by John Milton
BOOK I -
I WHO erewhile the happy Garden sung
By one man's disobedience lostnow sing
Recover'd Paradise to all mankind
By one man's firm obedience fully tried
Through all temptationand the Tempter foil'd
In all his wilesdefeated and repuls't
And Eden rais'd in the waste Wilderness.
Thou Spirit who led'st this glorious Eremite
Into the Deserthis Victorious Field
Against the Spiritual Foeand brought'st him thence
By proof the undoubted Son of Godinspire
As thou art wontmy prompted Songelse mute
And bear through highth or depth of nature's bounds
With prosperous wing full summ'd to tell of deeds
Above Heroicthough in secret done
And unrecorded left through many an Age
Worthy t' have not remain'd so long unsung.
Now had the great Proclaimer with a voice
More awful than the sound of Trumpetcried
Repentanceand Heaven's Kingdom nigh at hand
To all Baptiz'd: to his great Baptism flock'd
With awe the Regions roundand with them came
From Nazareth the Son of Joseph deem'd
To the flood Jordancame as then obscure
Unmarktunknown; but him the Baptist soon
Descrieddivinely warn'dand witness bore
As to his worthierand would have resign'd
To him his Heavenly Officenor was long
His witness unconfirm'd; on him baptiz'd
Heaven open'dand in likeness of a Dove
The Spirit descendedwhile the Father's voice
From Heav'n pronounc'd him his beloved Son.
That heard the Adversarywho roving still
About the worldat that assembly fam'd
Would not be lastand with the voice divine
Nigh Thunder-struckth' exalted manto whom
Such high attest was giv'na while survey'd
With wonderthen with envy fraught and rage
Flies to his placenor restsbut in mid air
To Council summons all his mighty Peers
Within thick Clouds and dark ten-fold involv'd
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 Conquestthan remember Hell
Our hated habitation- well ye know
How many Agesas the years of men
This Universe we have possestand rul'd
In manner at our will th' affairs of Earth
Since Adam and his facile consort Eve
Lost Paradise deceiv'd by methough since
With dread attending when that fatal wound
Shall be inflicted by the Seed of Eve
Upon my head. Long the decrees of Heav'n
Delayfor longest time to him is short;
And now too soon for us the circling hours
This dreaded time have compastwherein we
Must bide the stroke of that long threat'n'd wound
At least if so we canand by the head
Broken be not intended all our power
To be infring'dour freedom and our being
In this fair Empire won of Earth and Air;
For this ill news I bringthe Woman's seed
Destin'd to thisis late of woman born:
His birth to our just fear gave no small cause
But his growth now to youth's full flow'rdisplaying
All virtuegrace and wisdom to achieve
Things highestgreatestmultiplies my fear.
Before him a great Prophetto proclaim
His comingis sent Harbingerwho all
Invitesand in the Consecrated stream
Pretends to wash off sinand fit them so
Purified to receive him pureor rather
To do him honour as their King; all come
And he himself among them was baptiz'd
Not thence to be more purebut to receive
The testimony of Heaventhat who he is
Thenceforth the Nations may not doubt; I saw
The Prophet do him reverence; on him rising
Out of the waterHeav'n above the Clouds
Unfold her Crystal Doorsthence on his head
A perfect Dove descendwhate'er it meant
And out of Heav'n the Sovran voice I heard
This is my Son belov'din him am pleas'd.
His Mother then is mortalbut his Sire
He who obtains the Monarchy of Heav'n
And what will he not do to advance his Son?
His first-begot we knowand sore have felt
When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep;
Who this is we must learnfor man he seems
In all his lineamentsthough in his face
The glimpses of his Father's glory shine.
Ye see our danger on the utmost edge
Of hazardwhich admits no long debate
But must with something sudden be oppos'd
Not forcebut well couch't fraudwell woven snares
Ere in the head of Nations he appear
Their Kingtheir Leaderand Supreme on Earth.
Iwhen no other durstsole undertook
The dismal expedition to find out
And ruin Adamand the exploit perform'd
Successfully; a calmer voyage now
Will waft me; and the way found prosperous once
Induces best to hope of like success.
He endedand his words impression left
Of much amazement to th' 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 Dictatorwhose attempt
At first against mankind so well had thriv'd
In Adam's overthrowand led thir march
From Hell's deep-vaulted Den to dwell in light
Regents and Potentatesand Kingsyea gods
Of many a pleasant Realm and Province wide.
So to the Coast of Jordan he directs
His easy stepsgirded with snaky wiles
Where he might likeliest find this new-declar'd
This man of menattested Son of God
Temptation and all guile on him to try
So to subvert whom he suspected rais'd
To end his Reign on Earth so long enjoy'd:
But contrary unweeting he fulfill'd
The purpos'd Counsel pre-ordain'd and fixt
Of the most Highwhoin full frequence bright
Of Angelsthus to Gabriel smiling spake.
Gabrielthis day by proof thou shalt behold
Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth
With man or men's affairshow I begin
To verify that solemn message late
On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure
In Galileethat she should bear a Son
Great in Renownand call'd the Son of God;
Then told'st her doubting how these things could be
To her a Virginthat on her should come
The Holy Ghostand the power of the highest
O'er-shadow her: this man born and now up-grown
To show him worthy of his birth divine
And high predictionhenceforth I expose
To Satan; let him tempt and now assay
His utmost subletybecause he boasts
And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng
Of his Apostasy; he might have learnt
Less over-weeningsince he fail'd in Job
Whose constant perseverance overcame
Whate'er his cruel malice could invent.
He now shall know I can produce a man
Of female Seedfar abler to resist
All his solicitationsand at length
All his vast forceand drive him back to Hell
Winning by Conquest what the first man lost
By fallacy surpris'd. But first I mean
To exercise him in the Wilderness;
There he shall first lay down the rudiments
Of his great warfareere I send him forth
To conquer Sin and Death the two grand foes
By Humiliation and strong Sufferance:
His weakness shall o'ercome Satanic strength
And all the worldand mass of sinful flesh;
That all the Angels and Ethereal Powers
They nowand men hereaftermay discern
From what consummate virtue I have chose
This perfect Manby merit call'd my Son
To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.
So spake the Eternal Fatherand all Heaven
Admiring stood a spacethen into Hymns
Burst forthand in Celestial measures mov'd
Circling the Throne and Singingwhile the hand
Sung with the voiceand this the argument.
Victory and Triumph to the Son of God
Now ent'ring his great duelnot of arms
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure
Ventures his filial Virtuethough untried
Against whate'er may temptwhate'er seduce
Allureor terrifyor undermine.
Be frustrateall ye stratagems of Hell
And devilish machinations come to nought.
So they in Heav'n their Odes and Vigils tun'd.
Meanwhile the Son of Godwho yet some days
Lodg'd in Bethabara where John baptiz'd
Musing and much revolving in his breast
How best the mighty work he might begin
Of Saviour to mankindand which way first
Publish his God-like office now mature
One day forth walk'd alonethe Spirit leading
And his deep thoughtsthe better to converse
With solitudetill far from track of men
Thought following thoughtand step by step led on
He enter'd now the bordering Desert wild
And with dark shades and rocks environ'd round
His holy Meditations thus pursu'd.
O what a multitude of thoughts at once
Awak'n'd in me swarmwhile I consider
What from within I feel myselfand hear
What from without comes often to my ears
Ill sorting with my present state compar'd.
When I was yet a childno childish play
To me was pleasingall my mind was set
Serious to learn and knowand thence to do
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that endborn to promote all truth
All righteous things: therefore above my years
The Law of God I readand found it sweet
Made it my whole delightand in it grew
To such perfection thatere yet my age
Had measur'd twice six yearsat our great Feast
I went into the Templethere to hear
The Teachers of our Lawand to propose
What might improve my knowledge or their own;
And was admir'd by all: yet this not all
To which my Spirit aspir'dvictorious deeds
Flam'd in my heartheroic acts; one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke
Then to subdue and quell o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud Tyrannic pow'r
Till truth were freedand equity restor'd:
Yet held it more humanemore heavenlyfirst
By winning words to conquer willing hearts
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to tryand teach the erring Soul
Not wilfully mis-doingbut unaware
Misled: the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my Mother soon perceiving
By words at times cast forthinly rejoic'd
And said to me aparthigh are thy thoughts
O Sonbut nourish them and let them soar
To what highth sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise themthough above example high;
By matchless Deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For knowthou art no Son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of Parentage
Thy Father is the Eternal Kingwho rules
All Heaven and EarthAngels and Sons of men.
A messenger from God fore-told thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a Virgin; he fore-told
Thou shouldst be great and sit on David's Throne
And of thy Kingdom there should be no end.
At thy Nativity a glorious Quire
Of Angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung
To Shepherds watching at their folds by night
And told them the Messiah now was born
Where they might see himand to thee they came
Directed to the Manger where thou lay'st
For in the Inn was left no better room.
A Starnot seen beforein Heaven appearing
Guided the Wise Men thither from the East
To honour thee with IncenseMyrrhand Gold
By whose bright course led on they found the place
Affirming it thy Star new grav'n in Heaven
By which they knew thee King of Israel born.
Just Simeon and Prophetic Annawarn'd
By Visionfound thee in the Templeand spake
Before the Altar and the vested Priest
Like things of thee to all that present stood.
