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The subject proposed. Invocation of the Holy Spirit. The poem opens with John baptizing at the river Jordan. Jesus coming there is baptized; and is attested by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and by a voice from heaven, to be the Son of God. Satan, who is present, upon this immediately flies up into the regions of the air: where, summoning his infernal council, he acquaints them with his apprehensions that Jesus is that seed of the woman destined to destroy all their power, and points out to them the immediate necessity of bringing the matter to proof, and of attempting, by snares and fraud, to counteract and defeat the person from whom they have so much to dread. This office he offers himself to undertake; and, his offer being accepted, sets out on his enterprise. In the mean time God, in the assembly of holy angels, declares that he has given up his Son to be tempted by Satan; but foretells that the tempter shall be completely defeated by him: upon which the angels sing a hymn of triumph. Jesus is led up by the Spirit into the wilderness, while he is meditating on the commencement of his great office of Saviour of mankind. Pursuing his meditations he narrates, in a soliloquy, what divine and philanthropic impulses he had felt from his early youth, and how his mother Mary, on perceiving these dispositions in him, had acquainted him with the circumstances of his birth, and informed him that he was no less a person than the Son of God; to which he adds what his own inquiries and reflections had supplied in confirmation of this great truth, and particularly dwells on the recent attestation of it at the river Jordan. Our Lord passes forty days, fasting, in the wilderness; where the wild beasts become mild and harmless in his presence. Satan now appears under the form of an old peasant; and enters into discourse with our Lord, wondering what could have brought him alone into so dangerous a place, and at the same time professing to recognise him for the person lately acknowledged by John, at the river Jordan, to be the Son of God. Jesus briefly replies. Satan rejoins with a description of the difficulty of supporting life in the wilderness; and entreats Jesus, if he be really the Son of God, to manifest his divine power, by changing some of the stones into bread. Jesus reproves him, and at the

same time tells him that he knows who he is. Satan instantly avows himself, and offers an artful apology for himself and his conduct. Our blessed Lord severely reprimands him, and refutes every part of his justification. Satan, with much semblance of humility, still endeavours to justify himself; and professing his admiration of Jesus, and his regard for virtue, requests to be permitted at a future time to hear more of his conversation; but is answered, that this must be as he shall find permission from above. Satan then disappears, and the book closes with a short description of night coming on.


WHO ere while the happy Garden sung, By one Man's disobedience lost, now sing Recover'd Paradise to all mankind.

By one Man's firm obedience fully tried

Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil'd
In all his wiles, defeated and repulsed,
And Eden raised in the waste wilderness.

Thou Spirit, who led'st this glorious eremite
Into the desert, his victorious field,

Against the spiritual foe, and brought'st him thence
By proof th' undoubted Son of God, inspire,

As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute,
And bear thro' highth or depth of Nature's bounds,
With prosp'rous wing full summ'd, to tell of deeds,
Above heroic, though in secret done,
And unrecorded left through many an age,
Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung.

Now had the great Proclaimer with a voice
More awful than the sound of trumpet, cried
Repentance, and Heav'n's kingdom nigh at hand
To all baptized: to his great baptism flock'd
With awe the regions round, and with them came
From Nazareth the son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordan, came as then obscure,
Unmark'd, unknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descried, divinely warn'd, and witness bore
As to his worthier, and would have resign'd
To him this heav'nly office, nor was long
His witness unconfirm'd; on him baptized






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Heav'n open'd, and in likeness of a dove
The Spirit descended, while the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounced him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversary, who roving still
About the world, at that assembly famed
Would not be last, and with the voice divine
Nigh thunder-struck, th' exalted Man, to whom
Such high attest was given, awhile survey'd
With wonder, then with envy fraught and rage
Flies to his place, nor rests but in mid air;
To council summons all his mighty peers,
Within thick clouds and dark ten-fold involved
A gloomy consistory; and them amidst
With looks aghast and sad he thus bespake:

O ancient Pow'rs of air, and this wide world
For much more willingly I mention air,
This our old conquest, than remember Hell,
Our hated habitation; well ye know
How many ages, as the years of men,
This universe we have possess'd, and ruled,
In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth,
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve
Lost Paradise deceived 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 short;







And now too soon for us the circling hours

This dreaded time hath compass'd, wherein we

Must bide the stroke of that long threaten'd wound,
At least if so we can, and by the head
Broken be not intended all our power

To be infringed, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of Earth and Air;
For this ill news I bring, the woman's seed
Destined to this, is late of woman born:

His birth to our just fear gave no small cause,



But his growth now to youth's full flow'r displaying
All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve

Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
Before him a great prophet, to proclaim
His coming, is sent Harbinger, who all
Invites, and in the consecrated stream,
Pretends to wash off sin, and fit them so
Purified to receive him pure, or rather
To do him honour as their king; all come,
And he himself among them was baptized,
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of Heav'n, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt; I saw
The prophet do him reverence, on him rising
Out 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 I heard,
This is
my Son beloved, in him am pleased.
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heav'n,
And what will he not do to advance his Son?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his first thunder drove us to the deep;
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,


But must with something sudden be opposed,

Not force, but well couch'd fraud, well woven snares,

Ere in the head of nations he appear

Their king, their leader, and supreme on Earth.

I, when no other durst, sole undertook

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruin Adam, and th' exploit perform'd
Successfully; a calmer voyage now


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Will waft me; and the way found prosp'rous once
Induces best to hope of like success.

He ended, and his words impression left
Of much amazement to th' infernal crew,
Distracted and surprised with deep dismay
At these sad tidings; but no time was then
For long indulgence to their fears or grief:
Unanimous they all commit the care
And management of this main enterprise
To him their great dictator, whose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thrived
In Adam's overthrow, and led their march
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 likeliest find this new declared,
This Man of Men, attested Son of God,
Temptation and all guile on him to try;
So to subvert whom he suspected raised





To end his reign on Earth so long enjoy'd:
But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd

The purposed counsel pre-ordain'd and fix'd
Of the Most High, who in full frequence bright
Of angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake:

Gabriel, this day by proof thou shalt behold,
Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth
With man or men's affairs, how I begin,
To verify that solemn message late,
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galilee, that she should bear a son
Great in renown, and ca'lld the Son of God;

Then told'st 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'ershadow her: this man born and now upgrown,

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