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd;
How he surnamed of Africa: dismiss'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he lived at ease, and full
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state.
Thence to the bait of women lay exposed :
But He whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things; what woman will you find,
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond desire? or should she confident,
As sitting queen adored on beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell;
How would one look from his majestic brow,
Seated as on the top of virtue's hill,
Discount'nance her despised, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe? for beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive. Cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall fat and shrink into a trivial toy,
At every sudden slighting quite abash'd:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancy, with such as have more show
Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise;
Rocks wheregn greatest men have oftest wreck'd ;
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of nature, not beyond;
And now I know he hungers where nc food
Is to be found, in the wide wilderness;
The rest commit to me, I shall let pass
No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.
He ceased, and heard their grant in loud acclaim:
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Of spirits, likest to himself in guile,
To be at hand, and at his beck appear,
If cause were to unfold some active scene
Of various persons each to know his part;
Then to the desert takes with these his flight;
Where still from shade to shade the Son of God
After forty days' fasting had remain'd,
Now hung'ring first, and to himself thus said.
Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd
Wand'ring this woody maze, and human food
Nor tasted, nor had appetite: that fast
To virtue I impute not, or count part
Of what I suffer here. If nature need not,
Or God support nature without repast
Though needing, what praise is it to endare P
But now I feel I hunger, which declares
Nature hath need of what she asks; yet GOD
Can satisfy that need some other way,
Though hunger still remain : so it remain
Without this body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famine fear no harm,
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts, that feed
Me hung’ring more to do my father's will.
It was the hour of night, when thus the Sou