This having heardstraight I again revolv'd
The Law and Prophetssearching what was writ
Concerning the Messiahto our Scribes
Known partlyand soon found of whom they spake
I am; this chieflythat my way must lie
Through many a hard assay even to the death
Ere I the promis'd Kingdom can attain
Or work Redemption for mankindwhose sins'
Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head.
Yet neither thus dishearten'd or dismay'd
The time prefixt I waitedwhen behold
The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard
Not knew by sight) now comewho was to come
Before Messiah and his way prepare.
I as all others to his Baptism came
Which I believ'd was from above; but he
Straight knew meand with loudest voice proclaim'd
Me him (for it was shown him so from Heaven)
Me him whose Harbinger he was; and first
Refus'd on me his Baptism to confer
As much his greaterand was hardly won.
But as I rose out of the laving stream
Heaven open'd her eternal doorsfrom whence
The Spirit descended on me like a Dove;
And last the sum of allmy Father's voice
Audibly heard from Heav'npronounc'd me his
Me his beloved Sonin whom alone
He was well pleas'd; by which I knew the time
Now fullthat I no more should live obscure
But openly beginas best becomes
The Authority which I deriv'd from Heaven.
And now by some strong motion I am led
Into this Wildernessto what intent
I learn not yet; perhaps I need not know;
For what concerns my knowledge God reveals.
So spake our Morning Star then in his rise
And looking round on every side beheld
A pathless Desertdusk with horrid shades;
The way he came not having mark'dreturn
Was difficultby human steps untrod;
And he still on was ledbut with such thoughts
Accompanied of things past and to come
Lodg'd in his breastas well might recommend
Such Solitude before choicest Society.
Full forty days he pass'dwhether on hill
Sometimesanon in shady valeeach night
Under the covert of some ancient Oak
Or Cedarto defend him from the dew
Or harbour'd in one Caveis not reveal'd;
Nor tasted human foodnor hunger felt
Till those days endedhunger'd then at last
Among wild Beasts: they at his sight grew mild
Nor sleeping him nor waking harm'dhis walk
The fiery Serpent fledand noxious Worm
The Lion and fierce Tiger glar'd aloof.
But now an aged man in Rural weeds
Followingas seem'dthe quest of some stray Ewe
Or wither'd sticks to gatherwhich might serve
Against a Winter's day when winds blow keen
To warm him wet return'd from field at Eve
He saw approach; who first with curious eye
Perus'd himthen with words thus utter'd spake.
Sirwhat ill chance hath brought thee to this place
So far from path or road of menwho pass
In Troop or Caravanfor single none
Durst everwho return'dand dropt not here
His Carcasepin'd with hunger and with drought?
I ask the ratherand the more admire
For that to me thou seem'st the man whom late
Our new baptizing Prophet at the Ford
Of Jordan honour'd soand call'd thee Son
Of God; I saw and heardfor we sometimes
Who dwell this wildconstrain'd by wantcome forth
To Town or Village nigh (nighest is far)
Where aught we hearand curious are to hear
What happ'ns new; Fame also finds us out.
To whom the Son of God. Who brought me hither
Will bring me henceno other Guide I seek.
By Miracle he mayreplied the Swain
What other way I see notfor we here
Live on tough roots and stubsto thirst inur'd
More than the Cameland to drink go far
Men to much misery and hardship born;
But if thou be the Son of GodCommand
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread;
So shalt thou save thyself and us relieve
With Foodwhereof we wretched seldom taste.
He endedand the Son of God replied.
Think'st thou such force in Bread? is it not written
(For I discern thee other than thou seem'st)
Man lives not by Bread onlybut each Word
Proceeding from the mouth of Godwho fed
Our Fathers here with Manna? In the Mount
Moses was forty daysnor eat nor drank
And forty days Eliah without food
Wander'd this barren wastethe same I now:
Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust
Knowing who I amas I know who thou art?
Whom thus answer'd th' Arch Fiend now undisguis'd.
'Tis trueI am that Spirit unfortunate
Wholeagu'd with millions more in rash revolt
Kept not my happy Stationbut was driv'n
With them from bliss to the bottomless deep
Yet to that hideous place not so confin'd
By rigour unconnivingbut that oft
Leaving my dolorous PrisonI enjoy
Large liberty to round this Globe of Earth
Or range in th' Airnor from the Heav'n of Heav'ns
Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.
I came among the Sons of Godwhen he
Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job
To prove himand illustrate his high worth;
And when to all his Angels he propos'd
To draw the proud King Ahab into fraud
That he might fall in Ramoththey demurring
I undertook that officeand the tongues
Of all his flattering Prophets glibb'd with lies
To his destructionas I had in charge;
For what he bids I do. Though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightnesslost
To be belov'd of GodI have not lost
To loveat least contemplate and admire
What I see excellent in goodor fair
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense.
What can be then less in me than desire
To see thee and approach theewhom I know
Declar'd the Son of Godto hear attent
Thy wisdomand behold thy God-like deeds?
Men generally think me much a foe
To all mankind: why should I? they to me
Never did wrong or violence; by them
I lost not what I lostrather by them
I gain'd what I have gain'dand with them dwell
Copartner in these Regions of the World
If not disposer; lend them oft my aid
Oft my advice by presages and signs
And answersoraclesportents and dreams
Whereby they may direct their future life.
Envy they say excites methus to gain
Companions of my misery and woe.
At first it may be; but long since with woe
Nearer acquaintednow I feel by proof
That fellowship in pain divides not smart
Nor lightens aught each man's peculiar load:
Small consolation thenwere Man adjoin'd.
This wounds me most (what can it less) that Man
Man fall'n shall be restor'dI never more.
To whom our Saviour sternly thus replied.
Deservedly thou griev'stcompos'd of lies
From the beginningand in lies wilt end;
Who boast'st release from Helland leave to come
Into the Heav'n of Heavens; thou com'st indeed
As a poor miserable captive thrall
Comes to the place where he before had sat
Among the Prime in Splendornow depos'd
A spectacle of ruin or of scorn
To all the Host of Heaven; the happy place
Imparts to thee no happinessno joy
Rather inflames thy tormentrepresenting
Lost blissto thee no more communicable
So never more in Hell than when in Heaven.
But thou art serviceable to Heaven's King.
Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear
Extortsor pleasure to do ill excites?
What but thy malice mov'd thee to misdeem
Of righteous Jobthen cruelly to afflict him
With all inflictions? But his patience won.
The other service was thy chosen task
To be a liar in four hundred mouths;
For lying is thy sustenancethy food.
Yet thou pretend'st to truth; all Oracles
By thee are giv'nand what confest more true
Among the Nations? That hath been thy craft
By mixing somewhat true to vent more lies.
But what have been thy answerswhat but dark
Ambiguous and with double sense deluding
Which they who ask'd have seldom understood
And not well understood as good not known?
Who ever by consulting at thy shrine
Return'd the wiseror the more instruct
To fly or follow what concern'd him most
And run not sooner to his fatal snare?
For God hath justly giv'n the Nations up
To thy Delusions; justlysince they fell
Idolatrous; but when his purpose is
Among them to declare his Providence
To thee not knownwhence hast thou then thy truth
But from him or his Angels President
In every Provincewhothemselves disdaining
To approach thy Templesgive thee in command
What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say
To thy Adorers? thou with trembling fear
Or like a Fawning Parasite obey'st;
Then to thyself ascrib'st the truth fore-told.
But this thy glory shall be soon retrench'd;
No more shalt thou by oracling abuse
The Gentiles; henceforth Oracles are ceast
And thou no more with Pomp and Sacrifice
Shalt be inquir'd at Delphos or elsewhere
At least in vainfor they shall find thee mute.
God hath now sent his living Oracle
Into the Worldto teach his final will
And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell
In pious Heartsan inward Oracle
To all truth requisite for men to know.
So spake our Saviour; but the subtle Fiend
Though inly stung with anger and disdain
Dissembl'dand this answer smooth return'd.
Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke
And urg'd me hard with doingswhich not will
But misery hath wrested from me; where
Easily canst thou find one miserable
And not inforc'd oft-times to part from truth;
If it may stand him more in stead to lie
Say and unsayfeignflatteror abjure?
But thou art plac't above methou art Lord;
From thee I can and must submiss endure
Check or reproofand glad to scape so quit.
Hard are the ways of truthand rough to walk
Smooth on the tongue discourstpleasing to th' ear
And tuneable as Silvan Pipe or Song;
What wonder then if I delight to hear
Her dictates from thy mouth? most men admire
Virtuewho follow not her lore: permit me
To hear thee when I come (since no man comes)
And talk at leastthough I despair to attain.
Thy Fatherwho is holywise and pure
Suffers the Hypocrite or Atheous Priest
To tread his Sacred Courtsand minister
About his Altarhandling holy things
Praying or vowingand vouchsaf'd his voice
To Balaam Reprobatea Prophet yet
Inspir'd; disdain not such access to me.
To whom our Saviour with unalter'd brow.
Thy coming hitherthough 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 Satanbowing low
His gray dissimulationdisappear'd
Into thin Air diffus'd: for now began
Night with her sullen wing to double-shade
The Desert; Fowls in thir clay nests were couch't;
And now wild Beasts came forth the woods to roam.
