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Conceals him : when twelve years he scarce had seen,
I lost him, but so found, as well I saw
He could not lose himself; but went about
His Father's business; what he meant I mus'd,
Since understand ; much more his absence now 100
Thus long to fome great purpofe he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inur'd;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And fay’ings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
Recalling what remarkably had pass d
Since frit her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd 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 fly preface to return

115 Had left him vacant, and with speed was gone Up to the middle region of thick air, Where all his potentates in council fat; 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 th' 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 125 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, 130

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Have found him, view'd him, tasted him, but find
Far other labor 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,

135
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, left confidence 140
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-lure
Of like fucceeding here; I summon all
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist ; left I who erst

145 Thought none my equal, now be over-match'd.

So Ipake th'old Serpent doubting, and from all With clamor was assur'd their utmost aid At his command ; when from amidst them rose Belial, the diffolutest Spi'rit that fell,

150 The sensuallest, and after Asmodai The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advis'd.

Set women in his eye, and in his walk, Among daughters of men the fairest found; Many are in each region passing fair

155 As the noon sky; more like to Goddesses Than mortal creatures, graceful and discreet, Expert in amorous arts, inchanting tongues Persuasive, virgin majesty with mild And sweet allay'd, yet terrible t'approach, 160 Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw Hearts after them tangled in amorous neis, Such obje&t hath the pow'r to soft'n and tame Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow, Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve, 165

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Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutelt breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguild the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,

170 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 doať’dst on womankind,admiring 175 Their shape, their color, and attractive grace, None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys. Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew, False titled fons of God, roaming the earth Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180 And coupled with them, and begot a race. Have we not feen, or by relation heard, In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, In wood or grove by mossy fountain fide, In valley or green meadow, to way-lay 185 Some beauty rare, Califto, Clymene, Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd, Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

190 Satir, or Faun, 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?

195 Reinember that Pellean

conqueror,
A youth, how all the beauties of the east
He slightly view'd, and Nightly overpass’d ;
How he firnam'd of Africa diliniss'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.

For

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For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of honor, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state ;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd :
But he whom we attempt is wiser far

205
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on th’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 the confident,
As fitting queen ador'd on beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
T'enamour,

as the zone of Venus once Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell; 215 How would one look from his majestic brow Seated as on the top of virtue's hill, Discount'nance her despis’d, and put to rout All her array; her female pride deject, Or turn to reverent awe? for beauty stands In th’admiration only of weak

minds Led captive; cease to admire, and all her plumes Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy, At every sudden slighting quite abalh'd : Therefore with manlier objects we must try 225 His constancy, with such as have more show Of worth, of honor, glory', and popular praise ; Rocks whereon greatelt men have oftest wreckd; Or that which only seems to satisfy Lawful desires of nature, not beyond ; 230 And now I know he hungers where no 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.

Heceas’d, and heard their grant in loud acclame; Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band

of

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Of Spirits likeft 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; 240
Then to the desert takes with these his flight;
Where still from shade to fhade the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain d,
Now hungring first, and to himself thas said.

Where will this end? four times ten days I've pass'd
Wand'ring this woody maze, and human food 246
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 250
Though needing, what praise is it to indure ?
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

255 Without this

body's wasting, I content me,
And from the sting of famin fear no harm,
Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts that feed
Me hungring more to do my Father's will.

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son 260
Commun'd in filent walk, then laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven ; there he slept,
And dream'd, as appetite is wont to dream,
Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet ;
Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood 266
And saw the ravens with their horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing ev'n and morn, [brought:
Though ravenous, taught tabstain from what they
He saw the prophet also how he fled

270 Into the desert, and how there he Nept Under a juniper; then how awak'd,

He

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