Книга Paradise Regained. Содержание - THE SECOND BOOK

Inspired: disdain not such access to me."

To whom our Saviour, with unaltered 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, bowling low

His gray dissimulation, disappeared,

Into thin air diffused: for now began

Night with her sullen wing to double-shade

The desert; fowls in their clay nests were couched;

And now wild beasts came forth the woods to roam.


MEANWHILE the new-baptized, who yet remained

At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen

Him whom they heard so late expressly called

Jesus Messiah, Son of God, declared,

And on that high authority had believed,

And with him talked, and with him lodged-I mean

Andrew and Simon, famous after known,

With others, though in Holy Writ not named-

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 increased, increased their doubt.

Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,

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

Sought lost Eliah, so in each place these

Nigh to Bethabara-in Jericho

The city of palms, AEnon, and Salem old,

Machaerus, and each town or city walled

On this side the broad lake Genezaret,

Or in Peraea-but returned in vain.

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a creek,

Where winds with reeds and osiers whispering play,

Plain fishermen (no greater men them call),

Close in a cottage low together got,

Their unexpected loss and plaints outbreathed:-

"Alas, from what high hope to what relapse

Unlooked 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 restored:'

Thus we rejoiced, but soon our joy is turned

Into perplexity and new amaze.

For whither is he gone? what accident

Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire

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 highth 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!

But 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 conversed.

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 recall-

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 returned 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 raised

Some troubled thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad:-

"Oh, what avails me now that honour high,

To have conceived of God, or that salute,

'Hail, highly favoured, among women blest!'

While I to sorrows am no less advanced,

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 obtained to shelter him or me

From the bleak air? A stable was our warmth,

A manger his; yet soon enforced to fly

Thence into Egypt, till the murderous king

Were dead, who sought his life, and, missing, filled

With infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.

From Egypt home returned, 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, acknowledged, as I hear,

By John the Baptist, and in public shewn,

Son owned from Heaven by his Father's voice,

I looked 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 my very soul

A sword shall pierce. This is my favoured 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 mused-

Since understand; much more his absence now

Thus long to some great purpose he obscures.

But I to wait with patience am inured;

My heart hath been a storehouse long of things

And sayings laid up, pretending strange events."

Thus Mary, pondering oft, and oft to mind

Recalling what remarkably had passed

Since first her Salutation heard, with thoughts

Meekly composed 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

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 sate.

There, without sign of boast, or sign of joy,

Solicitous and blank, he thus began:— 

"Princes, Heaven's ancient Sons, AEthereal Thrones-

Daemonian Spirits now, from the element

Each of his reign allotted, rightlier called

Powers 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 impowered,

Have found him, viewed 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 adorned,

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 all

Rather to be in readiness with hand

Or counsel to assist, lest I, who erst

Thought none my equal, now be overmatched."

So spake the old Serpent, doubting, and from all

With clamour was assured their utmost aid

At his command; when from amidst them rose

Belial, the dissolutest Spirit that fell,

The sensualest, and, after Asmodai,

The fleshliest Incubus, and thus advised:-

"Set women in his eye and in his walk,

Among daughters of men the fairest found.

© 2012-2016 Электронная библиотека booklot.ru