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Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk, Smooth on the tongue discours'd, pleasing to th' ear, And tuneable as sylvan pipe or song;

What wonder then if I delight to hear

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Her dictates from thy mouth? most men admire
Virtue, who follow not her lore: permit me
To hear thee when I come, since no man comes,

And talk at least, though I despair to attain.
Thy Father, who is holy, wise, and pure,
Suffers the hypocrite or atheous priest
To tread his sacred courts, and minister
About his altar, handling holy things,
Praying or vowing, and vouchsaf'd his voice
To Balaam reprobate, a prophet yet
Inspir'd; disdain not such access to me.

To whom our Saviour with unalter'd brow.
Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope,
I bid not or forbid: do as thou find'st
Permission from above; thou canst not more.
He added not; and Satan, bowing low
His gray dissimulation, disappear'd

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490

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487 atheous] Cicero, speaking of Diagoras, 'Atheos qui dictus est.' De Nat. D. i. 23. 'Atheal' is not uncommon in old English. Dunster. Todd.

496 gray dissimulation] See Ford's Broken Heart; ed. Weber, p. 304.

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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.

499 thin] Virg. Æn. iv. 278.

'Et procul in tenuem ex oculis evanuit auram.' Shakesp. Temp. act iv. sc. 2.

'Are melted into air, into thin air.' Dunster. 500 Night] Nonnus ends the xxvth book of his Dionysiaca thus,

Καὶ σκιερὴν ἐμέλαινεν ὅλην χθόνα σιγαλέη νύξ·
Λαοὶ δ ̓ ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα χαμαιστρώτων ἐπὶ λέκτρων
Εσπερίῃ μετὰ δόρπον ὀρειάδι κάππεσον εὐνῇ.
500 double-shade] Ov. Met. xi. 550.

•‘Duplicataque noctis imago est.'

Dunster.

501 fowls] Beaumont's Psyche, c. xiii. st. 355, ed. 1648.

'Each gentle fair-condition'd bird and beast

Hied them unto their nests and dens

....

Only some ominous ravens, and screech owles prest
With beasts of prey and night, thro' the black air.'

308

PARADISE REGAINED.

BOOK II.

MEANWHILE 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,

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And with him talk'd, and with him lodg'd—I mean Andrew and Simon, famous after known,

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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 heaven, yet once again to come.
Therefore as those young prophets then with care

15

6 mean] See this expression in Harington's Ariosto, xxxi. 46. 'I mean Renaldo's House of Montalbane;' and st. 55. 'I mean the cruel Pagan Rodomont.' Newton.

18 shown] Virg. Æn. vi. 869.

'Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata.'

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,
Or in Perea; but return'd in vain.

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,

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25

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 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 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 :

35

23 broad] Broad' is not opposed to long, but means 'large;' in this sense it is often used by the old English poets, and thus their modern imitator, 'He knew her of broad lands the heir.' Marmion, c. ii. st. xxvii. The lake of Genezaret is eighteen miles long, and only five broad.

25 Jordan] Giles Fletcher's Christ's Victorie and Triumph ed. 1632, p. 49:

'Or whistling reeds, that rutty Jordan laves.' A. Dyce. 27 no greater] Spenser in the beginning of Sheph. Cal.

'A shepherd's boy, no better do him call.' Newton. 30 what] So first edition, in most others, that.' Newton

For whither is he gone; what accident

Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire 40 After appearance, and again prolong

Our expectation? God of Israel,

Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;
Behold the kings of the earth, how they oppress
Thy chosen, to what height 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,

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Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall, Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence ;

Soon we shall see our hope, our joy return.

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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

pure,

Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais'd

Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus

clad.

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