BOOK II -
MEANWHILE the new baptiz'dwho yet remain'd
At Jordan with the Baptistand had seen
Him whom they heard so late expressly call'd
Jesus MessiahSon of God declar'd
And on that high Authority had believ'd
And with him talktand with him lodg'dI mean
Andrew and Simonfamous after known
With others though in Holy Writ not nam'd
Now missing him thir joy so lately found
So lately foundand so abruptly gone
Began to doubtand doubted many days
And as the days increas'dincreas'd thir doubt:
Sometimes they thought he might be only shown
And for a time caught up to Godas once
Moses was in the Mountand missing long;
And the great Thisbite who on fiery wheels
Rode up to Heavenyet once again to come.
Therefore as those young Prophets then with care
Sought lost Eliahso in each place these
Nigh to Bethabara; in Jericho
The City of PalmsAenonand Salem Old
Machaerus and each Town or City wall'd
On this side the broad lake Genezaret
Or in Peraeabut return'd in vain.
Then on the bank of Jordanby a Creek
Where winds with Reeds and Osiers whisp'ring play
Plain Fishermen(no greater men them call)
Close in a Cottage low together got
Thir unexpected loss and plaints out breath'd.
Alasfrom what high hope to what relapse
Unlook'd for are we fall'n! Our eyes beheld
Messiah certainly now comeso long
Expected of our Fathers; we have heard
His wordshis wisdom full of grace and truth
Nownowfor suredeliverance is at hand
The Kingdom shall to Israel be restor'd:
Thus we rejoic'dbut soon our joy is turn'd
Into perplexity and new amaze:
For whither is he gonewhat accident
Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire
After appearanceand again prolong
Our expectation? God of Israel
Send thy Messiah forththe time is come;
Behold the Kings of the Earth how they oppress
Thy chosento what highth thir pow'r unjust
They have exaltedand behind them cast
All fear of thee; arise and vindicate
Thy Gloryfree thy people from thir yoke!
But let us wait; thus far he hath perform'd
Sent his Anointedand to us reveal'd him
By his great Prophetpointed at and shown
In publicand with him we have convers'd;
Let us be glad of thisand all our fears
Lay on his Providence; he will not fail
Nor will withdraw him nownor will recall
Mock us with his blest sightthen snatch him hence
Soon we shall see our hopeour joy return.
Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume
To find whom at the first they found unsought:
But to his Mother Marywhen she saw
Others return'd from Baptismnot her Son
Nor left at Jordantidings of him none;
Within her breastthough calmher breast though pure
Motherly cares and fears got headand rais'd
Some troubl'd thoughtswhich she in sighs thus clad.
O what avails me now that honour high
To have conceiv'd of Godor that salute
Hail highly favour'damong women blest!
While I to sorrows am no less advanc't
And fears as eminentabove the lot
Of other womenby 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
A Manger his; yet soon enforc't to fly
Thence into Egypttill the Murd'rous King
Were deadwho sought his lifeand missing fill'd
With Infant blood the streets of Bethlehem.
From Egypt home return'din Nazareth
Hath been our dwelling many yearshis life
Little suspicious to any King; but now
Full grown to Manacknowledg'das I hear
By John the Baptistand in public shown
Son own'd from Heaven by his Father's voice;
I look't for some great change; to Honour? no
But troubleas old Simon plain fore-told
That to the fall and rising he should be
Of many in Israeland to a sign
Spoken againstthat through my very Soul
A sword shall piercethis is my favour'd lot
My Exaltation to Afflictions high;
Afflicted I may beit seemsand blest;
I will not argue thatnor will repine.
But where delays he now? some great intent
Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen
I lost himbut so foundas 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 upportending strange events.
Thus Mary pondering oftand oft to mind
Recalling what remarkably had pass'd
Since first her Salutation heardwith thoughts
Meekly compos'd awaited the fulfilling:
The while her Son tracing the Desert wild
Solebut with holiest Meditations fed
Into himself descendedand at once
All his great work to come before him set;
How to beginhow to accomplish best
His end of being on Earthand mission high:
For Satan with sly preface to return
Had left him vacantand with speed was gone
Up to the middle Region of thick Air
Where all his Potentates in Council sat;
There without sign of boastor sign of joy
Solicitous and blank he thus began.
PrincesHeaven's ancient SonsEthereal Thrones
Demonian Spirits nowfrom the Element
Each of his reign allottedrightlier call'd
Powers of FireAirWaterand Earth beneath
So may we hold our place and these mild seats
Without new trouble; such an Enemy
Is ris'n to invade uswho no less
Threat'ns than our expulsion down to Hell.
Ias I undertookand with the vote
Consenting in full frequence was impow'r'd
Have found himview'd himtasted himbut 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 sideat least
With more than human gifts from Heav'n adorn'd
Perfections absoluteGraces divine
And amplitude of mind to greatest Deeds.
Therefore I am return'dlest 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 equalnow be over-match'd.
So spake the old Serpent doubtingand from all
With clamor was assur'd thir utmost aid
At his command; when from amidst them rose
Belial the dissolutest Spirit that fell
The sensuallestand after Asmodai
The fleshliest Incubusand 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 Creaturesgraceful and discreet
Expert in amorous Artsenchanting tongues
PersuasiveVirgin majesty with mild
And sweet allay'dyet terrible to approach
Skill'd to retireand in retiring draw
Hearts after them tangl'd in Amorous Nets.
Such object hath the power to soft'n and tame
Severest tempersmooth the rugged'st brow
Enerveand with voluptuous hope dissolve
Draw out with credulous desireand lead
At will the manliestresolutest breast
As the Magnetic hardest Iron draws.
Womenwhen nothing elsebeguil'd the heart
Of wisest Solomonand made him build
And made him bow to the Gods of his Wives.
To whom quick answer Satan thus return'd.
Belialin much uneven scale thou weigh'st
All others by thyself; because of old
Thou thyself doat'st on womankindadmiring
Thir shapethir colourand attractive grace
None arethou think'stbut taken with such toys.
Before the Flood thou with thy lusty Crew
False titl'd Sons of Godroaming the Earth
Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men
And coupl'd with themand begot a race.
Have we not seenor by relation heard
In Courts and Regal Chambers how thou lurk'st
In Wood or Grove by mossy Fountain side
In Valley or Green Meadowto way-lay
Some beauty rareCalistoClymene
Or AmymoneSyrinxmany more
Too longthen lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd
Satyror Faunor Silvan? But these haunts
Delight not all; among the Sons of Men
How many have with a smile made small account
Of beauty and her lureseasily scorn'd
All her assaultson worthier things intent?
Remember that Pellean Conqueror
A youthhow all the Beauties of the East
He slightly view'dand slightly over-pass'd;
How hee surnam'd of Africa dismiss'd
In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid.
For Solomonhe liv'd at easeand full
Of honourwealthhigh fareaim'd not beyond
Higher design than to enjoy his State;
Thence to the bait of Women lay expos'd.
But he whom we attempt is wiser far
Than Solomonof more exalted mind
Made and set wholly on the 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
Of fond desire? or should she confident
As sitting Queen ador'd on Beauty's Throne
Descend with all her winning charms begirt
To enamouras the Zone of Venus once
Wrought that effect on loveso Fables tell;
How would one look from his Majestic brow
Seated as on the top of Virtue's hill
Discount'nance her despis'dand put to rout
All her array; her female pride deject
Or turn to reverent awe! for Beauty stands
In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive; cease to admireand all her Plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy
At every sudden slighting quite abasht:
Therefore with manlier objects we must try
His constancywith such as have more show
Of worthof honourgloryand popular praise;
Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck'd;
Or that which only seems to satisfy
Lawful desires of Naturenot beyond;
And now I know he hungers where no food
Is to be foundin the wide Wilderness;
The rest commit to meI shall let pass
No advantageand his strength as oft assay.
He ceas'dand heard thir grant in loud acclaim;
Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band
Of Spirits likest to himself in guile
To be at handand at his beck appear
If cause were to unfold some active Scene
Of various personseach to know his part;
Then to the Desert takes with these his flight;
Where still from shade to shade the Son of God
After forty days fasting had remain'd
Now hung'ring firstand to himself thus said.
Where will this end? four times ten days I have pass'd
Wand'ring this woody mazeand human food
Nor tastednor had appetite: that Fast
To Virtue I impute notor count part
Of what I suffer here; if Nature need not
Or God support Nature without repast
Though needingwhat praise is it to endure?
But now I feel I hungerwhich declares
Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God
Can satisfy that need some other way
Though hunger still remain: so it remain
Without this body's wastingI content me
And from the sting of Famine fear no harm
Nor mind itfed with better thoughts that feed
Mee hung'ring more to do my Father's will.
It was the hour of nightwhen thus the Son
Commun'd in silent walkthen laid him down
Under the hospitable covert nigh
Of trees thick interwoven; there he slept
And dream'das appetite is wont to dream
Of meats and drinksNature's refreshment sweet.
Him thoughthe by the Brook of Cherith stood
And saw the Ravens with thir horny beaks
Food to Elijah bringing Even and Morn
Though ravenoustaught to abstain from what they brought:
He saw the Prophet also how he fled
Into the Desertand how there he slept
Under a Juniper; then how awakt
He found his Supper on the coals prepar'd
And by the Angel was bid rise and eat
And eat the second time after repose
The strength whereof suffic'd him forty days;
Sometimes that with Elijah he partook
Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.
Thus wore out nightand now the Herald Lark
Left his ground-nesthigh tow'ring to descry
The morn's approachand greet her with his Song.
