Into thin air diffus'd: for now began

Night with her sullen wings to double-shade


The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couch'd; And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.

The End of the First Book.



MEAN while the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd
Jesus Messiah Son of God declar'd,

And on that high authority had believ'd,



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 so 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;
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 lost Elijah, so in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho

The city' of Palms, Ænon, and Salem old,
Machærus, and each town or city wall'd
On this side the broad lake Genezaret,

Volume III.




Or in Peræa; but return'd in vain.

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,


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,
The kingdom shall to Israel be restor❜d;
Thus we rejoic'd, but soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze :


For whither is he gone, what accident

Hath wrapt him from us? will he now retire


After appearance, and again prolong

Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;

Our expectation? God of Israël,

Behold the kings of th' earth how they oppress
Thy chosen, to what highth their power unjust 45
They have exalted, and behind them cast
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 reveal'd him,
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 recal,
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 Others return'd from baptism, not her son, Nor left at Jordan tidings of him none,



Within her breast, though calm, her breast though
Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd [clad.
Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus
O what avails me now that honor high
To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute
Hail highly favour'd, among women blest!
While I to sorrows am no less advanc'd,
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 obtain'd to shelter him or me


From the bleak air; a stable was our warmth,
A manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly
Thence into Egypt, till the murd'rous king
Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill'd
With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem;

From Egypt home return'd, 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, acknowledg'd, as I hear,


By John the Baptist, and in public shown,

Son own'd from Heaven by his Father's voice; 85
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


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 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


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