Page images
PDF
EPUB

A gloomy consistory; and them amidst,

With looks aghast and sad, he thus bespake.
O ancient Powers 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 rul'd,
In manner at our will, the affairs of earth,
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve
Lost Paradise, deceiv'd 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 Heaven
Delay, for longest time to him is short;
And now, too soon for us, the circling hours
This dreaded time have compass'd, wherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long-threaten'd wound,
(At least if so we can and by thy head
Broken be not intended all our power

To be infring'd, our freedom and our being,
In this fair empire won of earth and air,)
For this ill news I bring, the Woman's Seed,
Destin'd 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 flower, 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
Protends 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 baptiz'd;
Not thence to be more pure, but to receive
The testimony of Heaven, that who he is
Thenceforth the nations may not doubt: I saw
The Prophet do him reverence: on him, rising
Out of the water, Heaven above the clouds
Unfold her crystal doors; thence on his head
A perfect dove descend, (whate'er it meant,)
And out of Heaven the sovran voice I heard,
"This is my Son belov'd, in him am pleas'd."
His mother then is mortal, but his Sire
He who obtains the monarchy of Heaven :
And what will he not do to advance his Son?
His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,
When his fierce 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 oppos'd,

(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 the exploit perform'd
Successfully: a calmer voyage now

Will waft me; and the way, found
Induces best to hope of like success.

prosperous once,

He ended, and his words impression left
Of much amazement to the infernal crew,
Distracted and surpris'd 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 thriv'd
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-declar'd,
This Man of Men, attested Son of God,

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »