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PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK II.

ean

MEAN while the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly callid
Jesus Messiah, Son of God declar’d,
And on that high authority had believ'd,
And with him talk’d, and with him lodg’d; I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others though in Holy Writ not nam’d;
Now missing him, their joy so lately found,
(So lately found, and so abruptly gone,)
Began to doubt, and doubted many days,
And, as the days encreas'd, encreas'd their doubt.
Sometimes they thought he might be only shown,
And for a time caught up to God, as once

Moses was in the mount and missing long,
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come:
Therefore, as those young prophets then with care
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara, in Jericho
The city of palms, Ænon, and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall’d
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peræa; but return’d in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,
Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play,
Plain fishermen, (no greater men them call,)
Close in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints out breath’d.

Alas, from what high hope to what relapse
Unlook'd for are we fall’n! our eyes beheld,
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth:
Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand,
The kingdom shall to Israël be restor’d;
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze :
For whither is he gone, what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearance, and again prolong.
Our expectation? God of Israel,

Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen ; to what highth their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of thee; arise, and vindicate
Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke.
But let us wait; thus far he hath perform’d,
Sent his Anointed, and to us reveal'd him,
By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown
In publick, and with him we have convers’d;
Let us be glad of this, and all our fears
Lay on his Providence; he will not fail,
Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall,
Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence;
Soon we shall see our Hope, our Joy, return.

Thus they, out of their plaints, new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought :
But, to his mother Mary, when she saw
Others return’d from Baptism, not her son,
Nor left at Jordan, tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast thougla

pure, Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus

clad. O, what avails me now that honour high To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute. 56 Hail highly favour'd, among women blest !”

While I to sorrows am no less advanc’d,
And fears as eminent, above the lot
"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 enforc'd to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'd
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, acknowledg'd, as I hear,
By John the Baptist, and in publick shown,
Son own’d from Heaven 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 Israël, and so a sign
Spoken against, that through my very soul
A sword shall pierce : This is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high;
Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;
I will not argue that, nor will repiné.
But where delays he now? some great intent
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
Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.
But I to wait with patience am inur'd;
My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
The while her son, tracing the desart 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 thiek air,
Where all his potentates in council sat;
There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,
Solicitous and blank, he thus began.

Princes, Heaven's ancient Sons, ethereal Thrones;
Demonian Spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call’d
Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath'

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