Paradise Regained


John Milton

First published in 1671.

This web edition published by eBooks@Adelaide.

Last updated Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 20:44.

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Table of Contents

The First Book.

The Second Book.

The Third Book.

The Fourth Book.

The First Book.

I WHO e’re while the happy Garden sung,

By one mans disobedience lost, now sing

Recover’d Paradise to all mankind,

By one mans firm obedience fully tri’d

Through all temptation, and the Tempter foil’d

In all his wiles, defeated and repuls’t,

And Eden rais’d in the wast Wilderness.

Thou Spirit who ledst this glorious Eremite

Into the Desert, his Victorious Field

Against the Spiritual Foe, and broughtst him thence 10

By proof the undoubted Son of God, inspire,

As thou art wont, my prompted Song else mute,

And bear through highth or depth of natures bounds

With prosperous wing full summ’d to tell of deeds

Above Heroic, though 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 then the sound of Trumpet, cri’d

Repentance, and Heavens Kingdom nigh at hand 20

To all Baptiz’d: to his great Baptism flock’d

With aw the Regions round, and with them came

From Nazareth the Son of Joseph deem’d

To the flood Jordan, came as then obscure,

Unmarkt, unknown; but him the Baptist soon

Descri’d, divinely warn’d, and witness bore

As to his worthier, and would have resign’d

To him his Heavenly Office, nor was long

His witness unconfirm’d: on him baptiz’d

Heaven open’d, and in likeness of a Dove 30

The Spirit descended, while the Fathers voice

From Heav’n pronounc’d him his beloved Son

That heard the Adversary, who roving still

About the world, at that assembly fam’d

Would not be last, and with the voice divine

Nigh Thunder-struck, th’ exalted man, to whom

Such high attest was giv’n, a while survey’d

With wonder, then with envy fraught and rage

Flies to his place, nor rests, but in mid air

To Councel summons all his mighty Peers, 40

Within thick Clouds and dark ten-fold involv’d,

A gloomy Consistory; and them amidst

With looks agast and sad he thus bespake.

O ancient Powers of Air and this wide world,

For much more willingly I mention Air,

This our old Conquest, then remember Hell

Our hated habitation; well ye know

How many Ages, as the years of men,

This Universe we have possest, and rul’d

In manner at our will th’ affairs of Earth, 50

Since Adam and his facil consort Eve

Lost Paradise deceiv’d by me, though since

With dread attending when that fatal wound

Shall be inflicted by the Seed of Eve

Upon my head, long the decrees of Heav’n

Delay, for longest time to him is short;

And now too soon for us the circling hours

This dreaded time have compast, wherein we

Must bide the stroak of that long threatn’d wound,

At least if so we can, and by the head 60

Broken be not intended all our power

To be infring’d, our freedom and our being

In this fair Empire won of Earth and Air;

For this ill news I bring, the Womans seed

Destin’d to this, is late of woman born,

His birth to our just fear gave no small cause,

But his growth now to youths full flowr, displaying

All vertue, grace and wisdom to atchieve

Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.

Before him a great Prophet, to proclaim 70

His coming is sent Harbinger, who all

Invites, and in the Consecrated stream

Pretends to wash off sin and fit them so

Purified to receive him pure, or rather

To do him honour as their King; all come,

And he himself among them was baptiz’d,

Not thence to be more pure, but to receive

The testimony of Heaven, that who he is

Thenceforth the Nations may not doubt; I saw

The Prophet do him reverence, on him rising 80

Out of the water, Heav’n above the Clouds

Unfold her Crystal Dores, thence on his head

A perfect Dove descend, what e’re it meant

And out of Heav’n the Sov’raign voice I heard,

This is my Son belov’d, in him am pleas’d.

His Mother then is mortal, but his Sire,

He who obtains the Monarchy of Heav’n,

And what will he not do to advance his Son?

His first-begot we know, and sore have felt,

When his fierce thunder drove us to the deep; 90

Who this is we must learn, for man he seems

In all his lineaments, though in his face

The glimpses of his Fathers glory shine.

Ye see our danger on the utmost edge

Of hazard, which admits no long debate,

But must with something sudden be oppos’d,

Not force, but well couch’t fraud, well woven snares,

E’re in the head of Nations he appear

Their King, their Leader, and Supream on Earth.

I, when no other durst, sole undertook 100

The dismal expedition to find out

And ruine Adam, and 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 ended, and his words impression left

Of much amazement to th’ infernal Crew,

Distracted and surpriz’d with deep dismay

At these sad tidings; but no time was then

For long indulgence to their fears or grief: 110

Unanimous they all commit the care

And management of this main enterprize

To him their great Dictator, whose attempt

At first against mankind so well had thriv’d

In Adam’s overthrow, and led thir march

From Hell’s deep-vaulted Den to dwell in light,

Regents and Potentates, and Kings, yea gods

Of many a pleasant Realm and Province wide.

So to the Coast of Jordan he directs

His easie steps; girded with snaky wiles, 120

Where he might likeliest find this new-declar’d,

This man of men, attested Son of God,

Temptation and all guile on him to try;

So to subvert whom he suspected rais’d

To end his Raign on Earth so long enjoy’d:

But contrary unweeting he fulfill’d

The purpos’d Counsel preordain’d and fixt

Of the most High, who in full frequence bright

Of Angels, thus to Gabriel smiling spake.

Gabriel this day by proof thou shalt behold, 130

Thou and all Angels conversant on Earth

With man or mens affairs, how I begin

To verifie that solemn message late,

On which I sent thee to the Virgin pure

In Galilee, that she should bear a Son

Great in Renown, and call’d the Son of God;

Then toldst her doubting how these things could be

To her a Virgin, that on her should come

The Holy Ghost, and the power of the highest

O’reshadow her: this man born and now up-grown, 140

To shew him worthy of his birth divine

And high prediction, henceforth I expose

To Satan; let him tempt and now assay

His utmost subtilty, because he boasts

And vaunts of his great cunning to the throng

Of his Apostasie; he might have learnt

Less over-weening, since he fail’d in Job,

Whose constant perseverance overcame

Whate’re his cruel malice could invent.

He now shall know I can produce a man 150

Of female Seed, far abler to resist

All his sollicitations, and at length

All his vast force, and drive him back to Hell,

Winning by Conquest what the first man lost

By fallacy surpriz’d. But first I mean

To exercise him in the Wilderness,

There he shall first lay down the rudiments

Of his great warfare, e’re I send him forth

To conquer Sin and Death the two grand foes,

By Humiliation and strong Sufferance: 160

His weakness shall o’recome Satanic strength

And all the world, and mass of sinful flesh;

That all the Angels and Aetherial Powers,

They now, and men hereafter may discern,

From what consummate vertue I have chose

This perfect Man, by merit call’d my Son,

To earn Salvation for the Sons of men.

So spake the Eternal Father, and all Heaven

Admiring stood a space, then into Hymns

Burst forth, and in Celestial measures mov’d, 170

Circling the Throne and Singing, while the hand

Sung with the voice, and this the argument.

Victory and Triumph to the Son of God

Now entring his great duel, not of arms,

But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles.

The Father knows the Son; therefore secure

Ventures his filial Vertue, though untri’d,

Against whate’re may tempt, whate’re seduce,

Allure, or terrifie, or undermine.

Be frustrate all ye stratagems of Hell, 180

And devilish machinations come to nought.

So they in Heav’n their Odes and Vigils tun’d:

Mean while the Son of God, who yet some days

Lodg’d in Bethabara where John baptiz’d,

Musing and much revolving in his brest,

How best the mighty work he might begin

Of Saviour to mankind, and which way first

Publish his God-like office now mature,

One day forth walk’d alone, the Spirit leading;

And his deep thoughts, the better to converse 190

With solitude, till far from track of men,

Thought following thought, and step by step led on,

He entred now the bordering Desert wild,

And with dark shades and rocks environ’d round,

His holy Meditations thus persu’d.

O what a multitude of thoughts at once

Awakn’d in me swarm, while I consider

What from within I feel my self and hear

What from without comes often to my ears,

Ill sorting with my present state compar’d. 200

When I was yet a child, no childish play

To me was pleasing, all my mind was set

Serious to learn and know, and thence to do

What might be publick good; my self I thought

Born to that end, born to promote all truth,

All righteous things: therefore above my years,

The Law of God I read, and found it sweet,

Made it my whole delight, and in it grew

To such perfection, that e’re yet my age

Had measur’d twice six years, at our great Feast 210

I went into the Temple, there to hear

The Teachers of our Law, and 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’d, victorious deeds

Flam’d in my heart, heroic acts, one while

To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,

Thence to subdue and quell o’re all the earth

Brute violence and proud Tyrannick pow’r,

Till truth were freed, and equity restor’d: 220

Yet held it more humane, more heavenly first

By winning words to conquer willing hearts,

And make perswasion do the work of fear;

At least to try, and teach the erring Soul

Not wilfully mis-doing, but unware

Misled: the stubborn only to subdue.

These growing thoughts my Mother soon perceiving

By words at times cast forth inly rejoyc’d,

And said to me apart, high are thy thoughts

O Son, but nourish them and let them soar 230

To what highth sacred vertue and true worth

Can raise them, though above example high;

By matchless Deeds express thy matchless Sire.

