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PARADISE REGAINED

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

Ejectedemptiedgaz'dunpitiedshunn'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

Privateunactivecalmcontemplative

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

Daphneor SemeleAntiopa

Or AmymoneSyrinxmany more

Too longthen lay'st thy scapes on names ador'd

ApolloNeptuneJupiteror Pan

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

QuintiusFabriciusCuriusRegulus?

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

Contempt insteaddishonourobloquy?

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

By tribulationsinjuriesinsults

Contemptsand scornsand snaresand violence

Sufferingabstainingquietly expecting

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)

Irresoluteunhardyunadvent'rous:

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

ArtaxataTeredonCtesiphon

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

Unhumbl'dunrepentantunreform'd

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

Thir IdolismsTraditionsParadoxes?

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

Sorrowsand laboursoppositionhate

Attends theescornsreproachesinjuries

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. - -

THE END