As lightly from his grassy Couch up rose
Our Saviourand found all was but a dream
Fasting he went to sleepand fasting wak'd.
Up to a hill anon his steps he rear'd
From whose high top to ken the prospect round
If Cottage were in viewSheep-cote or Herd;
But CottageHerd or Sheep-cote none he saw
Only in a bottom saw a pleasant Grove
With chant of tuneful Birds resounding loud.
Thither he bent his waydetermin'd there
To rest at noonand enter'd soon the shade
High rooft and walks beneathand alleys brown
That open'd in the midst of woody Scene;
Nature's own work it seem'd (Nature taught Art)
And to a Superstitious eye the haunt
Of Wood-Gods and Wood-Nymphs; he view'd it round
When suddenly a man before him stood
Not rustic as beforebut seemlier clad
As one in Cityor Courtor Palace bred
And with fair speech these words to him address'd.
With granted leave officious I return
But much more wonder that the Son of God
In this wild solitude so long should bide
Of all things destituteand well I know
Not without hunger. Others of some note
As story tellshave trod this Wilderness:
The Fugitive Bond-woman with her Son
Outcast Nebaiothyet found he relief
By a providing Angel; all the race
Of Israel here had famish'dhad not God
Rain'd from Heaven Manna; and that Prophet bold
Native of Thebez wand'ring here was fed
Twice by a voice inviting him to eat.
Of thee these forty days none hath regard
Forty and more deserted here indeed.
To whom thus Jesus; what conclud'st thou hence?
They all had needI as thou seest have none.
How hast thou hunger then? Satan replied.
Tell meif Food were now before thee set
Would'st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like
The giveranswer'd Jesus. Why should that
Cause thy refusalsaid the subtle Fiend
Hast thou not right to all Created things
Owe not all Creatures by just right to thee
Duty and Servicenor to stay till bid
But tender all their power? nor mention I
Meats by the Law uncleanor offer'd first
To Idolsthose young Daniel could refuse;
Nor proffer'd by an Enemythough who
Would scruple thatwith want opprest? behold
Nature asham'dor better to express
Troubl'd that thou shouldst hungerhath purvey'd
From all the Elements her choicest store
To treat thee as beseemsand as her Lord
With honour; only deign to sit and eat.
He spake no dreamfor as his words had end
Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld
In ample space under the broadest shade
A Table richly spreadin regal mode
With dishes pil'dand meats of noblest sort
And savourBeasts of chaseor Fowl of game
In pastry builtor from the spitor boil'd
Gris-amber-steam'd; all Fish from Sea or Shore
Freshetor purling Brookof shell or fin
And exquisitest namefor which was drain'd
Pontus and Lucrine Bayand Afric Coast.
Alas how simpleto these Cates compar'd
Was that crude Apple that diverted Eve!
And at a stately side-board by the wine
That fragrant smell diffus'din order stood
Tall stripling youths rich-cladof fairer hue
Than Ganymede or Hylas; distant more
Under the Trees now tripp'dnow solemn stood
Nymphs of Diana's trainand Naiades
With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn
And Ladies of th' Hesperidesthat seem'd
Fairer than feign'd of oldor fabl'd since
Of Fairy Damsels met in Forest wide
By Knights of Logresor of Lyones
Lancelot or Pelleasor Pellenore;
And all the while Harmonious Airs were heard
Of chiming stringsor charming pipesand winds
Of gentlest gale Arabian odours fann'd
From their soft wingsand Flora's earliest smells.
Such was the Splendorand the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renew'd.
What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat?
These are not Fruits forbidden; no interdict
Defends the touching of these viands pure;
Thir taste no knowledge worksat least of evil
But life preservesdestroys life's enemy
Hungerwith sweet restorative delight.
All these are Spirits of Airand Woodsand Springs
Thy gentle Ministerswho come to pay
Thee homageand acknowledge thee thir Lord:
What doubt'st thou Son of God? sit down and eat.
To whom thus Jesus temperately replied:
Said'st thou not that to all things I had right?
And who withholds my pow'r that right to use?
Shall I receive by gift what of my own
When and where likes me bestI can command?
I can at willdoubt notas soon as thou
Command a Table in this Wilderness
And call swift flights of Angels ministrant
Array'd in Glory on my cup to attend;
Why shouldst thou then obtrude this diligence
In vainwhere no acceptance it can find
And with my hunger what hast thou to do?
Thy pompous Delicacies I contemn
And count thy specious gifts no gifts but guiles.
To whom thus answer'd Satan malcontent:
That I have also power to give thou seest;
If of that pow'r I bring thee voluntary
What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleas'd
And rather opportunely in this place
Chose to impart to thy apparent need
Why shouldst thou not accept it? but I see
What I can do or offer is suspect;
Of these things others quickly will dispose
Whose pains have earn'd the far-fet spoil. With that
Both Table and Provision vanish'd quite
With sound of Harpies' wings and Talons heard;
Only the importune Tempter still remain'd
And with these words his temptation pursu'd.
By hungerthat each other Creature tames
Thou art not to be harm'dtherefore not mov'd;
Thy temperance invincible besides
For no allurement yields to appetite
And all thy heart is set on high designs
High actions; but wherewith to be achiev'd?
Great acts require great means of enterprise
Thou art unknownunfriendedlow of birth
A Carpenter thy Father knownthyself
Bred up in poverty and straits at home;
Lost in a Desert here and hunger-bit:
Which way or from what hope dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence Authority deriv'st
What Followerswhat Retinue canst thou gain
Or at thy heels the dizzy Multitude
Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
Money brings HonourFriendsConquestand Realms;
What rais'd Antipater the Edomite
And his Son Herod plac'd on Judah's Throne
(Thy throne) but gold that got him puissant friends?
Thereforeif at great things thou wouldst arrive
Get Riches firstget Wealthand Treasure heap
Not difficultif thou hearken to me
Riches are mineFortune is in my hand;
They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain
While VirtueValourWisdom sit in want.
To whom thus Jesus patiently replied:
Yet Wealth without these three is impotent
To gain dominion or to keep it gain'd.
Witness those ancient Empires of the Earth
In highth of all thir flowing wealth dissolv'd;
But men endu'd with these have oft attain'd
In lowest poverty to highest deeds:
Gideon and Jephthaand the Shepherd lad
Whose off-spring on the Throne of Judah sat
So many Agesand shall yet regain
That seatand reign in Israel without end.
Among the Heathen(for throughout the World
To me is not unknown what hath been done
Worthy of Memorial) canst thou not remember
For I esteem those names of men so poor
Who could do mighty thingsand could contemn
Riches though offer'd from the hand of Kings.
And what in me seems wantingbut that I
May also in this poverty as soon
Accomplish what they didperhaps and more?
Extol not Riches thenthe toil of Fools
The wise man's cumbrance if not snaremore apt
To slacken Virtueand abate her edge
Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
What if with like aversion I reject
Riches and Realms; yet not for that a Crown
Golden in showis but a wreath of thorns
Brings dangerstroublescaresand sleepless nights
To him who wears the Regal Diadem
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies:
For therein stands the office of a King
His HonourVirtueMerit and chief Praise
That for the Public all this weight he bears.
Yet he who reigns within himselfand rules
PassionsDesiresand Fearsis more a King;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains:
And who attains notill aspires to rule
Cities of menor head-strong Multitudes
Subject himself to Anarchy within
Or lawless passions in him which he serves.
But to guide Nations in the way of truth
By saving Doctrineand from error lead
To knowand knowing worship God aright
Is yet more Kingly; this attracts the Soul
Governs the inner manthe nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns
And oft by forcewhich to a generous mind
So reigning can be no sincere delight.
Besides to give a Kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler doneand to lay down
Far more magnanimous than to assume.
Riches are needless thenboth for themselves
And for thy reason why they should be sought
To gain a Sceptreoftest better miss't.
BOOK III -
SO SPAKE the Son of Godand Satan stood
A while as mute confounded what to say
What to replyconfuted and convinc't
Of his weak arguingand fallacious drift;
At length collecting all his Serpent wiles
With soothing words renew'dhim thus accosts.
I see thou know'st what is of use to know
What best to say canst sayto do canst do;
Thy actions to thy words accordthy words
To thy large heart give utterance duethy heart
Contains of goodwisejustthe perfect shape.
Should Kings and Nations from thy mouth consult
Thy Counsel would be as the Oracle
Urim and Thummimthose oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of Seers old
Infallible; or wert thou sought to deeds
That might require th' array of warthy skill
Of conduct would be suchthat all the world
Could not sustain thy Prowessor subsist
In battlethough against thy few in arms.
These God-like Virtues wherefore dost thou hide?
Affecting private lifeor more obscure
In savage Wildernesswherefore deprive
All Earth her wonder at thy actsthyself
The fame and gloryglory the reward
That sole excites to high attempts the flame
Of most erected Spiritsmost temper'd pure
Etherealwho all pleasures else despise
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross
And dignities and powers all but the highest?
Thy years are ripeand over-ripethe Son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these
Won Asia and the Throne of Cyrus held
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down
The Carthaginian prideyoung Pompey quell'd
The Pontic King and in triumph had rode.
Yet yearsand to ripe years judgement mature
Quench not the thirst of glorybut augment.