For know, thou art no Son of mortal man,

Though men esteem thee low of Parentage,

Thy Father is the Eternal King, who rules

All Heaven and Earth, Angels 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. 240

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 him, and to thee they came;

Directed to the Manger where thou lais’t,

For in the Inn was left no better room:

A Star, not seen before in Heaven appearing

Guided the Wise Men thither from the East, 250

To honour thee with Incense, Myrrh, and 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 Anna, warn’d

By Vision, found thee in the Temple, and spake

Before the Altar and the vested Priest,

Like things of thee to all that present stood.

This having heard, strait I again revolv’d

The Law and Prophets, searching what was writ 260

Concerning the Messiah, to our Scribes

Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake

I am; this chiefly, that my way must lie

Through many a hard assay even to the death,

E’re I the promis’d Kingdom can attain,

Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins

Full weight must be transferr’d upon my head.

Yet neither thus disheartn’d or dismay’d,

The time prefixt I waited, when behold

The Baptist, (of whose birth I oft had heard, 270

Not knew by sight) now come, who 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

Strait knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim’d

Me him (for it was shew’n him so from Heaven)

Me him whose Harbinger he was; and first

Refus’d on me his Baptism to confer,

As much his greater, and was hardly won;

But as I rose out of the laving stream, 280

Heaven open’d her eternal doors, from whence

The Spirit descended on me like a Dove,

And last the sum of all, my Father’s voice,

Audibly heard from Heav’n, pronounc’d me his,

Me his beloved Son, in whom alone

He was well pleas’d; by which I knew the time

Now full, that I no more should live obscure,

But openly begin, as best becomes

The Authority which I deriv’d from Heaven.

And now by some strong motion I am led 290

Into this wilderness, to 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 Desert, dusk with horrid shades;

The way he came not having mark’d, return

Was difficult, by humane steps untrod;

And he still on was led, but with such thoughts

Accompanied of things past and to come 300

Lodg’d in his brest, as well might recommend

Such Solitude before choicest Society.

Full forty days he pass’d, whether on hill

Sometimes, anon in shady vale, each night

Under the covert of some ancient Oak,

Or Cedar, to defend him from the dew,

Or harbour’d in one Cave, is not reveal’d;

Nor tasted humane food, nor hunger felt

Till those days ended, hunger’d then at last

Among wild Beasts: they at his sight grew mild, 310

Nor sleeping him nor waking harm’d, his walk

The fiery Serpent fled, and noxious Worm,

The Lion and fierce Tiger glar’d aloof.

But now an aged man in Rural weeds,

Following, as seem’d, the quest of some stray Ewe,

Or wither’d sticks to gather; which might serve

Against a Winters 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 him, then with words thus utt’red spake. 320

Sir, what ill chance hath brought thee to this place

So far from path or road of men, who pass

In Troop or Caravan, for single none

Durst ever, who return’d, and dropt not here

His Carcass, pin’d with hunger and with droughth?

I ask the rather and 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 so, and call’d thee Son

Of God: I saw and heard, for we sometimes 330

Who dwell this wild, constrain’d by want, come forth

To Town or Village nigh (nighest is far)

Where ought we hear, and 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 hence, no other Guide I seek,

By Miracle he may, reply’d the Swain,

What other way I see not, for we here

Live on tough roots and stubs, to thirst inur’d

More then the Camel, and to drink go far, 340

Men to much misery and hardship born;

But if thou be the Son of God, Command

That out of these hard stones be made thee bread;

So shalt thou save thy self and us relieve

With Food, whereof we wretched seldom taste.

He ended, and the Son of God reply’d.

Think’st thou such force in Bread? is it not written

(For I discern thee other then thou seem’st)

Man lives not by Bread only, but each Word

Proceeding from the mouth of God; who fed 350

Our Fathers here with Manna; in the Mount

Moses was forty days, nor eat nor drank,

And forty days Eliah without food

Wandred this barren waste, the same I now:

Why dost thou then suggest to me distrust,

Knowing who I am, as I know who thou art?

Whom thus answer’d th’ Arch Fiend now undisguis’d.

’Tis true, I am that Spirit unfortunate,

Who leagu’d with millions more in rash revolt

Kept not my happy Station, but was driv’n 360

With them from bliss to the bottomless deep,

Vet to that hideous place not so confin’d

By rigour unconniving, but that oft

Leaving my dolorous Prison I enjoy

Large liberty to round this Globe of Earth,

Or range in th’ Air, nor from the Heav’n of Heav’ns

Hath he excluded my resort sometimes.

I came among the Sons of God, when he

Gave up into my hands Uzzean Job

To prove him, and illustrate his high worth; 370

And when to all his Angels he propos’d

To draw the proud King Ahab into fraud

That he might fall in Ramoth, they demurring,

I undertook that office, and the tongues

Of all his flattering Prophets glibb’d with lyes

To his destruction, as I had in charge.

For what he bids I do; though I have lost

Much lustre of my native brightness, lost

To be belov’d of God, I have not lost

To love, at least contemplate and admire 380

What I see excellent in good, or fair,

Or vertuous, I should so have lost all sense.

What can be then less in me then desire

To see thee and approach thee, whom I know

Declar’d the Son of God, to hear attent

Thy wisdom, and 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 lost, rather by them 390

I gain’d what I have gain’d, and 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 answers, oracles, portents and dreams,

Whereby they may direct their future life.

Envy they say excites me, thus to gain

Companions of my misery and wo.

At first it may be; but long since with wo

Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof, 400

That fellowship in pain divides not smart,

Nor lightens aught each mans peculiar load.

Small consolation then, were Man adjoyn’d:

This wounds me most (what can it less) that Man,

Man fall’n shall be restor’d, I never more.

To whom our Saviour sternly thus reply’d.

Deservedly thou griev’st, compos’d of lyes

From the beginning, and in lies wilt end;

Who boast’st release from Hell, and leave to come

Into the Heav’n of Heavens; thou com’st indeed, 410

As a poor miserable captive thrall,

Comes to the place where he before had sat

Among the Prime in Splendour, now depos’d,

Ejected, emptyed, gaz’d, unpityed, shun’d,

A spectacle of ruin or of scorn

To all the Host of Heaven; the happy place

Imparts to thee no happiness, no joy,

Rather inflames thy torment, representing

Lost bliss, to thee no more communicable,

So never more in Hell then when in Heaven. 420

But thou art serviceable to Heaven’s King.

Wilt thou impute to obedience what thy fear

Extorts, or pleasure to do ill excites?

What but thy malice mov’d thee to misdeem

Of righteous Job, then cruelly to afflict him

With all inflictions, but his patience won?

The other service was thy chosen task,

To be a lyer in four hundred mouths;

For lying is thy sustenance, thy food.

Yet thou pretend’st to truth; all Oracles 430

By thee are giv’n, and what confest more true

Among the Nations? that hath been thy craft,

By mixing somewhat true to vent more lyes.

But what have been thy answers, what 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 wiser, or the more instruct

To flye or follow what concern’d him most, 440

And run not sooner to his fatal snare?

For God hath justly giv’n the Nations up

To thy Delusions; justly, since they fell

Idolatrous, but when his purpose is

Among them to declare his Providence

To thee not known, whence hast thou then thy truth,

But from him or his Angels President

In every Province, who themselves disdaining

To approach thy Temples, give thee in command

What to the smallest tittle thou shalt say 450

To thy Adorers; thou with trembling fear,

Or like a Fawning Parasite obey’st;

Then to thy self 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 enquir’d at Delphos or elsewhere,

At least in vain, for they shall find thee mute.

God hath now sent his living Oracle 460

Into the World, to teach his final will,

And sends his Spirit of Truth henceforth to dwell

In pious Hearts, an 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’d, and this answer smooth return’d.

Sharply thou hast insisted on rebuke,

And urg’d me hard with doings, which not will

But misery hath rested from me; where 470

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 lye,

Say and unsay, feign, flatter, or abjure?

But thou art plac’t above me, thou art Lord;

From thee I can and must submiss endure

Check or reproof, and glad to scape so quit.

Hard are the ways of truth, and rough to walk,

Smooth on the tongue discourst, pleasing to th’ ear,

And tuneable as Silvan Pipe or Song; 480

What wonder then if I delight to hear

Her dictates from thy mouth? most men admire

Vertue, who follow not her lore: permit me

To hear thee when I come (since no man comes)

And talk at least, though I despair to attain.

Thy Father, who is holy, wise and pure,

Suffers the Hypocrite or Atheous Priest

To tread his Sacred Courts, and minister

About his Altar, handling holy things,

Praying or vowing, and vouchsaf’d his voice 490

To Balaam reprobate, a Prophet yet

Inspir’d; disdain not such access to me.

To whom our Saviour with unalter’d brow

Thy coming hither, though I know thy scope,

I bid not or forbid; do as thou find’st

Permission from above; thou canst not more.

He added not; and Satan bowing low

His gray dissimulation, disappear’d

Into thin Air diffus’d: for now began

Night with her sullen wing to double-shade 500

The Desert Fowls in thir clay nests were couch’t;

And now wild Beasts came forth the woods to roam.

