Paradise Regained - Book Ib (thing)
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Tue Sep 26 2000 at 22:47:47
"O what a
of thoughts at once
Awakened in me
What from within I feel myself, and
What from without comes often to my ears,
Ill sorting with my present state
When I was yet a child, no
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do,
What might be
; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all
All righteous things
. Therefore, above my
The Law of
I read, and found it sweet;
Made it my whole
, and in it grew
To such perfection that, ere yet my age
Had measured twice
years, at our great
I went into the
, there to
The teachers of our
, and to propose
What might improve my
or their own,
And was admired by all. Yet this not all
To which my spirit aspired.
in my heart,
Then to subdue and quell, o'er all the
Till truth were
, and equity
Yet held it more humane, more heavenly, first
By winning words to
At least to try, and teach the erring
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon
By words at times cast forth, inly
And said to me apart, 'High are thy thoughts,
O Son! but nourish them, and let them
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage,
is the Eternal
, Angels and sons of men.
A messenger from
foretold thy birth
Conceived in me a
; he foretold
Thou shouldst be great, and sit on
's throne, 240
And of thy
there should be no end.
At thy nativity a
, in the fields of
, watching at their folds by night,
And told them the
Where they might see him; and to thee they came,
Directed to the manger where thou lay'st;
For in the inn was left no better room.
A Star, not seen before, in
thither from the
To honour thee with
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star, new-graven in
By which they knew thee
, found thee in the
, and spake,
Before the altar and the vested
Like things of thee to all that present stood.'
, straight I again revolved
, searching what was writ 260
, to our scribes
Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am--this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay, even to the death,
Ere I the promised
Or work redemption for
, whose sins'
Full weight must be
upon my head.
Yet, neither thus
I waited; when behold
(of whose birth I oft had heard, 270
Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come
, and his way prepare!
I, as all others, to his baptism came,
Which I believed was from above; but he
Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaimed
Me him (for it was shewn him so from
Me him whose
he was; and first
Refused on me his
As much his greater, and was hardly won.
But, as I rose out of the laving
opened her eternal doors, from whence
descended on me like a
And last, the sum of all, my
Audibly heard from
, pronounced me his,
Me his beloved
, in whom alone
He was well pleased: by which I knew the time
Now full, that I no more should live
But openly begin, as best
The authority which I
And now by some strong motion I am led 290
; to what intent
I learn not yet. Perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my
So spake our
, then in his rise,
And, looking round, on every side beheld
, dusk with horrid shades.
The way he came, not having
Was difficult, by
And he still on was led, but with such
Accompanied of things past and to come 300
Lodged in his breast as well might recommend
Such solitude before choicest society.
Full forty days he passed--whether on hill
Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night
Under the covert of some ancient oak
Or cedar to defend him from the dew,
Or harboured in one cave, is not revealed;
Nor tasted human food, nor hunger felt,
Till those days ended; hungered then at last
Among wild beasts. They at his sight grew mild, 310
Nor sleeping him nor waking harmed; his walk
The fiery serpent fled and noxious worm;
The lion and fierce tiger glared aloof.
But now an aged man in rural weeds,
Following, as seemed, the quest of some stray eye,
Or withered sticks to gather, which might serve
Against a winter's day, when winds blow keen,
To warm him wet returned from field at eve,
He saw approach; who first with curious eye
Perused him, then with words thus uttered spake:-- 320
"Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place,
So far from path or road of men, who pass
In troop or caravan? for single none
Durst ever, who returned, and dropt not here
His carcass, pined with hunger and with droughth.
I ask the rather, and the more admire,
For that to me thou seem'st the man whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the ford
Of Jordan honoured so, and called thee
. I saw and heard, for we sometimes 330
Who dwell this wild, constrained by want, come forth
To town or
nigh (nighest is far),
Where aught we hear, and
are to hear,
What happens new; fame also finds us out."
To whom the
Son of God
Will bring me hence; no other guide I seek."
he may," replied the
"What other way I see not; for we here
Live on tough
and stubs, to thirst inured
More than the
, and to drink go far-- 340
Men to much misery and hardship born.
But, if thou be the
Son of God
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread;
So shalt thou save thyself, and us relieve
With food, whereof we wretched
He ended, and the
Son of God
"Think'st thou such force in
? Is it not written
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st),
Man lives not by bread only, but each word
Proceeding from the mouth of
, who fed 350
Our fathers here with
? In the
, nor eat nor drank;
And forty days
Wandered this barren
; the same I now.
Why dost thou, then, suggest to me distrust
Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?"
Whom thus answered the
"'Tis true, I am that
Who, leagued with millions more in rash
Kept not my happy station, but was driven 360
With them from bliss to the
Yet to that hideous place not so
but that oft,
, I enjoy
Large liberty to round this globe of
Or range in the
; nor from the
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
I came, among the
Sons of God
, when he
Gave up into my hands
To prove him, and
his high worth; 370
And, when to all his
To draw the proud
That he might fall in
I undertook that office, and the
Of all his flattering
glibbed with lies
, as I had in charge:
For what he bids I do. Though I have lost
Much lustre of my
To be beloved of
, I have not lost
To love, at least
What I see excellent in good, or fair,
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense.
What can be then less in me than desire
To see thee and approach thee, whom I know
Son of God
, to hear attent
Thy wisdom, and behold thy
Men generally think me much a foe
. Why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or
. By them
I lost not what I lost; rather by them 390
I gained what I have gained, and with them dwell
in these regions of the
If not disposer--lend them oft my
Oft my advice by
And answers, oracles,
, and dreams,
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy, they say, excites me, thus to gain
of my misery and woe!
At first it may be; but, long since with woe
Nearer acquainted, now I feel by
in pain divides not smart,
Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load;
Small consolation, then, were
This wounds me most (what can it less?) that
, shall be
, I never more."
I like it!
Paradise Regained - Book Ic
Paradise Regained - Book Ia
Paradise Regained - Contents
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