Great Juliuswhom now all the world admires
The more he grew in yearsthe more inflam'd
With glorywept that he had liv'd so long
Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late.
To whom our Saviour calmly thus replied.
Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
For Empire's sakenor Empire to affect
For glory's sake by all thy argument.
For what is glory but the blaze of fame
The people's praiseif always praise unmixt?
And what the people but a herd confus'd
A miscellaneous rabblewho extol
Things vulgarand well weigh'dscarce worth the praise?
They praise and they admire they know not what;
And know not whombut as one leads the other;
And what delight to be by such extoll'd
To live upon thir tongues and be thir talk
Of whom to be disprais'd were no small praise?
His lot who dares be singularly good.
Th' intelligent among them and the wise
Are fewand glory scarce of few is rais'd.
This is true glory and renownwhen God
Looking on the Earthwith approbation marks
The just manand divulges him through Heaven
To all his Angelswho with true applause
Recount his praises; thus he did to Job
When to extend his fame through Heaven and Earth
As thou to thy reproach mayst well remember
He ask'd theehast thou seen my servant Job?
Famous he was in Heavenon Earth less known;
Where glory is false gloryattributed
To things not gloriousmen not worthy of fame.
They err who count it glorious to subdue
By Conquest far and wideto over-run
Large Countriesand in field great Battles win
Great Cities by assault: what do these Worthies
But rob and spoilburnslaughterand enslave
Peaceable Nationsneighbouringor remote
Made Captiveyet deserving freedom more
Than those thir Conquerorswho leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy
Then swell with prideand must be titl'd Gods
Great Benefactors of mankindDeliverers
Worship't with TemplePriest and Sacrifice?
One is the Son of Joveof Mars the other
Till Conqueror Death discover them scarce men
Rolling in brutish vicesand deform'd
Violent or shameful death thir due reward.
But if there be in glory aught of good
It may by means far different be attain'd
Without ambitionwaror violence;
By deeds of peaceby wisdom eminent
By patiencetemperance; I mention still
Him whom thy wrongs with Saintly patience borne
Made famous in a Land and times obscure;
Who names not now with honour patient Job?
Poor Socrates (who next more memorable?)
By what he taught and suffer'd for so doing
For truth's sake suffering death unjustlives now
Equal in fame to proudest Conquerors.
Yet if for fame and glory aught be done
Aught suffer'd; if young African for fame
His wasted Country freed from Punic rage
The deed becomes unprais'dthe man at least
And losesthough but verbalhis reward.
Shall I seek glory thenas vain men seek
Oft not deserv'd? I seek not minebut his
Who sent meand thereby witness whence I am.
To whom the Tempter murmuring thus replied.
Think not so slight of glory: therein least
Resembling thy great Father; he seeks glory
And for his glory all things madeall things
Orders and governsnor content in Heaven
By all his Angels glorifi'drequires
Glory from menfrom all men good or bad
Wise or unwiseno differenceno exemption;
Above all Sacrificeor hallow'd gift
Glory he requiresand glory he receives
Promiscuous from all NationsJewor Greek
Or Barbarousnor exception hath declar'd;
From us his foes pronounc't glory he exacts.
To whom our Saviour fervently replied.
And reason; since his word all things produc'd
Though chiefly not for glory as prime end
But to show forth his goodnessand impart
His good communicable to every soul
Freely; of whom what could he less expect
Than glory and benedictionthat is thanks
The slightesteasiestreadiest recompense
From them who could return him nothing else
And not returning that would likeliest render
Hard recompenseunsuitable return
For so much goodso much beneficence.
But why should man seek glory? who of his own
Hath nothingand to whom nothing belongs
But condemnationignominyand shame?
Who for so many benefits receiv'd
Turn'd recreant to Godingrate and false
And so of all true good himself despoil'd
Yetsacrilegiousto himself would take
That which to God alone of right belongs;
Yet so much bounty is in Godsuch grace
That who advance his glorynot thir own
Them he himself to glory will advance.
So spake the Son of God; and here again
Satan had not to answerbut stood struck
With guilt of his own sinfor he himself
Insatiable of glory had lost all
Yet of another Plea bethought him soon.
Of glory as thou wiltsaid heso deem
Worth or not worth the seekinglet it pass:
But to a Kingdom thou art bornordain'd
To sit upon thy Father David's Throne;
By Mother's side thy Fatherthough thy right
Be now in powerful handsthat will not part
Easily from possession won with arms;
Judaea now and all the promis'd land
Reduc't a Province under Roman yoke
Obeys Tiberius; nor is always rul'd
With temperate sway; oft have they violated
The Templeoft the Law with foul affronts
Abominations ratheras did once
Antiochus: and think'st thou to regain
Thy right by sitting still or thus retiring?
So did not Maccabaeus: he indeed
Retir'd unto the Desertbut with arms;
And o'er a mighty King so oft prevail'd
That by strong hand his Family obtain'd
Though Prieststhe Crownand David's Throne usurp'd
With Modin and her Suburbs once content.
If Kingdom move thee notlet move thee Zeal
And Duty; Zeal and Duty are not slow;
But on Occasion's forelock watchful wait.
They themselves rather are occasion best
Zeal of thy Father's houseDuty to free
Thy Country from her Heathen servitude;
So shalt thou best fullfilbest verify
The Prophets oldwho sung thy endless reign
The happier reign the sooner it begins.
Reign then; what canst thou better do the while?
To whom our Saviour answer thus return'd.
All things are best fulfill'd in their due time
And time there is for all thingsTruth hath said:
If of my reign Prophetic Writ hath told
That it shall never endso when begin
The Father in his purpose hath decreed
He in whose hand all times and seasons roll.
What if he hath decreed that I shall first
Be tried in humble stateand things adverse
Contemptsand scornsand snaresand violence
Without distrust or doubtthat he may know
What I can sufferhow obey? who best
Can sufferbest can do; best reignwho first
Well hath obey'd; just trial e'er I merit
My exaltation without change or end.
But what concerns it thee when I begin
My everlasting Kingdomwhy art thou
Solicitouswhat moves thy inquisition?
Know'st thou not that my rising is thy fall
And my promotion will be thy destruction?
To whom the Tempter inly rackt replied.
Let that come when it comes; all hope is lost
Of my reception into grace; what worse?
For where no hope is leftis left no fear;
If there be worsethe expectation more
Of worse torments me than the feeling can.
I would be at the worst; worst is my Port
My harbour and my ultimate repose
The end I would attainmy final good.
My error was my errorand my crime
My crime; whatever for itself condemn'd
And will alike be punish'd; whether thou
Reign or reign not; though to that gentle brow
Willingly I could flyand hope thy reign
From that placid aspect and meek regard
Rather than aggravate my evil state
Would stand between me and thy Father's ire
(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell)
A shelter and a kind of shading cool
Interpositionas a summer's cloud.
If I then to the worst that can be haste
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best
Happiest both to thyself and all the world
That thou who worthiest art shouldst be thir King?
Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detain'd
Of the enterprise so hazardous and high;
No wonderfor though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found
Or human nature can receiveconsider
Thy life hath yet been privatemost part spent
At homescarce view'd the Galilean Towns
And once a year Jerusalemfew days'
Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe?
The world thou hast not seenmuch less her glory
Empiresand Monarchsand thir radiant Courts
Best school of best experiencequickest in sight
In all things that to greatest actions lead.
The wisestunexperienc'twill be ever
Timorous and lothwith novice modesty
(As he who seeking Asses found a Kingdom)
But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit
Those rudimentsand see before thine eyes
The Monarchies of the Earththir pomp and state
Sufficient introduction to inform
Theeof thyself so aptin regal Arts
And regal Mysteries; that thou mayst know
How best their opposition to withstand.
With that (such power was giv'n him then) he took
The Son of God up to a Mountain high.
It was a Mountain at whose verdant feet
A spacious plain outstretcht in circuit wide
Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flow'd
Th' one windingthe other straightand left between
Fair Champain with less rivers intervein'd
Then meeting join'd thir tribute to the Sea:
Fertile of corn the glebeof oil and wine
With herds the pastures throng'dwith flocks the hills
Huge Cities and high tow'r'dthat well might seem
The seats of mightiest Monarchs; and so large
The Prospect wasthat here and there was room
For barren desert fountainless and dry.
To this high mountain top the Tempter brought
Our Saviourand new train of words began.
Well have we speededand o'er hill and dale
Forest and fieldand floodTemples and Towers
Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold'st
Assyria and her Empire's ancient bounds
Araxes and the Caspian lakethence on
As far as Indus EastEuphrates West
And oft beyond; to South the Persian Bay
And inaccessible the Arabian drouth;
Here Nineveeof length within her wall
Several days' journeybuilt by Ninus old
Of that first golden Monarchy the seat
And seat of Salmanassarwhose success
Israel in long captivity still mourns;
There Babylon the wonder of all tongues
As ancientbut rebuilt by him who twice
Judah and all thy Father David's house
Led captiveand Jerusalem laid waste
Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis
His city there thou seestand Bactra there;
Ecbatana her structure vast there shows
And Hecatompylos her hundred gates
There Susa by Choaspesamber stream
The drink of none but Kings; of later fame
Built by Emathianor by Parthian hands
The great SeleuciaNisibisand there
Turning with easy eye thou mayst behold.
All these the Parthiannow some Ages past
By great Arsaces ledwho founded first
That Empireunder his dominion holds
From the luxurious Kings of Antioch won.