The End of the First Book.

The Second Book.

MEAN while the new-baptiz’d, who yet remain’d

At Jordan with the Baptist, and had seen

Him whom they heard so late expresly call’d

Jesus Messiah Son of God declar’d,

And on that high Authority had believ’d,

And with him talkt, and with him lodg’d, I mean

Andrew and Simon, famous after known

With others though in Holy Writ not nam’d,

Now missing him thir joy so lately found,

So lately found, and so abruptly gone, 10

Began to doubt, and doubted many days,

And as the days increas’d, increas’d thir doubt:

Sometimes they thought he might be only shewn,

And for a time caught up to God, as once

Moses was in the Mount, and missing long;

And the great Thisbite who on fiery wheels

Rode up to Heaven, yet once again to come.

Therefore as those young Prophets then with care

Sought lost Eliah, so in each place these

Nigh to Bethabara; in Jerico 20

The City of Palms, Aenon, and Salem Old,

Machaerus and each Town or City wall’d

On this side the broad lake Genezaret

Or in Perea, but return’d in vain.

Then on the bank of Jordan, by a Creek:

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.

Alas from what high hope to what relapse 30

Unlook’d for are we fall’n, our eyes beheld

Messiah certainly now come, so long

Expected of our Fathers; we have heard

His words, his wisdom full of grace and truth,

Now, now, for sure, deliverance is at hand,

The Kingdom shall to Israel be restor’d:

Thus we rejoyc’d, but soon our joy is turn’d

Into perplexity and new amaze:

For whither is he gone, what accident

Hath rapt him from us? will he now retire 40

After appearance, and again prolong

Our expectation? God of Israel,

Send thy Messiah forth, the time is come;

Behold the Kings of the Earth how they oppress

Thy chosen, to what highth thir pow’r unjust

They have exalted, and behind them cast

All fear of thee, arise and vindicate

Thy Glory, free thy people from thir yoke,

But let us wait; thus far he hath perform’d,

Sent his Anointed, and to us reveal’d him, 50

By his great Prophet, pointed at and shown,

In publick, and with him we have convers’d;

Let us be glad of this, and all our fears

Lay on his Providence; he will not fail

Nor will withdraw him now, nor will recall,

Mock us with his blest sight, then snatch him hence,

Soon we shall see our hope, our joy return.

Thus they out of their plaints new hope resume

To find whom at the first they found unsought:

But to his Mother Mary, when she saw 60

Others return’d from Baptism, not her Son,

Nor left at Jordan, tydings of him none;

Within her brest, though calm; her brest though pure,

Motherly cares and fears got head, and rais’d

Some troubl’d thoughts, which she in sighs thus clad.

O what avails me now that honour high

To have conceiv’d of God, or that salute

Hale highly favour’d, among women blest;

While I to sorrows am no less advanc’t,

And fears as eminent, above the lot 70

Of other women, by 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 flye

Thence into Egypt, till the Murd’rous King

Were dead, who sought his life, and missing fill’d

With Infant blood the streets of Bethlehem;

From Egypt home return’d, in Nazareth

Hath been our dwelling many years, his life 80

Private, unactive, calm, contemplative,

Little suspicious to any King; but now

Full grown to Man, acknowledg’d, as I hear,

By John the Baptist, and in publick shown,

Son own’d from Heaven by his Father’s voice;

I look’t for some great change; to Honour? no,

But trouble, as old Simeon plain foretold,

That to the fall and rising he should be

Of Many in Israel, and to a sign

Spoken against, that through my very Soul 90

A sword shall pierce, this is my favour’d lot,

My Exaltation to Afflictions high;

Afflicted I may be, it seems, and blest;

I will not argue that, nor will repine.

But where delays he now? some great intent

Conceals him: when twelve years he scarce had seen,

I lost him, but so found, as well I saw

He could not lose himself; but went about

His Father’s business; what he meant I mus’d,

Since understand; much more his absence now 100

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 up, portending strange events.

Thus Mary pondering oft, and oft to mind

Recalling what remarkably had pass’d

Since first her Salutation heard, with thoughts

Meekly compos’d awaited the fulfilling:

The while her Son tracing the Desert wild,

Sole but with holiest Meditations fed, 110

Into himself descended, and at once

All his great work to come before him set;

How to begin, how to accomplish best

His end of being on Earth, and mission high:

For Satan with slye preface to return

Had left him vacant, and with speed was gon

Up to the middle Region of thick Air,

Where all his Potentates in Council sate;

There without sign of boast, or sign of joy,

Sollicitous and blank he thus began. 120

Princes, Heavens antient Sons, Aethereal Thrones,

Demonian Spirits now, from the Element

Each of his reign allotted, rightlier call’d,

Powers of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth beneath,

So may we hold our place and these mild seats

Without new trouble; such an Enemy

Is ris’n to invade us, who no less

Threat’ns then our expulsion down to Hell;

I, as I undertook, and with the vote

Consenting in full frequence was impowr’d, 130

Have found him, view’d him, tasted him, but find

Far other labour to be undergon

Then when I dealt with Adam first of Men,

Though Adam by his Wives allurement fell,

However to this Man inferior far,

If he be Man by Mothers side at least,

With more then humane gifts from Heav’n adorn’d,

Perfections absolute, Graces divine,

And amplitude of mind to greatest Deeds.

Therefore I am return’d, lest confidence 140

Of my success with Eve in Paradise

Deceive ye to perswasion over-sure

Of like succeeding here; I summon all

Rather to be in readiness, with hand

Or counsel to assist; lest I who erst

Thought none my equal, now be over-match’d.

So spake the old Serpent doubting, and from all

With clamour was assur’d thir utmost aid

At his command; when from amidst them rose

Belial the dissolutest Spirit that fell 150

The sensuallest, and after Asmodai

The fleshliest Incubus, and 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 Skie; more like to Goddesses

Then Mortal Creatures, graceful and discreet,

Expert in amorous Arts, enchanting tongues

Perswasive, Virgin majesty with mild

And sweet allay’d, yet terrible to approach, 160

Skill’d to retire, and in retiring draw

Hearts after them tangl’d in Amorous Nets.

Such object hath the power to soft’n and tame

Severest temper, smooth the rugged’st brow,

Enerve, and with voluptuous hope dissolve,

Draw out with credulous desire, and lead

At will the manliest, resolutest brest,

As the Magnetic hardest Iron draws.

Women, when nothing else, beguil’d the heart

Of wisest Solomon, and made him build, 170

And made him bow to the Gods of his Wives.

To whom quick answer Satan thus return’d

Belial in much uneven scale thou weigh’st

All others by thy self; because of old

Thou thy self doat’st on womankind, admiring

Thir shape, thir colour, and attractive grace,

None are, thou think’st, but taken with such toys.

Before the Flood thou with thy lusty Crew,

False titl’d Sons of God, roaming the Earth

Cast wanton eyes on the daughters of men, 180

And coupl’d with them, and begot a race.

Have we not seen, or by relation heard,

In Courts and Regal Chambers how thou lurk’st,

In Wood or Grove by mossie Fountain side,

In Valley or Green Meadow to way-lay

Some beauty rare, Calisto, Clymene,

Daphne, or Semele, Antiopa,

Or Amymone, Syrinx, many more

Too long, then lay’st thy scapes on names ador’d,

Apollo, Neptune, Jupiter, or Pan, 190

Satyr, or Fawn, or 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 lures, easily scorn’d

All her assaults, on worthier things intent?

Remember that Pellean Conquerour,

A youth, how all the Beauties of the East

He slightly view’d, and slightly over-pass’d;

How hee sirnam’d of Africa dismiss’d

In his prime youth the fair Iberian maid. 200

For Solomon he liv’d at ease, and full

Of honour, wealth, high fare, aim’d not beyond

Higher design then to enjoy his State;

Thence to the bait of Women lay expos’d;

But he whom we attempt is wiser far

Then Solomon, of 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 210

Of fond desire? or should she confident,

As sitting Queen ador’d on Beauties Throne,

Descend with all her winning charms begirt

To enamour, as the Zone of Venus once

Wrought that effect on Jove, so Fables tell;

How would one look from his Majestick brow

Seated as on the top of Vertues hill,

Discount’nance her despis’d, and put to rout

All her array; her female pride deject,

Or turn to reverent awe? for Beauty stands 220

In the admiration only of weak minds

Led captive; cease to admire, and all her Flumes

Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy,

At every sudden slighting quite abasht:

Therefore with manlier objects we must try

His constancy, with such as have more shew

Of worth, of honour, glory, and popular praise;

Rocks whereon greatest men have oftest wreck’d;

Or that which only seems to satisfie

Lawful desires of Nature, not beyond; 230

And now I know he hungers where no food

Is to be found, in the wide Wilderness;

The rest commit to me, I shall let pass

No advantage, and his strength as oft assay.

He ceas’d, and heard thir grant in loud acclaim;

Then forthwith to him takes a chosen band

Of Spirits likest to himself in guile

To be at hand, and at his beck appear,

If cause were to unfold some active Scene

Of various persons each to know his part; 240

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 hungring first, and to himself thus said.

