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R E GA I N’D.

BOOK II.

MEA

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EAN while the new-baptiz’d, who yet remain'd

At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen Him whom they heard so late expresly call’d Jesus Messiah Son of God declar’d, And on that high authority had believod, 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 fo lately found, So lately found, and so abruptly gone, Began to doubt, and doubted many days, And as the days increas’d, increas'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; 15 And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels Rode up to Heav'n, yet once again to come. Therefore as those young prophets then with care

Sought

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Sought loft Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho
The city of palms, AEnon, and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall’d
On this fide the broad lake Genezaret,
Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,

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Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp’ring 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 30 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,

35 The kingdom shall to Israel be resor'd: Thus we rejoic'd, but foon 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 40 After appearance, and again prolong Our expectation? God of Israël, Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come; Behold the kings of th' earth how they oppress Thy chosen, to what highth their pow'r unjust 45 They have exalted, and behind them cast

All

PARADISE REGAIN'D

D. 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 reveald him, 50 By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown In public, 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, 55 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

60 Others return'd 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 rais’d Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad.

O what avails me now that honor high 66 To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute Hail highly favor’d, among women blest! While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd, And fears as eminent, above the lot

70 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,

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A manger his; yet foon enforc'd to fly

75 Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king* Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fillid With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem; From Egypt home return'd, in Nazareth Hath been our dwelling many years; his life 80 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 public shown, Son own’d from Heaven by his Father's voice; I look'd for some great change; to honor? no, But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold, That to the fall and rising he should be Of

many in Israël, and to a sign Spoken against, that through my very soul A sword shall pierce; this is

my

favor'd lot, My exaltation to afflictions high; Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest; I will not argue that, nor will repine. But where delays he now? some great intent 95 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 some great purpose he obscures. But I to wait with patience am inur'd;

My

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My heart hath been a store-house long of things
And say’ings laid up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind 105
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 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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