And just in time thou com'st to have a view
Of his great power; for now the Parthian King
In Ctesiphon hath gather'd all his Host
Against the Scythianwhose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid
He marches now in haste; seethough from far
His thousandsin what martial equipage
They issue forthSteel Bows and Shafts their arms
Of equal dread in flightor in pursuit;
All Horsemenin which fight they most excel;
See how in warlike muster they appear
In Rhombs and wedgesand half-moonsand wings.
He look't and saw what numbers numberless
The City gates out pour'dlight armed Troops
In coats of Mail and military pride;
In Mail thir horses cladyet fleet and strong
Prancing their riders borethe flower and choice
Of many Provinces from bound to bound;
From Arachosiafrom Candaor East
And Margiana to the Hyrcanian cliffs
Of Caucasusand dark Iberian dales;
From Atropatia and the neighbouring plains
Of AdiabeneMediaand the South
Of Susiana to Balsara's hav'n.
He saw them in thir forms of battle rang'd
How quick they wheel'dand flying behind them shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face
Of thir pursuersand overcame by flight;
The field all iron cast a gleaming brown
Nor wanted clouds of footnor on each horn
Cuirassiers all in steel for standing fight;
Chariots or Elephants indorst with Towers
Of Archersnor of labouring Pioners
A multitude with Spades and Axes arm'd
To lay hills plainfell woodsor valleys fill
Or where plain was raise hillor over-lay
With bridges rivers proudas with a yoke;
Mules after theseCamels and Dromedaries
And Waggons fraught with Utensils of war.
Such forces met notnor so wide a camp
When Agrican with all his Northern powers
Besieg'd Albraccaas Romances tell
The City of Gallaphronefrom thence to win
The fairest of her SexAngelica
His daughtersought by many Prowest Knights
Both Paynimand the Peers of Charlemagne.
Such and so numerous was thir Chivalry;
At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presum'd
And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd.
That thou mayst know I seek not to engage
Thy Virtueand not every way secure
On no slight grounds thy safety; hearand mark
To what end I have brought thee hither and shown
All this fair sight: thy Kingdom though foretold
By Prophet or by Angelunless thou
Endeavouras thy Father David did
Thou never shalt obtain; prediction still
In all thingsand all mensupposes means
Without means us'dwhat it predicts revokes.
But say thou wert possess'd of David's Throne
By free consent of allnone opposite
Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope
Long to enjoy it quiet and secure
Between two such enclosing enemies
Roman and Parthian? therefore one of these
Thou must make sure thy ownthe Parthian first
By my adviceas nearer and of late
Found able by invasion to annoy
Thy countryand captive lead away her Kings
Antigonusand old Hyrcanus bound
Maugre the Roman: it shall be my task
To render thee the Parthian at dispose;
Choose which thou wiltby conquest or by league.
By him thou shalt regainwithout him not
That which alone can truly reinstall thee
In David's royal seathis true Successor
Deliverance of thy brethrenthose ten Tribes
Whose off-spring in his Territory yet serve
In Haborand among the Medes dispers't
Ten Sons of Jacobtwo of Joseph lost
Thus long from Israel; serving as of old
Thir Fathers in the land of Egypt serv'd
This offer sets before thee to deliver.
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To thir inheritancethennor till then
Thou on the Throne of David in full glory
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond
Shalt reignand Rome or Caesar not need fear.
To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmov'd.
Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm
And fragile armsmuch instrument of war
Long in preparingsoon to nothing brought
Before mine eyes thou hast set; and in my ear
Vented much policyand projects deep
Of enemiesof aidsbattles and leagues
Plausible to the worldto me worth naught.
Means I must use thou say'stprediction else
Will unpredict and fail me of the Throne:
My time I told thee(and that time for thee
Were better farthest off) is not yet come;
When that comes think not thou to find me slack
On my part aught endeavouringor to need
Thy politic maximsor that cumbersome
Luggage of war there shown meargument
Of human weakness rather than of strength.
My brethrenas thou call'st themthose Ten Tribes
I must deliverif I mean to reign
David's true heirand his full Sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's Sons;
But whence to thee this zealwhere was it then
For Israelor for Davidor his Throne
When thou stood'st up his Tempter to the pride
Of numb'ring Israelwhich cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' Pestilence? such was thy zeal
To Israel thenthe same that now to me.
As for those captive Tribesthemselves were they
Who wrought their own captivityfell off
From God to worship Calvesthe Deities
Of EgyptBaal next and Ashtaroth
And all the Idolatries of Heathen round
Besides thir other worse than heathenish crimes;
Nor in the land of their captivity
Humbled themselvesor penitent besought
The God of their fore-fathers; but so died
Impenitentand left a race behind
Like to themselvesdistinguishable scarce
From Gentilesbut by Circumcision vain
And God with Idols in their worship join'd.
Should I of these the liberty regard
Who freedas to their ancient Patrimony
Headlong would follow; and to thir Gods perhaps
Of Bethel and of Dan? nolet them serve
Thir enemieswho serve Idols with God.
Yet he at lengthtime to himself best known
Rememb'ring Abrahamby some wond'rous call
May bring them back repentant and sincere
And at their passing cleave the Assyrian flood
While to their native land with joy they haste
As the Red Sea and Jordan once he cleft
When to the promis'd land thir Fathers pass'd;
To his due time and providence I leave them.
So spake Israel's true Kingand to the Fiend
Made answer meetthat made void all his wiles.
So fares it when with truth falsehood contends.
BOOK IV -
PERPLEX'D and troubl'd at his bad success
The Tempter stoodnor had what to reply
Discover'd in his fraudthrown from his hope
So oftand the persuasive Rhetoric
That sleek't his tongueand won so much on Eve
So little herenay lost; but Eve was Eve
This far his over-matchwho self-deceiv'd
And rashbefore-hand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope withor his own:
But as a man who had been matchless held
In cunningover-reach't where least he thought
To salve his creditand for very spite
Still will be tempting him who foils him still
And never ceasethough to his shame the more;
Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time
About the wine-press where sweet must is pour'd
Beat offreturns as oft with humming sound;
Or surging waves against a solid rock
Though all to shivers dash'tthe assault renew
Vain batt'ryand in froth or bubbles end;
So Satanwhom repulse upon repulse
Met everand to shameful silence brought
Yet gives not o'er though desperate of success
And his vain importunity pursues.
He brought our Saviour to the western side
Of that high mountainwhence he might behold
Another plainlong but in breadth not wide;
Wash'd by the Southern Seaand on the North
To equal length back'd with a ridge of hills
That screen'd the fruits of the earth and seats of men
From cold Septentrion blaststhence in the midst
Divided by a riverof whose banks
On each side an Imperial City stood
With Towers and Temples proudly elevate
On seven small Hillswith Palaces adorn'd
Porches and TheatresBathsAqueducts
Statues and Trophiesand Triumphal Arcs
Gardens and Groves presented to his eyes
Above the highth of Mountains interpos'd:
By what strange Parallax or Optic skill
Of vision multiplied through airor glass
Of Telescopewere curious to enquire:
And now the Tempter thus his silence broke.
The City which thou seest no other deem
Than great and glorious RomeQueen of the Earth
So far renown'dand with the spoils enricht
Of Nations; there the Capitol thou seest
Above the rest lifting his stately head
On the Tarpeian rockher Citadel
Impregnableand there Mount Palatine
The Imperial Palacecompass hugeand high
The Structureskill of noblest Architects
With gilded battlementsconspicuous far
Turrets and Terracesand glittering Spires.
Many a fair Edifice besidesmore like
Houses of Gods (so well I have dispos'd
My Aery Microscope) thou mayst behold
Outside and inside bothpillars and roofs
Carv'd workthe hand of fam'd Artificers
In CedarMarbleIvory or Gold.
Thence to the gates cast round thine eyeand see
What conflux issuing forthor ent'ring in
PraetorsProconsuls to thir Provinces
Hasting or on returnin robes of State;
Lictors and rodsthe ensigns of thir power
Legions and Cohortsturms of horse and wings:
Or Embassies from Regions far remote
In various habits on the Appian road
Or on the Aemiliansome from farthest South
Syeneand where the shadow both way falls
MeroeNilotic Isleand more to West
The Realm of Bocchus to the Black-moor Sea;
From the Asian Kings and Parthian among these
From India and the golden Chersonese
And utmost Indian Isle Taprobane
Dusk faces with white silken Turbants wreath'd:
From GalliaGadesand the British West
Germans and Scythiansand Sarmatians North
Beyond Danubius to the Tauric Pool.
All Nations now to Rome obedience pay
To Rome's great Emperorwhose wide domain
In ample Territorywealth and power
Civility of MannersArtsand Arms
And long Renown thou justly mayst prefer
Before the Parthian; these two Thrones except
The rest are barbarousand scarce worth the sight
Shar'd among petty Kings too far remov'd;
These having shown theeI have shown thee all
The Kingdoms of the worldand all thir glory.
This Emperor hath no Sonand now is old
Oldand lasciviousand from Rome retir'd
To Capreaean Island small but strong
On the Campanian shorewith purpose there
His horrid lusts in private to enjoy
Committing to a wicked Favourite
All public caresand yet of him suspicious
Hated of alland hating; with what ease
Indu'd with Regal Virtues as thou art
Appearingand beginning noble deeds
Might'st thou expel this monster from his Throne
Now made a styand in his place ascending
A victor people free from servile yoke?