Where will this end? four times ten days I have pass’d

Wandring this woody maze, and humane food

Nor tasted, nor had appetite: that Fast

To Vertue I impute not, or count part

Of what I suffer here; if Nature need not,

Or God support Nature without repast 250

Though needing, what praise is it to endure?

But now I feel I hunger, which declares,

Nature hath need of what she asks; yet God

Can satisfie that need some other way,

Though hunger still remain: so it remain

Without this bodies wasting, I content me,

And from the sting of Famine fear no harm,

Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts that feed

Mee hungring more to do my Fathers will.

It was the hour of night, when thus the Son 260

Commun’d in silent walk, then laid him down

Under the hospitable covert nigh

Of Trees thick interwoven; there he slept,

And dream’d, as appetite is wont to dream,

Of meats and drinks, Natures refreshment sweet;

Him thought, he by the Brook of Cherith stood

And saw the Ravens with thir horny beaks

Food to Elijah bringing Even and Morn,

Though ravenous, taught to abstain from what they brought:

He saw the Prophet also how he fled 270

Into the Desert, and 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 night, and now the Herald Lark

Left his ground-nest, high towring to descry 280

The morns approach, and greet her with his Song:

As lightly from his grassy Couch up rose

Our Saviour, and found all was but a dream,

Fasting he went to sleep, and 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 view, Sheep-cote or Herd;

But Cottage, Herd or Sheep-cote none he saw,

Only in a bottom saw a pleasant Grove,

With chaunt of tuneful Birds resounding loud; 290

Thither he bent his way, determin’d there

To rest at noon, and entr’d soon the shade

High rooft and walks beneath, and alleys brown

That open’d in the midst a woody Scene,

Natures 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 before, but seemlier clad,

As one in City, or Court, or Palace bred, 300

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 destitute, and well I know,

Not without hunger. Others of some note,

As story tells, have trod this Wilderness;

The Fugitive Bond-woman with her Son

Out cast Nebaioth, yet found he relief

By a providing Angel; all the race 310

Of Israel here had famish’d, had not God

Rain’d from Heaven Manna, and that Prophet bold

Native of Thebes wandring 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 need, I as thou seest have none.

How hast thou hunger then? Satan reply’d,

Tell me if Food were now before thee set, 320

Would’st thou not eat? Thereafter as I like

The giver, answer’d Jesus. Why should that

Cause thy refusal, said the subtle Fiend,

Hast thou not right to all Created things,

Owe not all Creatures by just right to thee

Duty and Service, nor to stay till bid,

But tender all their power? nor mention I

Meats by the Law unclean, or offer’d first

To Idols, those young Daniel could refuse;

Nor proffer’d by an Enemy, though who 330

Would scruple that, with want opprest? behold

Nature asham’d, or better to express,

Troubl’d that thou should’st hunger, hath purvey’d

From all the Elements her choicest store

To treat thee as beseems, and as her Lord

With honour, only deign to sit and eat.

He spake no dream, for as his words had end,

Our Saviour lifting up his eyes beheld

In ample space under the broadest shade

A Table richly spred, in regal mode, 340

With dishes pil’d, and meats of noblest sort

And savour, Beasts of chase, or Fowl of game,

In pastry built, or from the spit, or boyl’d,

Gris-amber-steam’d; all Fish from Sea or Shore,

Freshet, or purling Brook, of shell or fin,

And exquisitest name, for which was drain’d

Pontus and Lucrine Bay, and Afric Coast.

Alas how simple, to these Cates compar’d,

Was that crude Apple that diverted Eve!

And at a stately side-board by the wine 350

That fragrant smell diffus’d, in order stood

Tall stripling youths rich clad, of fairer hew

Then Ganymed or Hylas, distant more

Under the Trees now trip’d, now solemn stood

Nymphs of Diana’s train, and Naiades

With fruits and flowers from Amalthea’s horn,

And Ladies of th’ Hesperides, that seem’d

Fairer then feign’d of old, or fabl’d since

Of Fairy Damsels met in Forest wide

By Knights of Logres, or of Lyones, 360

Lancelot or Pelleas, or Pellenore,

And all the while Harmonious Airs were heard

Of chiming strings, or charming pipes and winds

Of gentlest gale Arabian odors fann’d

From their soft wings, and flora’s earliest smells.

Such was the Splendour, and 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, 370

Thir taste no knowledge works, at least of evil,

But life preserves, destroys life’s enemy,

Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.

All these are Spirits of Air, and Woods, and Springs,

Thy gentle Ministers, who come to pay

Thee homage, and acknowledge thee thir Lord:

What doubt’st thou Son of God? sit down and eat.

To whom thus Jesus temperately reply’d:

Said’st thou not that to all things I had right?

And who withholds my pow’r that right to use? 380

Shall I receive by gift what of my own,

When and where likes me best, I can command?

I can at will, doubt not, as 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 vain, where no acceptance it can find,

And with my hunger what hast thou to do?

Thy pompous Delicacies I contemn, 390

And count thy specious gifts no gifts but guiles.

To whom thus answer’d Satan malecontent:

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 400

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 hunger, that each other Creature tames,

Thou art not to be harm’d, therefore not mov’d;

Thy temperance invincible besides,

For no allurement yields to appetite,

And all thy heart is set on high designs, 410

High actions: but wherewith to be atchiev’d?

Great acts require great means of enterprise,

Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,

A Carpenter thy Father known, thy self

Bred up in poverty and streights 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 Followers, what Retinue canst thou gain,

Or at thy heels the dizzy Multitude, 420

Longer then thou canst feed them on thy cost?

Money brings Honour, Friends, Conquest, and Realms;

What rais’d Antipater the Edomite,

And his Son Herod plac’d on Juda’s Throne;

(Thy throne) but gold that got him puissant friends?

Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,

Get Riches first, get Wealth, and Treasure heap,

Not difficult, if thou hearken to me,

Riches are mine, Fortune is in my hand;

They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain, 430

While Virtue, Valour, Wisdom sit in want.

To whom thus Jesus patiently reply’d;

Yet Wealth without these three is impotent,

To gain dominion or to keep it gain’d.

Witness those antient 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 Jephtha, and the Shepherd lad,

Whose off-spring on the Throne of Juda sat 440

So many Ages, and shall yet regain

That seat, and 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

Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?

For I esteem those names of men so poor

Who could do mighty things, and could contemn

Riches though offer’d from the hand of Kings.

And what in me seems wanting, but that I 450

May also in this poverty as soon

Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?

Extol not Riches then, the toyl of Fools

The wise mans cumbrance if not snare, more apt

To slacken Virtue, and abate her edge,

Then 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 shew, is but a wreath of thorns,

Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights 460

To him who wears the Regal Diadem,

When on his shoulders each mans burden lies;

For therein stands the office of a King,

His Honour, Vertue, Merit and chief Praise,

That for the Publick all this weight he bears.

Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules

Passions, Desires, and Fears, is more a King;

Which every wise and vertuous man attains:

And who attains not, ill aspires to rule

Cities of men, or head-strong Multitudes, 470

Subject himself to Anarchy within,

Or lawless passions in him which he serves.

But to guide Nations in the way of truth

By saving Doctrine, and from errour lead

To know, and knowing worship God aright,

Is yet more Kingly, this attracts the Soul,

Governs the inner man, the nobler part,

That other o’re the body only reigns,

And oft by force, which to a generous mind

So reigning can be no sincere delight. 480

Besides to give a Kingdom hath been thought

Greater and nobler done, and to lay down

Far more magnanimous, then to assume.

Riches are needless then, both for themselves,

And for thy reason why they should be sought,

To gain a Scepter, oftest better miss’t.

Note: 309 he] here 1695.

The End of the Second Book.

The Third Book.

So spake the Son of God, and Satan stood

A while as mute confounded what to say,

What to reply, confuted and convinc’t

Of his weak arguing, and fallacious drift;

At length collecting all his Serpent wiles,

With soothing words renew’d, him thus accosts.

I see thou know’st what is of use to know,

What best to say canst say, to do canst do;

Thy actions to thy words accord, thy words

To thy large heart give utterance due, thy heart 10

Conteins of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.

Should Kings and Nations from thy mouth consult,

Thy Counsel would be as the Oracle

Urim and Thummin, those oraculous gems

On Aaron’s breast: or tongue of Seers old

Infallible; or wert thou sought to deeds

That might require th’ array of war, thy skill

Of conduct would be such, that all the world

Could not sustain thy Prowess, or subsist

In battel, though against thy few in arms. 20

These God-like Vertues wherefore dost thou hide?

Affecting private life, or more obscure

In savage Wilderness, wherefore deprive

All Earth her wonder at thy acts, thy self

The fame and glory, glory the reward

That sole excites to high attempts the flame

Of most erected Spirits, most temper’d pure

Aetherial, who all pleasures else despise,

All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,

And dignities and powers all but the highest? 30

Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe, the Son

Of Macedonian Philip had e’re these

Won Asia and the Throne of Cyrus held

At his dispose, young Scipio had brought down

The Carthaginian pride, young Pompey quell’d

The Pontic King and in triumph had rode.

Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,

Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment.

Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,

The more he grew in years, the more inflam’d 40

With glory, wept that he had liv’d so long

Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late.

To whom our Saviour calmly thus reply’d.

Thou neither dost perswade me to seek wealth

For Empires sake, nor Empire to affect

For glories sake by all thy argument.

For what is glory but the blaze of fame,

The peoples praise, if always praise unmixt?

And what the people but a herd confus’d,

A miscellaneous rabble, who extol 50

Things vulgar, & well weigh’d, scarce worth the praise,

They praise and they admire they know not what;

And know not whom, but 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 few; and glory scarce of few is rais’d.

This is true glory and renown, when God 60

Looking on the Earth, with approbation marks

The just man, and divulges him through Heaven

To all his Angels, who with true applause

Recount his praises; thus he did to Job,

When to extend his fame through Heaven & Earth,

As thou to thy reproach mayst well remember,

He ask’d thee, hast thou seen my servant Job?

Famous he was in Heaven, on Earth less known;

Where glory is false glory, attributed

To things not glorious, men not worthy of fame. 70

They err who count it glorious to subdue

By Conquest far and wide, to over-run

Large Countries, and in field great Battels win,

Great Cities by assault: what do these Worthies,

But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and enslave

Peaceable Nations, neighbouring, or remote,

Made Captive, yet deserving freedom more

Then those thir Conquerours, who leave behind

Nothing but ruin wheresoe’re they rove,

And all the flourishing works of peace destroy, 80

Then swell with pride, and must be titl’d Gods,

Great Benefactors of mankind, Deliverers,

Worship’t with Temple, Priest and Sacrifice;

One is the Son of Jove, of Mars the other,

Till Conquerour Death discover them scarce men,

Rowling in brutish vices, and 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 ambition, war, or violence; 90

By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent,

By patience, temperance; I mention still

Him whom thy wrongs with Saintly patience born,

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 truths sake suffering death unjust, lives now

Equal in fame to proudest Conquerours.

Yet if for fame and glory aught be done, 100

Aught suffer’d; if young African for fame

His wasted Country freed from Punic rage,

The deed becomes unprais’d, the man at least,

And loses, though but verbal, his reward.

Shall I seek glory then, as vain men seek

Oft not deserv’d? I seek not mine, but his

Who sent me, and thereby witness whence I am.

To whom the Tempter murmuring thus reply’d.

Think not so slight of glory; therein least,

Resembling thy great Father: he seeks glory, 110

And for his glory all things made, all things

Orders and governs, nor content in Heaven

By all his Angels glorifi’d, requires

Glory from men, from all men good or bad,

Wise or unwise, no difference, no exemption;

Above all Sacrifice, or hallow’d gift

Glory he requires, and glory he receives

Promiscuous from all Nations, Jew, or Greek,

Or Barbarous, nor exception hath declar’d;

From us his foes pronounc’t glory he exacts. 120

To whom our Saviour fervently reply’d.

And reason; since his word all things produc’d,

Though chiefly not for glory as prime end,

But to shew forth his goodness, and impart

His good communicable to every soul

Freely; of whom what could he less expect

Then glory and benediction, that is thanks,

The slightest, easiest, readiest recompence

From them who could return him nothing else,

And not returning that would likeliest render 130

Contempt instead, dishonour, obloquy?

Hard recompence, unsutable return

For so much good, so much beneficence.

But why should man seek glory? who of his own

Hath nothing, and to whom nothing belongs

But condemnation, ignominy, and shame?

Who for so many benefits receiv’d

Turn’d recreant to God, ingrate and false,

And so of all true good himself despoil’d,

Yet, sacrilegious, to himself would take 140

That which to God alone of right belongs;

Yet so much bounty is in God, such grace,

That who advance his glory, not thir own,

Them he himself to glory will advance.

So spake the Son of God; and here again

Satan had not to answer, but stood struck

With guilt of his own sin, for he himself

Insatiable of glory had lost all,

Yet of another Plea bethought him soon.

Of glory as thou wilt, said he, so deem, 150

Worth or not worth the seeking, let it pass:

But to a Kingdom thou art born, ordain’d

To sit upon thy Father David’s Throne;

By Mother’s side thy Father, though thy right

Be now in powerful hands, that 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 160

The Temple, oft the Law with foul affronts,

Abominations rather, as did once

Antiochus: and think’st thou to regain

Thy right by sitting still or thus retiring?

So did not Machabeus: he indeed

Retir’d unto the Desert, but with arms;

And o’re a mighty King so oft prevail’d,

That by strong hand his Family obtain’d,

Though Priests, the Crown, and David’s Throne usurp’d,

With Modin and her Suburbs once content. 170

If Kingdom move thee not, let move thee Zeal,

And Duty; Zeal and Duty are not slow;

But on Occasions forelock watchful wait.

They themselves rather are occasion best,

Zeal of thy Fathers house, Duty to free

Thy Country from her Heathen servitude;

So shalt thou best fullfil, best verifie

The Prophets old, who sung thy endless raign,

The happier raign the sooner it begins,

Raign then; what canst thou better do the while? 180

To whom our saviour answer thus return’d.

All things are best fullfil’d in thir due time,

And time there is for all things, Truth hath said:

If of my raign Prophetic Writ hath told

That it shall never end, so when begin

The Father in his purpose hath decreed,

He in whose hand all times and seasons roul.

What if he hath decreed that I shall first

Be try’d in humble state, and things adverse,

By tribulations, injuries, insults, 190

Contempts, and scorns, and snares, and violence,

Suffering, abstaining, quietly expecting

Without distrust or doubt, that he may know

What I can suffer, how obey? who best

Can suffer, best can do; best reign, who first

Well hath obey’d; just tryal e’re I merit

My exaltation without change or end.

But what concerns it thee when I begin

My everlasting Kingdom, why art thou

Sollicitous, what moves thy inquisition? 200

Know’st thou not that my rising is thy fall,

And my promotion will be thy destruction?

To whom the Tempter inly rackt reply’d.

Let that come when it comes; all hope is lost

Of my reception into grace; what worse?

For where no hope is left, is left no fear;

If there be worse, the expectation more

Of worse torments me then the feeling can.

I would be at the worst; worst is my Port.

My harbour and my ultimate repose, 210

The end I would attain, my final good.

My error was my error, and my crime

My crime; whatever for it self condemn’d

And will alike be punish’d; whether thou

Raign or raign not; though to that gentle brow

Willingly I could flye, and hope thy raign,

From that placid aspect and meek regard,

Rather then aggravate my evil state,

Would stand between me and thy Fathers ire,

(Whose ire I dread more then the fire of Hell,) 220

A shelter and a kind of shading cool

Interposition, as a summers cloud.

If I then to the worst that can be hast,

Why move thy feet so slow to what is best,

Happiest both to thy self and all the world,

That thou who worthiest art should’st be thir King?

Perhaps thou linger’st in deep thoughts detain d

Of the enterprize so hazardous and high;

No wonder, for though in thee be united

What of perfection can in man be found, 230

Or human nature can receive, consider

Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent

At home, scarce view’d the Gallilean Towns

And once a year Jerusalem, few days

Short sojourn; and what thence could’st thou observe?

The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory,

Empires, and Monarchs, and thir radiant Courts

Best school of best experience, quickest in sight

In all things that to greatest actions lead.

The wisest, unexperienc’t, will be ever 240

Timorous and loth, with novice modesty,

(As he who seeking Asses found a Kingdom)

Irresolute, unhardy, unadventrous:

But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit

Those rudiments, and see before thine eyes

The Monarchies of the Earth, thir pomp and state,

Sufficient introduction to inform

Thee, of thy self so apt, in regal Arts,

And regal Mysteries; that thou may’st know

How best their opposition to withstand. 250

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 spatious plain out strech’t in circuit wide

Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flow’d,

Th’ one winding, the other strait and left between

Fair Champain with less rivers interveind,

Then meeting joyn’d thir tribute to the Sea:

Fertil of corn the glebe, of oyl and wine,

With herds the pastures throng’d, with flocks the hills, 260

Huge Cities and high towr’d, that well might seem

The seats of mightiest Monarchs, and so large

The Prospect was, that here and there was room

For barren desert fountainless and dry.

To this high mountain top the Tempter brought

Our Saviour, and new train of words began.

Well have we speeded, and o’re hill and dale,

Forest and field, and flood, Temples and Towers

Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold’st

Assyria and her Empires antient bounds, 270

Araxes and the Caspian lake, thence on

As far as Indus East, Euphrates West,

And oft beyond; to South the Persian Bay,

And inaccessible the Arabian drouth:

Here Ninevee, of length within her wall

Several days journey, built by Ninus old,

Of that first golden Monarchy the seat,

And seat of Salmanassar, whose success

Israel in long captivity still mourns;

There Babylon the wonder of all tongues, 280

As antient, but rebuilt by him who twice

Judah and all thy Father David’s house

Led captive, and Jerusalem laid waste,

Till Cyrus set them free; Persepolis

His City there thou seest, and Bactra there;

Ecbatana her structure vast there shews,

And Hecatompylos her hunderd gates,

There Susa by Choaspes, amber stream,

The drink of none but Kings; of later fame

Built by Emathian, or by Parthian hands, 290

The great Seleucia, Nisibis, and there

Artaxata, Teredon, Tesiphon,

Turning with easie eye thou may’st behold.

