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Not knew by hight) 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
Straitknew me, and with loudest voice proclam'd 275
Me him (for it was shown him fo from Heaven)
Me him whose harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his baptism to confer,
As much his greater, and was hardly won:
But as I rose 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
He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should 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 296
Into this wilderness, to what intent
I learn not yet, perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.

So fpake our Morning Star then in his rise, And looking round on every side beheld

295 A pathless desert, dusk with horrid Thades; The way he came not having mark’d, return Was difficult, by human steps untrod; And he still on was led, but with such thoughts Accompanied of things past and to come 300 Lodgid in his breast, as well might recommend Such solitude 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

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command be made thee bread, us relieve ched feldom taste. 345 God reply'd. ead ? is it not written thou seem'st)

but each word if God, who fed 350 i ? in the mount it nor drank; it food ; the same I now : to me distrust, 355 now who thou art ? Arch-Fiénd now undifInfortunate,

[guis'd. nore in rash revolt but was driven

360 bottomlefs deep, t so confin'd that oft

I enjoy globe of earth, 365

i the Heay'n of Heav'ns * sometimes. God, when he zean Job ite his high worth ; 370 The propos d Ahab into fraud oth, they demurring,

the tongues ts glibb’d with lies 375

To

Or cedar, to defend him from the dew,
Or harbourd in one cave, is not reveald;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt
Till those days ended, hunger'd then at last
Among wild beasts: they at his sight grew mild, 310
Nor sleeping him nor waking harmd, his walk
The fiery ferpent fled, and noxious worm,
The lion and fierce tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as feem'd, the queft of some stray ewe,
Or wither'd sticks to gather, which might serve 316
Against a winter's day when winds blow keen,
To warm 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
Durit ever, who return'd, and dropt not here
His carcass, pin d with hunger and with drouth. 325
I aik 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 fo, and call'd thee Son
of God; I saw and heard, for we sometimes 330
Whodwell this wild, constrain’d by 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, Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek. 336

By miracle he may, reply'd the fwain, What other

way

I fee not, for we here Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur'd More than the camel, and to drink go far, 340

Men

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 thalt thou save thyself and us relieve
With food, whereof we wretched feldom 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
Our fathers 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 thus answer'd th’Arch-Fiénd now undifTis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,

[guis'd. Who leagu'd with millions more in rash revolt Kept not my happy station, but was driven With them from bliss to the bottomlefs 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 earth, 365 Or range in th'air, nor from the Heay'n of Heav'ns Hath he excluded my resort sometimes. I came among the fons of God, when he Gave

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

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