And with my help thou mayst; to me the power
Is givenand by that right I give it thee.
Aim therefore at no less than all the world
Aim at the highestwithout the highest attain'd
Will be for thee no sittingor not long
On David's Thronebe prophesi'd what will.
To whom the Son of God unmov'd replied.
Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show
Of luxurythough call'd magnificence
More than of arms beforeallure mine eye
Much less my mind; though thou should'st add to tell
Thir sumptuous gluttoniesand gorgeous feasts
On Citron tables or Atlantic stone
(For I have also heardperhaps have read)
Their wines of SetiaCalesand Falerne
Chios and Creteand how they quaff in Gold
Crystal and Murrhine cups imboss'd with Gems
And studs of Pearlto me should'st tell who thirst
And hunger still: then Embassies thou show'st
From Nations far and nigh; what honour that
But tedious waste of time to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies
Outlandish flatteries? then proceed'st to talk
Of the Emperorhow easily subdu'd
How gloriously; I shallthou say'stexpel
A brutish monster: what if I withal
Expel a Devil who first made him such?
Let his tormentor Conscience find him out
For him I was not sentnor yet to free
That people victor oncenow vile and base
Deservedly made vassalwho once just
Frugaland mildand temperateconquer'd well
But govern in the Nations under yoke
Peeling thir Provincesexhausted all
By lust and rapine; first ambitious grown
Of triumphthat insulting vanity;
Then cruelby thir sports to blood inur'd
Of fighting beastsand men to beasts expos'd
Luxurious by thir wealthand greedier still
And from the daily Scene effeminate.
What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerateby themselves enslav'd
Or could of inward slaves make outward free?
Know therefore when my season comes to sit
On David's Throneit shall be like a tree
Spreading and over-shadowing all the Earth
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash
All Monarchies besides throughout the world
And of my Kingdom there shall be no end:
Means there shall be to thisbut what the means
Is not for thee to knownor me to tell.
To whom the Tempter impudent replied.
I see all offers made by me how slight
Thou valu'stbecause offer'dand reject'st:
Nothing will please the difficult and nice
Or nothing more than still to contradict:
On the other side know also thouthat I
On what I offer set as high esteem
Nor what I part with mean to give for naught;
All these which in a moment thou behold'st
The Kingdoms of the world to thee I give;
For giv'n to meI give to whom I please
No trifle; yet with this reservenot else
On this conditionif thou wilt fall down
And worship me as thy superior Lord
Easily doneand hold them all of me;
For what can less so great a gift deserve?
Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain.
I never lik'd thy talkthy offers less
Now both abhorsince thou hast dar'd to utter
The abominable termsimpious condition;
But I endure the timetill which expir'd
Thou hast permission on me. It is written
The first of all CommandmentsThou shalt worship
The Lord thy Godand only him shalt serve;
And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accurstnow more accurst
For this attempt bolder than that on Eve
And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.
The Kingdoms of the world to thee were giv'n
Permitted ratherand by thee usurp't
Other donation none thou canst produce:
If givenby whom but by the King of Kings
God over all supreme? if giv'n to thee
By thee how fairly is the Giver now
Repaid? But gratitude in thee is lost
Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame
As offer them to me the Son of God
To me my ownon such abhorred pact
That I fall down and worship thee as God?
Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear'st
That Evil oneSatan for ever damn'd.
To whom the Fiend with fear abasht replied.
Be not so sore offendedSon of God
Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men;
If I to try whether in higher sort
Than these thou bear'st that titlehave propos'd
What both from Men and Angels I receive
Tetrarchs of fireairfloodand on the earth
Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds
God of this world invok't and world beneath;
Who then thou artwhose coming is foretold
To me so fatalme it most concerns.
The trial hath indamag'd thee no way
Rather more honour left and more esteem;
Me naught advantag'dmissing what I aim'd.
Therefore let passas they are transitory
The Kingdoms of this world; I shall no more
Advise theegain them as thou canstor not.
And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclin'd
Than to a worldly Crownaddicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute
As by that early action may be judg'd
When slipping from thy Mother's eye thou went'st
Alone into the Temple; there wast found
Among the gravest Rabbies disputant
On points and questions fitting Moses' Chair
Teaching not taught; the childhood shows the man
As morning shows the day. Be famous then
By wisdom; as thy Empire must extend
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledgeall things in it comprehend.
All knowledge is not couch't in Moses' Law
The Pentateuch or what the Prophets wrote
The Gentiles also knowand writeand teach
To admirationled by Nature's light;
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse
Ruling them by persuasion as thou mean'st
Without thir learning how wilt thou with them
Or they with thee hold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with themhow refute
Error by his own arms is best evinc't.
Look once more ere we leave this specular Mount
Westwardmuch nearer by Southwestbehold
Where on the Aegean shore a City stands
Built noblypure the airand light the soil
Athensthe eye of GreeceMother of Arts
And Eloquencenative to famous wits
Or hospitablein her sweet recess
City or Suburbanstudious walks and shades;
See there the Olive Grove of Academe
Plato's retirementwhere the Attic Bird
Trills her thick-warbl'd notes the summer long;
There flow'ry hill Hymettus with the sound
Of Bees' industrious murmur oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream; within the walls then view
The schools of ancient Sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world
Lyceum thereand painted Stoa next;
There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony in tones and numbers hit
By voice or handand various-measur'd verse
Aeolian charms and Dorian Lyric Odes
And his who gave them breathbut higher sung
Blind Melesigenes thence Homer call'd
Whose Poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own.
Thence what the lofty grave Tragoedians taught
In Chorus or Iambicteachers best
Of moral prudencewith delight receiv'd
In brief sententious preceptswhile they treat
Of fateand chanceand change in human life;
High actionsand high passions best describing:
Thence to the famous Orators repair
Those ancientwhose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce Democraty
Shook the Arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece
To Macedonand Artaxerxes' Throne;
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear
From Heaven descended to the low-rooft house
Of Socratessee there his Tenement
Whom well inspir'd the Oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issu'd forth
Mellifluous streams that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and newwith those
Surnam'd Peripateticsand the Sect
Epicureanand the Stoic severe;
These here revolveoras thou lik'stat home
Till time mature thee to a Kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a King complete
Within thyselfmuch more with Empire join'd.
To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied.
Think not but that I know these things; or think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he who receives
Light from abovefrom the fountain of light
No other doctrine needsthough granted true;
But these are falseor little else but dreams
Conjecturesfanciesbuilt on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this onlythat he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits;
A third sort doubted all thingsthough plain sense;
Others in virtue plac'd felicity
But virtue join'd with riches and long life;
In corporal pleasure heand careless ease;
The Stoic last in Philosophic pride
By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man
Wiseperfect in himselfand all possessing
Equal to Godoft shames not to prefer
As fearing God nor mancontemning all
Wealthpleasurepain or tormentdeath and life
Which when he listshe leavesor boasts he can
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas! what can they teachand not mislead;
Ignorant of themselvesof God much more
And how the world beganand how man fell
Degraded by himselfon grace depending?
Much of the Soul they talkbut all awry
And in themselves seek virtueand to themselves
All glory arrogateto God give none
Rather accuse him under usual names
Fortune and Fateas one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdomfinds her notor by delusion
Far worseher false resemblance only meets
An empty cloud. Howevermany books
Wise men have said are wearisome; who reads
Incessantlyand to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior
(And what he bringswhat needs be elsewhere seek)
Uncertain and unsettl'd still remains
Deep verst in books and shallow in himself
Crude or intoxicatecollecting toys
And trifles for choice mattersworth a sponge;
As Children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Or if I would delight my private hours
With Music or with Poemwhere so soon
As in our native Language can I find
That solace? All our Law and Story strew'd
With Hymnsour Psalms with artful terms inscrib'd
Our Hebrew Songs and Harps in Babylon
That pleas'd so well our Victors' eardeclare
That rather Greece from us these Arts deriv'd;
Ill imitatedwhile they loudest sing
The vices of their Deitiesand thir own
In FableHymnor Songso personating
Thir Gods ridiculousand themselves past shame.
Remove thir swelling Epithets thick laid
As varnish on a Harlot's cheekthe rest
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songsto all true tastes excelling
Where God is prais'd arightand Godlike men
The Holiest of Holiesand his Saints;
Such are from God inspir'dnot such from thee;
Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of Nature not in all quite lost.
Thir Orators thou then extoll'stas those
The top of EloquenceStatists indeed
And lovers of thir Countryas may seem;
But herein to our Prophets far beneath
As men divinely taughtand better teaching
The solid rules of Civil Government
In thir majestic unaffected style
Than all the Oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taughtand easiest learnt
What makes a Nation happyand keeps it so
What ruins Kingdomsand lays Cities flat;
These onlywith our Lawbest form a King.
So spake the Son of God; but Satan now
Quite at a lossfor all his darts were spent
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied.
Since neither wealthnor honourarms nor arts
Kingdom nor Empire pleases theenor aught
By me propos'd in life contemplative
Or activetended on by gloryor fame
What dost thou in this World? the Wilderness
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretell theesoon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected thus
Nicely or cautiously my offer'd aid
Which would have set thee in short time with ease
On David's Throne; or Throne of all the world
Now at full agefulness of timethy season
When Prophecies of thee are best fullfill'd.