All these the Parthian, now some Ages past,

By great Arsaces led, who founded first

That Empire, under 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 300

Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild

Have wasted Sogdiana; to her aid

He marches now in hast; see, though from far,

His thousands, in what martial equipage

They issue forth, Steel Bows, and Shafts their arms

Of equal dread in flight, or in pursuit;

All Horsemen, in which fight they most excel;

See how in warlike muster they appear,

In Rhombs and wedges, and half moons, and wings.

He look’t and saw what numbers numberless 310

The City gates out powr’d, light armed Troops

In coats of Mail and military pride;

In Mail thir horses clad, yet fleet and strong,

Prauncing their riders bore, the flower and choice

Of many Provinces from bound to bound;

From Arachosia, from Candaor East,

And Margiana to the Hyrcanian cliffs

Of Caucasus, and dark Iberian dales,

From Atropatia and the neighbouring plains

Of Adiabene, Media, and the South 320

Of Susiana to Balsara’s hav’n.

He saw them in thir forms of battell rang’d,

How quick they wheel’d, and flying behind them shot

Sharp sleet of arrowie showers against the face

Of thir pursuers, and overcame by flight;

The field all iron cast a gleaming brown,

Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn,

Cuirassiers all in steel for standing fight;

Chariots or Elephants endorst with Towers

Of Archers, nor of labouring Pioners 330

A multitude with Spades and Axes arm’d

To lay hills plain, fell woods, or valleys fill,

Or where plain was raise hill, or over-lay

With bridges rivers proud, as with a yoke;

Mules after these, Camels and Dromedaries,

And Waggons fraught with Utensils of war.

Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,

When Agrican with all his Northern powers

Besieg’d Albracca, as Romances tell;

The City of Gallaphrone, from thence to win 340

The fairest of her Sex Angelica

His daughter, sought by many Prowest Knights,

Both Paynim, and the Peers of Charlemane.

Such and so numerous was thir Chivalrie;

At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presum’d,

And to our Saviour thus his words renew’d.

That thou may’st know I seek not to engage

Thy Vertue, and not every way secure

On no slight grounds thy safety; hear, and mark

To what end I have brought thee hither and shewn 350

All this fair sight; thy Kingdom though foretold

By Prophet or by Angel, unless thou

Endeavour, as thy Father David did,

Thou never shalt obtain; prediction still

In all things, and all men, supposes means,

Without means us’d, what it predicts revokes.

But say thou wer’t possess’d of David’s Throne

By free consent of all, none opposite,

Samaritan or Jew; how could’st thou hope

Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, 360

Between two such enclosing enemies

Roman and Parthian? therefore one of these

Thou must make sure thy own, the Parthian first

By my advice, as nearer and of late

Found able by invasion to annoy

Thy country, and captive lead away her Kings

Antigonus, and old Hyrcanus bound,

Maugre the Roman: it shall be my task

To render thee the Parthian at dispose;

Chuse which thou wilt by conquest or by league 370

By him thou shalt regain, without him not,

That which alone can truly reinstall thee

In David’s royal seat, his true Successour,

Deliverance of thy brethren, those ten Tribes

Whose off-spring in his Territory yet serve

In Habor, and among the Medes dispers’t,

Ten Sons of Jacob, two 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. 380

These if from servitude thou shalt restore

To thir inheritance, then, nor till then,

Thou on the Throne of David in full glory,

From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond

Shalt raign, and Rome or Caesar not need fear.

To whom our Saviour answer’d thus unmov’d.

Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm,

And fragile arms, much instrument of war

Long in preparing, soon to nothing brought,

Before mine eyes thou hast set; and in my ear 390

Vented much policy, and projects deep

Of enemies, of aids, battels and leagues,

Plausible to the world, to me worth naught.

Means I must use thou say’st, prediction 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 endeavouring, or to need

Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome 400

Luggage of war there shewn me, argument

Of human weakness rather then of strength.

My brethren, as thou call’st them; those Ten Tribes

I must deliver, if I mean to raign

David’s true heir, and his full Scepter sway

To just extent over all Israel’s Sons;

But whence to thee this zeal, where was it then

For Israel or for David, or his Throne,

When thou stood’st up his Tempter to the pride

Of numbring Israel which cost the lives 410

Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites

By three days Pestilence? such was thy zeal

To Israel then, the same that now to me.

As for those captive Tribes, themselves were they

Who wrought their own captivity, fell off

From God to worship Calves, the Deities

Of Egypt, Baal next and Ashtaroth,

And all the Idolatries of Heathen round,

Besides thir other worse then heathenish crimes;

Nor in the land of their captivity 420

Humbled themselves, or penitent besought

The God of their fore-fathers; but so dy’d

Impenitent, and left a race behind

Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce

From Gentils, but by Circumcision vain,

And God with Idols in their worship joyn’d.

Should I of these the liberty regard,

Who freed, as to their antient Patrimony,

Unhumbl’d, unrepentant, unreform’d,

Headlong would follow; and to thir Gods perhaps 430

Of Bethel and of Dan? no, let them serve

Thir enemies, who serve Idols with God.

Yet he at length, time to himself best known,

Remembring Abraham by 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 hast,

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. 440

So spake Israel’s true King, and to the Fiend

Made answer meet, that made void all his wiles.

So fares it when with truth falshood contends.

The End of the Third Book.

The Fourth Book.

PERPLEX’D and troubl’d at his bad success

The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply,

Discover’d in his fraud, thrown from his hope,

So oft, and the perswasive Rhetoric

That sleek’t his tongue, and won so much on Eve,

So little here, nay lost; but Eve was Eve,

This far his over-match, who self deceiv’d

And rash, before-hand had no better weigh’d

The strength he was to cope with, or his own:

But as a man who had been matchless held 10

In cunning, over-reach’t where least he thought,

To salve his credit, and for very spight

Still will be tempting him who foyls him still,

And never cease, though to his shame the more;

Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time,

About the wine-press where sweet moust is powr’d,

Beat off; returns as oft with humming sound;

Or surging waves against a solid rock,

Though all to shivers dash’t, the assault renew,

Vain battry, and in froth or bubbles end: 20

So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse

Met ever; and to shameful silence brought,

Yet gives not o’re though desperate of success,

And his vain importunity pursues.

He brought our Saviour to the western side

Of that high mountain, whence he might behold

Another plain, long but in bredth not wide;

Wash’d by the Southern Sea, and 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 30

From cold Septentrion blasts, thence in the midst

Divided by a river, of whose banks

On each side an Imperial City stood,

With Towers and Temples proudly elevate

On seven small Hills, with Palaces adorn’d,

Porches and Theatres, Baths, Aqueducts,

Statues and Trophees, and Triumphal Arcs,

Gardens and Groves presented to his eyes,

Above the highth of Mountains interpos’d.

By what strange Parallax or Optic skill 40

Of vision multiplyed through air or glass

Of Telescope, were curious to enquire:

And now the Tempter thus his silence broke.

The City which thou seest no other deem

Then great and glorious Rome, Queen of the Earth

So far renown’d, and with the spoils enricht

Of Nations; there the Capitol thou seest

Above the rest lifting his stately head

On the Tarpeian rock, her Cittadel

Impregnable, and there Mount Palatine 50

The Imperial Palace, compass huge, and high

The Structure, skill of noblest Architects,

With gilded battlements, conspicuous far,

Turrets and Terrases, and glittering Spires.

Many a fair Edifice besides, more like

Houses of Gods (so well I have dispos’d

My Aerie Microscope) thou may’st behold

Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs

Carv’d work, the hand of fam’d Artificers

In Cedar, Marble, Ivory or Gold. 60

Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see

What conflux issuing forth, or entring in,

Pretors, Proconsuls to thir Provinces

Hasting or on return, in robes of State;

Lictors and rods the ensigns of thir power,

Legions and Cohorts, turmes of horse and wings:

Or Embassies from Regions far remote

In various habits on the Appian road,

Or on the Aemilian, some from farthest South,

Syene, and where the shadow both way falls, 70

Meroe, Nilotic Isle, and 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 Chersoness,

And utmost Indian Isle Taprobane,

Dusk faces with white silken Turbants wreath’d:

From Gallia, Gades, and the Brittish West,

Germans and Scythians, and Sarmatians North

Beyond Danubius to the Tauric Pool.

All Nations now to Rome obedience pay, 80

To Rome’s great Emperour, whose wide domain

In ample Territory, wealth and power,

Civility of Manners, Arts, and Arms,

And long Renown thou justly may’st prefer

Before the Parthian; these two Thrones except,

The rest are barbarous, and scarce worth the sight,

Shar’d among petty Kings too far remov’d;

These having shewn thee, I have shewn thee all

The Kingdoms of the world, and all thir glory.

