Page images

Where winds with reeds and osiers whisp'ring play,
Main fishermen, no greater men them call,
C ose in a cottage low together got,
Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreath'd

Alas from what high hope to what relapse
Unlook'd for are we fallen ? our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now come, so long
Expected of our fathers; we have heard
His words, his wisdom, full of grace and truch
Now, now, for sure deliverance is at hand,
The kingdom shall to Israel be restored :
Thus we rejoic’d, but soon our joy is turn'i
Into perplexits and new amaze :
For whither is he gone, what accident
Hath rapt him from us? will be au retire
After appearance, and gain prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel,
Send thy Messiah forth, he lins is come,
Behold the kings of th' ear'cow they oppress
Thy chosen, to what heights their power unjust
They have exalted, and behind them cast
All fear of thee: arise and vindicate
Thy glory, free thy people from their yoke.
Bui let us wait; thus far he hath performed,
Sent his anointed, and to us revealed 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 is with his bless'd sight, then snatch bin

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 tho' calm, her breast tho' 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 honour high
To have conceiv'd of God, or that salute,
i fail highly favour'd among women bless'd !
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,

manger his; yet soon enforc'd to fly
Thience 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;
I look'd for some great change : to honour ? no,
But trouble ; as old Simeon plain foretold,
'That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israel and to a sign ..
Spoken against, that through iny very soul
A sword shall pierce. This is my favour'd lot,
My exaltation to afflictions high:
Amicted I may be, it seems, and bless'd :
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,
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, pondering oft, and oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts
Meekly compos d awaited the fulfiling ;
The while her Son tracing the desert wild;
Sole, but with holiest meditations fed,
Into himself descended, and at once
Ali 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,
Solicitious and blank, he thus began :

Princes, heaven's ancient sons, ethereal thrones
Demonian spirits now, from th' element
Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call'd
Pow'rs of fire, air, water, and earth beneath,
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,
If he be man by mother's side at least,
With more than human gifts from heaven adom'a
Perfections absolute, graces divine
And amplitude of mind to greatest deeds :
Therefore I am returned, lest confidence

Of my success with Eve in Paradise
Deceive ye to persuasion over-sure
Of like succeeding here ; I summon ali
Rather to be in readiness, with hand
Or counsel to assist ; lest I, who erst
Thought none my equal, now be over-inatch'd.

So spake th' 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,
The sensuallest, 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 l'ersuasive, 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 objects 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, beguild the heart Of wisest Solomon, and made him, build, And made him bow to the gods of his wives.

To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd · Belial, in much uneven scale thou weigh'st All others by thyself: because of old Thou thyself doat'dst on womankind, 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 not we seen, or by relation heard, In courts and regal chambers how thou lurk'st In wood, or grove, by mossy fountain side . all 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 Faun, 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 Ali her assaults, on worthier things intent? Remember that Pellean conquerer, A youth, how all the beauties of the east He slightly view'd, and slightly overpass'do 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 woman lay expos’d: But he whom we attempt, is wiser far Than Solomom, oi more exalted mind, Made and set wholly on th'accomplishment Of greatest things : what woman will you find; Though of this age the wonder and the fame, On whom his leisure will vouchsafe an eye or 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 teli, How would one look from his majestic brow Seated as on the top of virtue's hill, Discount’nance her despis’d, and put to roul

« PreviousContinue »