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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 heart hath been a store-house long of things
And sayings laid up, portending strange events.
Thus Mary pond'ring oft, and oft to mind.
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 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.

111 descended] Pers. Sat. iv. 23.

105

Ut nemo in sese tentat descendere.' Newton.

110

115

Princes, heaven's ancient sons, ethereal thrones, Demonian spirits now from the element Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call'd Powers of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,

120

(So may we hold our place, and these mild seats
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,
Have found him, view'd 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,

131 tasted him] Psalm xxxiv. 8.

125

'Oh taste and see how gracious the Lord is.'

130

If he be man by mother's side at least,

With more than human gifts from heaven adorn'd,
Perfections absolute, graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds.
Therefore I am return'd, lest confidence
Of my success with Eve in paradise
Deceive
ye to persuasion oversure
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 overmatch'd.

So spake the old Serpent doubting, and from all
With clamour was assur'd their utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial, the dissolutest spirit that fell,

135

140

145

125 mild seats] Mild yoke. Sonnet xix. Mild heaven. Sonnet xxi. 'Mite et cognatum est homini deus.' Sil. Ital. iv. 795.

150

The sensualest, and after Asmodai
The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advis'd.

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 allay'd, yet terrible to approach,
Skill'd to retire, and in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangled in amorous nets.
Such object hath the power to soften and tame
Severest temper, smooth the rugged'st brow,
Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,
Draw out with credulous desire, and lead
At will the manliest, resolutest breast,
As the magnetic hardest iron draws.
Women, when nothing else, beguil'd the heart
Of wisest Solomon, and made him build,
And made him bow to the gods of his wives.

156 more like] Hesiod Op. et Di. 62.

ἀθανάταις δὲ θεαῖς ἐις ὦπα ἐΐσκειν
Παρθενικῆς καλὸν εἶδος ἐπήρατον.

162 tangled] Miltoni Eleg. i. 60.

and P. L. xi. 585.

'Aurea quæ fallax retia tendit amor.' Dunster. 166 credulous] Hor. Od. iv. i. 30.

'Spes animi credula mutui.' Newton. 168 magnetic] Mids. N. Dream, act ii. sc. 2.

'You draw me, you hard-hearted adamant,
But yet you draw not iron.'

Todd.

155

160

165

170

To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd. Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st All others by thyself; because of old Thou thy self doat'dst on woman-kind, admiring Their shape, their colour, and attractive grace, None are, thou think'st, but taken with such toys. Before the flood thou with thy lusty crew, False titled sons of God, roaming the earth, Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, And coupled with them, and begot a race. Have we not seen, or by relation heard, In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st, In wood or grove by mossy fountain side, In valley or green meadow, to way-lay Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene, Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa, Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more

Too long, then lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd,
Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan,

Satyr, or fawn, or sylvan? but these haunts
Delight not all; among the sons of men,
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lures, easily scorn'd

All her assaults, on worthier things intent?
Remember that Pellean conqueror,

A youth, how all the beauties of the east

184 mossy] Virg. Ecl. vii. 45. 'Muscosi fontes.' Dunster.
196 Pellean] Henry More's Poems, p. 251.

'Where's Nimrod now, and dreadful Hannibal ?
Where's that ambitious pert Pellean lad?'

175

180

185

190

195

find,

He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'd;
How he surnam'd of Africa dismiss'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomon, he liv'd at ease, and full
Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his state;
Thence to the bait of women lay expos'd:
But he whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomon, of more exalted mind,
Made and set wholly on the accomplishment
Of greatest things; what woman will you
Though of this age the wonder and the fame,
On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye
Of fond desire? or should she confident,
As sitting queen ador'd on beauty's throne,
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamour, as the zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on Jove, so fables tell;
How would one look from his majestick brow,
Seated as on the top of virtue's hill,
Discount'nance her despis'd, and put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject,
Or turn to reverent awe! for beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive. Cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy,

204 bait] Spens. F. Q. v. viii. 1.

'Beauty's lovely bait.' Dunster.

200

205

210

215

220

216 majestick brow] Milton's Prose Works (of Reformation) by Symmons, vol. i. p. 54. And buy and sell the awful, and majestick wrinkles of her brow.'

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