This Emperour hath no Son, and now is old, 90

Old, and lascivious, and from Rome retir’d

To Capreae an Island small but strong

On the Campanian shore, with purpose there

His horrid lusts in private to enjoy,

Committing to a wicked Favourite

All publick cares, and yet of him suspicious,

Hated of all, and hating; with what ease

Indu’d with Regal Vertues as thou art,

Appearing, and beginning noble deeds,

Might’st thou expel this monster from his Throne 100

Now made a stye, and in his place ascending

A victor people free from servile yoke?

And with my help thou may’st; to me the power

Is given, and by that right I give it thee.

Aim therefore at no less then all the world,

Aim at the highest, without the highest attain’d

Will be for thee no sitting, or not long

On Davids Throne, be propheci’d what will,

To whom the Son of God unmov’d reply’d.

Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show 110

Of luxury, though call’d magnificence,

More then of alms before, allure mine eye,

Much less my mind; though thou should’st add to tell

Thir sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts

On Cittron tables or Atlantic stone;

(For I have also heard, perhaps have read)

Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne,

Chios and Creet, and how they quaff in Gold,

Crystal and Myrrhine cups imboss’d with Gems

And studs of Pearl, to me should’st tell who thirst 120

And hunger still: then Embassies thou shew’st

From Nations far and nigh; what honour that,

But tedious wast of time to sit and hear

So many hollow complements and lies,

Outlandish flatteries? then proceed’st to talk

Of the Emperour, how easily subdu’d,

How gloriously; I shall, thou say’st, expel

A brutish monster: what if I withal

Expel a Devil who first made him such?

Let his tormenter Conscience find him out, 130

For him I was not sent, nor yet to free

That people victor once, now vile and base,

Deservedly made vassal, who once just,

Frugal, and mild, and temperate, conquer’d well,

But govern ill the Nations under yoke,

Peeling thir Provinces, exhausted all

By lust and rapine; first ambitious grown

Of triumph that insulting vanity;

Then cruel, by thir sports to blood enur’d

Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos’d, 140

Luxurious by thir wealth, and greedier still,

And from the daily Scene effeminate.

What wise and valiant man would seek to free

These thus degenerate, by themselves enslav’d,

Or could of inward slaves make outward free?

Know therefore when my season comes to sit

On David’s Throne, it 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, 150

And of my Kingdom there shall be no end:

Means there shall be to this, but what the means,

Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell.

To whom the Tempter impudent repli’d.

I see all offers made by me how slight

Thou valu’st, because offer’d, and reject’st:

Nothing will please the difficult and nice,

Or nothing more then still to contradict:

On the other side know also thou, that I

On what I offer set as high esteem, 160

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 me, I give to whom I please,

No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,

On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,

And worship me as thy superior Lord,

Easily done, and hold them all of me;

For what can less so great a gift deserve?

Whom thus our Saviour answer’d with disdain. 170

I never lik’d thy talk, thy offers less,

Now both abhor, since thou hast dar’d to utter

The abominable terms, impious condition;

But I endure the time, till which expir’d,

Thou hast permission on me. It is written

The first of all Commandments, Thou shalt worship

The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve;

And dar’st thou to the Son of God propound

To worship thee accurst, now more accurst

For this attempt bolder then that on Eve, 180

And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.

The Kingdoms of the world to thee were giv’n,

Permitted rather, and by thee usurp’t,

Other donation none thou canst produce:

If given, by 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, 190

To me my own, on such abhorred pact,

That I fall down and worship thee as God?

Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear’st

That Evil one, Satan for ever damn’d.

To whom the Fiend with fear abasht reply’d.

Be not so sore offended, Son of God;

Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men,

If I to try whether in higher sort

Then these thou bear’st that title, have propos’d

What both from Men and Angels I receive, 200

Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth

Nations besides from all the quarter’d winds,

God of this world invok’t and world beneath;

Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold

To me so fatal, me it most concerns.

The tryal hath indamag’d thee no way,

Rather more honour left and more esteem;

Me naught advantag’d, missing what I aim’d.

Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,

The Kingdoms of this world; I shall no more 210

Advise thee, gain them as thou canst, or not.

And thou thy self seem’st otherwise inclin’d

Then to a worldly Crown, addicted more

To contemplation and profound dispute,

As by that early action may be judg’d,

When slipping from thy Mothers eye thou went’st

Alone into the Temple; there was found

Among the gravest Rabbies disputant

On points and questions fitting Moses Chair,

Teaching not taught; the childhood shews the man, 220

As morning shews the day. Be famous then

By wisdom; as thy Empire must extend,

So let extend thy mind o’re all the world,

In knowledge, all things in it comprehend,

All knowledge is not couch’t in Moses Law,

The Pentateuch or what the Prophets wrote,

The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach

To admiration, led by Natures light;

And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,

Ruling them by perswasion as thou mean’st, 230

Without thir learning how wilt thou with them,

Or they with thee hold conversation meet?

How wilt thou reason with them, how refute

Thir Idolisms, Traditions, Paradoxes?

Error by his own arms is best evinc’t.

Look once more e’re we leave this specular Mount

Westward, much nearer by Southwest, behold

Where on the Aegean shore a City stands

Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil,

Athens the eye of Greece, Mother of Arts 240

And Eloquence, native to famous wits

Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,

City or Suburban, studious walks and shades;

See there the Olive Grove of Academe,

Plato’s retirement, where the Attic Bird

Trills her thick-warbl’d notes the summer long,

There flowrie hill Hymettus with the sound

Of Bees industrious murmur oft invites

To studious musing; there Ilissus rouls

His whispering stream; within the walls then view 250

The schools of antient Sages; his who bred

Great Alexander to subdue the world,

Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:

There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power

Of harmony in tones and numbers hit

By voice or hand, and various-measur’d verse,

Aeolian charms and Dorian Lyric Odes,

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,

Blind Melesigenes thence Homer call’d,

Whose Poem Phoebus challeng’d for his own. 260

Thence what the lofty grave Tragoedians taught

In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best

Of moral prudence, with delight receiv’d

In brief sententious precepts, while they treat

Of fate, and chance, and change in human life;

High actions, and high passions best describing;

Thence to the famous Orators repair,

Those antient, whose resistless eloquence

Wielded at will that fierce Democratie,

Shook the Arsenal and fulmin’d over Greece, 270

To Macedon, and Artaxerxes Throne;

To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear,

From Heaven descended to the low-rooft house

Of Socrates, see 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 new, with those

Sirnam’d Peripatetics, and the Sect

Epicurean, and the Stoic severe; 280

These here revolve, or, as thou lik’st, at home,

Till time mature thee to a Kingdom’s waight;

These rules will render thee a King compleat

Within thy self, much more with Empire joyn’d.

To whom our Saviour sagely thus repli’d.

Think not but that I know these things, or think

I know them not; not therefore am I short

Of knowing what I aught: he who receives

Light from above, from the fountain of light,

No other doctrine needs, though granted true; 290

But these are false, or little else but dreams,

Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.

The first and wisest of them all profess’d

To know this only, that he nothing knew;

The next to fabling fell and smooth conceits,

A third sort doubted all things, though plain sence;

Others in vertue plac’d felicity,

But vertue joyn’d with riches and long life,

In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease,

The Stoic last in Philosophic pride, 300

By him call’d vertue; and his vertuous man,

Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing

Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,

As fearing God nor man, contemning all

Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,

Which when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can,

For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,

Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.

Alas what can they teach, and not mislead;

Ignorant of themselves, of God much more, 310

And how the world began, and how man fell

Degraded by himself, on grace depending?

Much of the Soul they talk, but all awrie,

And in themselves seek vertue, and to themselves

All glory arrogate, to God give none,

Rather accuse him under usual names,

Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite

Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these

True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion

Far worse, her false resemblance only meets, 320

An empty cloud. However many books

Wise men have said are wearisom; who reads

Incessantly, and to his reading brings not

A spirit and judgment equal or superior,

(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek)

Uncertain and unsettl’d still remains

Deep verst in books and shallow in himself;

Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys,

And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge;

As Children gathering pibles on the shore. 330

Or if I would delight my private hours

With Music or with Poem, where so soon

As in our native Language can I find

That solace? All our Law and Story strew’d

With Hymns, our Psalms with artful terms inscrib’d,

Our Hebrew Songs and Harps in Babylon,

That pleas’d so well our Victors ear, declare

That rather Greece from us these Arts deriv’d;

Ill imitated, while they loudest sing

The vices of thir Deities, and thir own 340

In Fable, Hymn, or Song, so personating

Thir Gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.

Remove their swelling Epithetes thick laid

As varnish on a Harlots cheek, the rest,

Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,

Will far be found unworthy to compare

With Sion’s songs, to all true tasts excelling,

Where God is prais’d aright, and Godlike men,

The Holiest of Holies, and his Saints;

Such are from God inspir’d, not such from thee; 350

Unless where moral vertue is express’t

By light of Nature not in all quite lost.

Thir Orators thou then extoll’st, as those

The top of Eloquence, Statists indeed,

And lovers of thir Country, as may seem;

But herein to our Prophets far beneath,

As men divinely taught, and better teaching

The solid rules of Civil Government

In thir majestic unaffected stile

Then all the Oratory of Greece and Rome. 360

In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,

What makes a Nation happy, and keeps it so,

What ruins Kingdoms, and lays Cities flat;

These only with our Law best form a King.

