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This Universe we have pofleft, and rul'd
In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facil Confort Eve
Loft Paradise deceiv'd by me, though since
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the Seed of Eve
Upon my head; long the decrees of Heav'n
Delay, for longest time to him is Mort;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compaft, wherein we
Must bide the stroak of that long threatn'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the Head
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'd, our freedom and our being
In this fair Empire won of Earth and Air ;
For this ill news I bring, the Woman's Seed
Destin'd to this, is late of Woman born.
His Birth to our just fear gave no small cause,
But his growth now toʻyouth's full flower displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to atchieve
Things highest, greatest, multipliès my fear.
Before him a great Prophet, to proclaim 70
His coming, is sent Harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the confecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them fo
Purifi'd to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their King: all come, 75
And he himself among them was baptiz'd,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The Testimony of Heaven, that who he is
Thenceforth the Nations may not doubt ; I saw

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The Prophet do him reverence, on him rising 80
Dut of the Water, Heav'n above the Clouds
Unfold her Crystal Doors, thence on his head
A perfect Dove descend, whate'er it meant,
And out of Heav'n the Sovereign voice { heard,
This is my Son belov’d, in him am pleas'd.

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His Mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the Monarchy of Heaven ;
And what will he not do t'advance his Son ?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep; 90
Who this is we must learn, for Man he seems
In all his lineaments, though in his face
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazard, which admits no long debate, 95
But must with something sudden be oppos’d,
Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven snares,
Ere in the head of Nations he appear
Their King, their Leader, and Supream on Earth.
I, when no other durft, sole undertook
The dismal expedition, to find out
And ruin Adam, and th’exploit perform'd
Successfully; a calmer Voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found prosp'rous once,
Induces best to hope of like success.

105 He ended, and his words impression left Of much amazement to th' infernal Crew, Distracted and surpriz'd with deep dismay At these sad tidings; but no time was then For long indulgence to their fears or grief :

Un

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Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main Enterprize
To him their great Dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march 115
From Hell's deep-vaulted Den to dwell in light,
Regents and Potentates, and Kings, yea Gods
Of many a pleasant Realm and Province wide.
So to the coast of Jordan he directs
His easy steps, girded with snaky wiles,
Where he might likelieft find this new declar'd,
This Man of men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his Reign on Earth so long enjoy'd : 125
But contrary, unweeting he fulfill'd
The purpos’d Counsel pre-ordain’d and fixt
Of the most High, who in full frequence bright
Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling (pake.

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold, 130
Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth
With man or mens affairs, how I begin
To verify that solemn Message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that he should bear a Son
Great in Renown and call’d the Son of God;
Then toldft her, doubting how these things could be
To her a Virgin, that on her should come
The Holy Ghost, and the Power of the Highest
O'er-Shadow her : this Man born and now up grown,
To thew him worthy of his Birth Divine .147

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And high Prediction, henceforth I expose
To Satan ; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost fubtilty, because he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng 145
Of his Apoftafie; he might have learnt
Less overweening, since he fail'd in Job,
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now Thall know I can produce a Man

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of female Seed, far abler to resist
All his follicitations, and at length
All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,
Winning by, conquest what the first man loft,
By fallacy surpriz’d. But first I mean 155
To exercise him in the Wilderness,
There he mall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfare, ere I send him forth
To conquer Sip and Death the two grand focs,
By Humiliation and strong Sufferance 160
His weakness Tall o'ercome Satanic strength
And all the world, and mass of sinful fleth ;
That all the Angels and Æthereal Powers,
They now, and men hereafter may discern,
From what consummate virtue I have chose 369
This perfect Man, by merit call'd my Son,
To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.

So fpake th' Eternal Father, and all Heav'n
Admiring stood a space, then into Hymns
Burst forth, and in Celestial measures mov'd
Circling the Throne and finging, while the hand
Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory

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Victory and Triumph to the Son of God
Now entering his great duel, not of Arms;
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial Virtue, though untry'd,
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce,
Allure, or terrifie, or undermine.
Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell,
And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav'n their Odes and Vigils tụn'd:
Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where yohn baptiz'd,
Musing and much revolving in his breast, 185
How best the mighty work he might begin
Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first
Publish his God-like Office now mature,
One day forth walk'd alone, the Spirit leading,
And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190
With folitude, till far from track of Men,
Thought following thought, and step by step led on,
He entred now the bordering desart wild,
And with dark fades and rocks environ'd round,
His holy meditation thus pursu'd.

195 what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me (warm, while I consider What from within I feel my self, and hear What from without comes often to my ears, III sorting with my present state compar'd.

200 When I was yet a Child no childish play To me was pleasing, all my mind was set Serious to learn and know, and thence to do

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