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PARADISE REGAINED.

THE SECOND BOOK.

MEANWHILE the new-baptized, who yet remained
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly called
Jesus Messiah, Son of God, declared,

And on that high authority had believed,

And with him talked, and with him lodged-I mean
Andrew and Simon, famous after known,
With others, though in Holy Writ not named—
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 increased, increased 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 Eliah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara-in Jericho

The city of palms, Ænon, and Salem old,
Macharus, and each town or city walled
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peraa-but returned in vain.

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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 outbreathed:-
"Alas, from what high hope to what relapse
Unlooked for are we fallen! 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 Israel be restored:'
Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned
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

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Thy glory; free thy people from their yoke!
But let us wait; thus far He hath performed—
Sent his Anointed, and to us revealed him,
By his great Prophet pointed at and shown
In public, and with him we have conversed.
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

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To find whom at the first they found unsought.
But to his mother Mary, when she saw
Others returned from baptism, not her Son,
Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none,
Within her breast though calm, her breast though pure,
Motherly cares and fears got head, and raised
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad :-
"Oh, what avails me now that honour high,
To have conceived of God, or that salute,
'Hail, highly favoured, among women blest!'
While I to sorrows am no less advanced,
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 obtained 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 murderous king

Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, filled
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.
From Egypt home returned, 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 owned from Heaven by his Father's voice,
I looked 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 favoured lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high!

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Afflicted I may 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 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 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 storehouse long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events."
Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had passed
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, Heaven's ancient Sons, Ethereal Thrones

Demonian Spirits now, from the element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called
Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath
(So may we hold our place and these mild seats
Without new trouble!)--such an enemy

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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 empowered,
Have found him, viewed 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 Heaven adorned,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am returned, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
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 overmatched."
So spake the old Serpent, doubting, and from all
With clamour was assured their utmost aid
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 allayed, yet terrible to approach,

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