So spake the Son of God; but Satan now

Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,

Thus to our Saviour with stern brow reply’d.

Since neither wealth, nor honour, arms nor arts,

Kingdom nor Empire pleases thee, nor aught

By me propos’d in life contemplative,

Or active, tended on by glory, or fame, 370

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 thee, soon 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 age, fulness of time, thy season, 380

When Prophesies of thee are best fullfill’d.

Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven,

Or Heav’n write aught of Fate, by what the Stars

Voluminous, or single characters,

In thir conjunction met, give me to spell,

Sorrows, and labours, Opposition, bate,

Attends thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,

Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death,

A Kingdom they portend thee, but what Kingdom,

Real or Allegoric I discern not, 390

Nor when, eternal sure, as 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 God, and left him there,

Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose,

As day-light sunk, and brought in lowring night

Her shadowy off-spring unsubstantial both,

Privation meer of light and absent day. 400

Our Saviour meek and with untroubl’d mind

After his aerie jaunt, though hurried sore,

Hungry and cold betook him to his rest,

Wherever, under some concourse of shades

Whose branching arms thick intertwind might shield

From dews and damps of night his shelter’d head,

But shelter’d slept in vain, for at his head

The Tempter watch’d, and soon with ugly dreams

Disturb’d his sleep; and either Tropic now

‘Gan thunder, and both ends of Heav’n, the Clouds 410

From many a horrid rift abortive pour’d

Fierce rain with lightning mixt, water with fire

In ruine reconcil’d: nor slept the winds

Within thir stony caves, but rush’d abroad

From the four hinges of the world, and fell

On the vext Wilderness, whose tallest Pines,

Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest Oaks

Bow’d thir Stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts,

Or torn up sheer: ill wast thou shrouded then,

O patient Son of God, yet only stoodst 420

Unshaken; nor yet staid the terror there,

Infernal Ghosts, and Hellish Furies, round

Environ’d thee, some howl’d, some yell’d, some shriek’d,

Some bent at thee thir fiery darts, while 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 thunder, chas’d the clouds, and laid the winds,

And grisly Spectres, which the Fiend had rais’d 430

To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.

And now the Sun with more effectual beams

Had chear’d the face of Earth, and dry’d the wet

From drooping plant, or 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 absent, after all his mischief done, 440

The Prince of darkness, glad would also seem

Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came,

Yet with no new device, they all were spent,

Rather by this his last affront resolv’d,

Desperate of better course, to vent his rage,

And mad despight 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. 450

Fair morning yet betides thee Son of God,

After a dismal night; I heard the rack

As Earth and Skie would mingle; but my self

Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear them

As dangerous to the pillard frame of Heaven,

Or to the Earths dark basis underneath,

Are to the main as inconsiderable,

And harmless, if not wholsom, as a sneeze

To mans less universe, and soon are gone;

Yet as being oft times noxious where they light 460

On man, beast, plant, wastful and turbulent,

Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,

Over whose heads they rore, and seem to point,

They oft fore-signifie and threaten ill:

This Tempest at this Desert most was bent;

Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell’st.

Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject

The perfet season offer’d with my aid

To win thy destin’d seat, but wilt prolong

All to the push of Fate, persue thy way 470

Of gaining David’s Throne no man knows when,

For both the when and how is no where told,

Thou shalt be what thou art ordain’d, no doubt;

For Angels have proclaim’d it, but concealing

The time and means: each act is rightliest done,

Not when it must, but when it may be best.

If thou observe not this, be sure to find,

What I foretold thee, many a hard assay

Of dangers, and adversities and pains,

E’re thou of Israel’s Scepter get fast hold; 480

Whereof this ominous night that clos’d thee round,

So many terrors, voices, prodigies

May warn thee, as a sure fore-going sign.

So talk’d he, while the Son of God went on

And staid not, but in brief him answer’d thus.

Mee worse then wet thou find’st not; other harm

Those terrors which thou speak’st of did me none;

I never fear’d they could, though noising loud

And threatning nigh; what they can do as signs

Betok’ning, or ill boding, I contemn 490

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;

Who knowing I shall raign past thy preventing.

Obtrud’st thy offer’d aid, that I accepting

At least might seem to hold all power of thee,

Ambitious spirit, and wouldst be thought my God,

And storm’st refus’d, thinking to terrifie

Mee to thy will; desist, thou art discern’d

And toil’st in vain, nor me in vain molest.

To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage reply’d:

Then hear, O Son of David, Virgin-born; 500

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-night, that sung thee Saviour born.

From that time seldom have I ceas’d to eye

Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth,

Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;

Till at the Ford of Jordan whither all 510

Flock’d to the Baptist, I among the rest,

Though not to be Baptiz’d, by voice from Heav’n

Heard thee pronounc’d the Son of God belov’d.

Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view

And narrower Scrutiny, that I might learn

In what degree or meaning thou art call’d

The Son of God, which bears no single sence;

The Son of God I also am, or was,

And if I was, I am; relation stands;

All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought 520

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 wast wild;

Where by all best conjectures I collect

Thou art to be my fatal enemy.

Good reason then, if I before-hand seek

To understand my Adversary, who

And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent,

By parl, or composition, truce, or league

To win him, or win from him what I can. 530

And opportunity I here have had

To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee

Proof against all temptation as a rock

Of Adamant, and as a Center, firm

To the utmost of meer man both wise and good,

Not more; for Honours, Riches, Kingdoms, Glory

Have been before contemn’d, and may agen:

Therefore to know what more thou art then man,

Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heav’n,

Another method I must now begin. 540

So saying he caught him up, and without wing

Of Hippogrif bore through the Air sublime

Over the Wilderness and o’re the Plain;

Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,

The holy City lifted high her Towers,

And higher yet the glorious Temple rear’d

Her pile, far off appearing like a Mount

Of Alabaster, top’t with golden Spires:

There on the highest Pinacle he set

The Son of God; and added thus in scorn: 550

There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright

Will ask thee skill; I to thy Fathers house

Have brought thee, and highest plac’t, highest is best,

Now shew thy Progeny; if not to stand,

Cast thy self down; safely if Son of God:

For it is written, He will give command

Concerning thee to his Angels, in thir hands

They shall up lift thee, lest at any time

Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.

To whom thus Jesus: also it is written, 560

Tempt not the Lord thy God, he said and stood.

But Satan smitten with amazement fell

As when Earths Son Antaeus (to compare

Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove

With Joves Alcides and oft foil’d still rose,

Receiving from his mother Earth new strength,

Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple joyn’d,

Throttl’d at length in the Air, expir’d and fell;

So after many a foil the Tempter proud,

Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride 570

Fell whence he stood to see his Victor fall.

And as that Theban Monster that propos’d

Her riddle, and him, who solv’d it not, devour’d;

That once found out and solv’d, for grief and spight

Cast her self headlong from th’ Ismenian steep,

So strook with dread and anguish fell the Fiend,

And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought

Joyless triumphals of his hop’t success,

Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,

Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God. 580

So Satan fell and strait a fiery Globe

Of Angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,

Who on their plumy Vans receiv’d him soft

From his uneasie station, and upbore

As on a floating couch through the blithe Air,

Then in a flowry valley set him down

On a green bank, and set before him spred

A table of Celestial Food, Divine,

Ambrosial, Fruits fetcht from the tree of life,

And from the fount of life Ambrosial drink, 590

That soon refresh’d him wearied, and repair’d

What hunger, if aught hunger had impair’d,

Or thirst, and as he fed, Angelic Quires

Sung Heavenly Anthems of his victory

Over temptation, and the Tempter proud.

True Image of the Father whether thron’d

In the bosom of bliss, and light of light

Conceiving, or remote from Heaven, enshrin’d

In fleshly Tabernacle, and human form,

Wandring the Wilderness, whatever place, 600

Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing

The Son of God, with Godlike force indu’d

Against th’ Attempter of thy Fathers Throne,

And Thief of Paradise; him long of old

Thou didst debel, and down from Heav’n cast

With all his Army, now thou hast aveng’d

Supplanted Adam, and by vanquishing

Temptation, hast regain’d lost Paradise,

And frustrated the conquest fraudulent:

He never more henceforth will dare set foot 610

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 Sons, whom thou

A Saviour art come down to reinstall.

Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be

Of Tempter and Temptation without fear.

But thou, Infernal Serpent, shalt not long

Rule in the Clouds; like an Autumnal Star

Or Lightning thou shalt fall from Heav’n trod down 620

Under his feet: for proof, e’re this thou feel’st

Thy wound, yet not thy last and deadliest wound

By this repulse receiv’d, and 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 holds, possession foul,

Thee and thy Legions, yelling they shall flye,

And beg to hide them in a herd of Swine, 630

Lest he command them down into the deep

Bound, and to torment sent before thir time.

Hail Son of the most High, heir of both worlds,

Queller of Satan, on thy glorious work

Now enter, and begin to save mankind.

Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek

Sling Victor, and from Heavenly Feast refresht

Brought on his way with joy; hee unobserv’d

Home to his Mothers house private return’d.

The End.

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