Now contraryif I read aught in Heaven
Or Heav'n write aught of Fateby what the Stars
Voluminousor single characters
In their conjunction metgive me to spell
Violence and stripesand lastly cruel death.
A Kingdom they portend theebut what Kingdom
Real or Allegoric I discern not
Nor wheneternal sureas without end
Without beginning; for no date prefixt
Directs me in the Starry Rubric set.
So saying he took (for still he knew his power
Not yet expir'd) and to the Wilderness
Brought back the Son of Godand left him there
Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose
As day-light sunkand brought in louring night
Her shadowy off-springunsubstantial both
Privation mere of light and absent day.
Our Saviour meek and with untroubl'd mind
After his aery jauntthough hurried sore
Hungry and cold betook him to his rest
Whereverunder some concourse of shades
Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield
From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head
But shelter'd slept in vainfor at his head
The Tempter watch'dand soon with ugly dreams
Disturb'd his sleep; and either Tropic now
'Gan thunderand both ends of Heav'n; the Clouds
From many a horrid rift abortive pour'd
Fierce rain with lightning mixtwater with fire
In ruin reconcil'd: nor slept the winds
Within thir stony cavesbut rush'd abroad
From the four hinges of the worldand fell
On the vext Wildernesswhose tallest Pines
Though rooted deep as highand sturdiest Oaks
Bow'd thir Stiff necksloaden with stormy blasts
Or torn up sheer: ill wast thou shrouded then
O patient Son of Godyet only stood'st
Unshaken; nor yet stay'd the terror there.
Infernal Ghostsand Hellish Furiesround
Environ'd theesome howl'dsome yell'dsome shriek'd
Some bent at thee thir fiery dartswhile thou
Sat'st unappall'd in calm and sinless peace.
Thus pass'd the night so foul till morning fair
Came forth with Pilgrim steps in amice gray;
Who with her radiant finger still'd the roar
Of thunderchas'd the cloudsand laid the winds
And grisly Spectreswhich the Fiend had rais'd
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the Sun with more effectual beams
Had cheer'd the face of Earthand dried the wet
From drooping plantor dropping tree; the birds
Who all things now behold more fresh and green
After a night of storm so ruinous
Clear'd up their choicest notes in bush and spray
To gratulate the sweet return of morn.
Nor yet amidst this joy and brightest morn
Was absentafter all his mischief done
The Prince of darkness; glad would also seem
Of this fair changeand to our Saviour came
Yet with no new devicethey all were spent;
Rather by this his last affront resolv'd
Desperate of better courseto vent his rage
And mad despite to be so oft repell'd.
Him walking on a Sunny hill he found
Back'd on the North and West by a thick wood;
Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape
And in a careless mood thus to him said.
Fair morning yet betides theeSon of God
After a dismal night; I heard the rack
As Earth and Sky would mingle; but myself
Was distant; and these flawsthough mortals fear them
As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of Heaven
Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath
Are to the main as inconsiderable
And harmlessif not wholesomeas a sneeze
To man's less universeand soon are gone;
Yet as being oft times noxious where they light
On manbeastplantwasteful and turbulent
Like turbulencies in the affairs of men
Over whose heads they roarand seem to point
They oft fore-signify and threaten ill:
This Tempest at this Desert most was bent;
Of men at theefor only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell theeif thou didst reject
The perfet season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd seatbut wilt prolong
All to the push of Fatepursue thy way
Of gaining David's Throne no man knows when
For both the when and how is nowhere told
Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'dno doubt;
For Angels have proclaim'd itbut concealing
The time and means: each act is rightliest done
Not when it mustbut when it may be best.
If thou observe not thisbe sure to find
What I foretold theemany a hard assay
Of dangersand adversities and pains
Ere thou of Israel's Scepter get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night that clos'd thee round
So many terrorsvoicesprodigies
May warn theeas a sure fore-going sign.
So talk'd hewhile the Son of God went on
And stay'd notbut in brief him answer'd thus.
Mee worse than wet thou find'st not; other harm
Those terrors which thou speak'st ofdid me none;
I never fear'd they couldthough noising loud
And threat'ning nigh; what they can do as signs
Betok'ningor ill-bodingI contemn
As false portentsnot sent from Godbut thee;
Whoknowing I shall reign past thy preventing
Obtrud'st thy offer'd aidthat I accepting
At least might seem to hold all power of thee
Ambitious spiritand wouldst be thought my God
And storm'st refus'dthinking to terrify
Mee to thy will; desistthou art discern'd
And toil'st in vainnor me in vain molest.
To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage replied:
Then hearO Son of DavidVirgin-born;
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt:
Of the Messiah I have heard foretold
By all the Prophets; of thy birth at length
Announc't by Gabriel with the first I knew
And of the Angelic Song in Bethlehem field
On thy birth-nightthat sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye
Thy infancythy childhoodand thy youth
Thy manhood lastthough yet in private bred;
Till at the Ford of Jordan whither all
Flock'd to the BaptistI among the rest
Though not to be Baptiz'dby voice from Heav'n
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belov'd.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower Scrutinythat I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of Godwhich bears no single sense;
The Son of God I also amor was
And if I wasI am; relation stands;
All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought
In some respect far higher so declar'd.
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.
Good reason thenif I before-hand seek
To understand my Adversarywho
And what he is; his wisdompowerintent
By parleor compositiontruceor league
To win himor win from him what I can.
And opportunity I here have had
To try theesift theeand confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation as a rock
Of Adamantand as a Centrefirm;
To the utmost of mere man both wise and good
Not more; for HonoursRichesKingdomsGlory
Have been before contemn'dand may again:
Therefore to know what more thou art than man
Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heav'n
Another method I must now begin.
So saying he caught him upand without wing
Of Hippogrif bore through the Air sublime
Over the Wilderness and o'er the Plain;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem
The holy Citylifted high her Towers
And higher yet the glorious Temple rear'd
Her pilefar off appearing like a Mount
Of Alabastertop't with golden Spires:
There on the highest Pinnacle he set
The Son of God; and added thus in scorn:
There standif thou wilt stand; to stand upright
Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house
Have brought theeand highest plac'thighest is best
Now show thy Progeny; if not to stand
Cast thyself down; safely if Son of God:
For it is writtenHe will give command
Concerning thee to his Angelsin thir hands
They shall up lift theelest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.
To whom thus Jesus: also it is written
Tempt not the Lord thy God; he said and stood.
But Satan smitten with amazement fell
As when Earth's Son Antaeus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove
With Jove's Alcidesand oft foil'd still rose
Receiving from his mother Earth new strength
Fresh from his falland fiercer grapple join'd
Throttl'd at length in the Airexpir'd and fell;
So after many a foil the Tempter proud
Renewing fresh assaultsamidst his pride
Fell whence he stood to see his Victor fall.
And as that Theban Monster that propos'd
Her riddleand himwho solv'd it notdevour'd;
That once found out and solv'dfor grief and spite
Cast herself headlong from th' Ismenian steep
So strook with dread and anguish fell the Fiend
And to his crewthat sat consultingbrought
Joyless triumphals of his hop't success
Ruinand desperationand dismay
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.
So Satan fell and straight a fiery Globe
Of Angels on full sail of wing flew nigh
Who on their plumy Vans receiv'd him soft
From his uneasy stationand upbore
As on a floating couch through the blithe Air
Then in a flow'ry valley set him down
On a green bankand set before him spread
A table of Celestial FoodDivine
AmbrosialFruits fetcht from the tree of life
And from the fount of life Ambrosial drink
That soon refresh'd him weariedand repair'd
What hungerif aught hunger had impair'd
Or thirst; and as he fedAngelic Quires
Sung Heavenly Anthems of his victory
Over temptationand the Tempter proud.
True Image of the Father whether thron'd
In the bosom of blissand light of light
Conceivingor remote from Heavenenshrin'd
In fleshly Tabernacleand human form
Wand'ring the Wildernesswhatever place
Habitor stateor motionstill expressing
The Son of Godwith Godlike force indu'd
Against th' Attempter of thy Father's Throne
And Thief of Paradise; him long of old
Thou didst debeland down from Heav'n cast
With all his Army; now thou hast aveng'd
Supplanted Adamand by vanquishing
Temptationhast regain'd lost Paradise
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent:
He never more henceforth will dare set foot
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd
A fairer Paradise is founded now
For Adam and his chosen Sonswhom thou
A Saviour art come down to re-install
Where they shall dwell securewhen time shall be
Of Tempter and Temptation without fear.
But thouInfernal Serpentshalt not long
Rule in the Clouds; like an Autumnal Star
Or Lightning thou shalt fall from Heav'n trod down
Under his feet: for proofere this thou feel'st
Thy woundyet not thy last and deadliest wound
By this repulse receiv'dand hold'st in Hell
No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt; hereafter learn with awe
To dread the Son of God: he all unarm'd
Shall chase thee with the terror of his voice
From thy Demoniac holdspossession foul
Thee and thy Legions; yelling they shall fly
And beg to hide them in a herd of Swine
Lest he command them down into the deep
Boundand to torment sent before thir time.
Hail Son of the most Highheir of both worlds
Queller of Satanon thy glorious work
Now enterand begin to save mankind.
Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek
Sung Victorand from Heavenly Feast refresht
Brought on his way with joy; hee unobserv'd
Home to his Mother's house private return'd. - -