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To salve his credit, and for every spite,
Germans, and Scythians, and Sarmatians, north Still will be tempting him who foils him still, Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool. And never cease, though to his shame the more; | All nations now to Rome obe:lience pay; Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time,
To Rome's great emperor, whose wide domain, About the wine-press where sweet must is In ample territory, wealth, and power, pour'd,
Civility of manners, arts and arins,
Before the Parthian. These two thrones except, Though all to shivers dash'd, the assault renew The rest are barbarous, and scarce worth the (Vain battery !) and in froth or bubbles end;
sight, So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse
Shar'd among petty kings too far remov'd; Met ever, and to shameful silence brought, These having shown thee, I have shown thee all Yet gives not o'er, though desperate of success, The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory. And his vain importunity pursues.
This emperor hath no son, and now is old, He brought our Saviour to the western side Old and lascivious, and from Rome retird. Of that high mountain, whence he might behold To Capreæ, an island small, but strong, Another plain, long, but in breadth not wide, On the Campanian shore, with purpuse there Wash'd by the southern sea, and, on the north, His horrid lusts in private to enjoy; To equal length back'd with a ridge of hills Committing to a wicked favourite That screen'd the fruits of the earth, and seats of All public cares, and yet of him suspicious; men,
Hated of all, and hating. With what ease, From cold Septentrion blast ; thence in the midst Endued with regal virtues, as thou art, Divided by a river, of whose banks
Appearing, and beginning noble deeds, On each side an imperial city stood,
Might'st thou expel this monster from his throne, With towers and temples proudly elevate Now made a stye, and, in his place ascending, On seven small hills, with palaces adorn'd, A victor people free from servile voke ! Porches, and theatres, baths, aqueducts, And with my help thou may'st; to me the power Statues, and trophies, and triumphal arcs, . Is given, and by that right I give it thee. Gardens, and groves, presented to his eyes, Aim therefore at no less than all the world; Above the height of mountains interpos'd : Aim at the highest : without the highest attain'd, (By whạt strange parallax, or optic skill
Will be for thee no sitting, or not long, Of vision, multiplied through air, or glass On David's throne, be prophesied what will." Of telescope, were curious to inquire :)
To whom the Son of God, unmov'd, replied. And now the tempter thus his silence broke. “ Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show
“The city which thou seest, no other deem Of luxury, though call'd magnificence, Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the More than of arms before, allure mine eye, . Earth,
Much less my mind ; though thou should'st add So far renown'd, and with the spoils enrich'd
to tell Of nations; there the Capitol thou seest, Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts Above the rest lifting his stately head
On citron tables or Atlantic stone, On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel
(For I have also heard, perhaps have read,) Impregnable; and there mount Palatine, Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne, The imperial palace, compass huge and high Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold, The structure, skill of noblest architects,
Crystal, and myrrhine cups, emboss'd with gems With gilded battlements conspicuous far, And studs of pearl; to me should'st tell, who Turrets, and terraces, and glittering spires :
thirst Many a fair edifice besides, more like
And hunger still. Then embassies thou show'st Houses of gods, (so well I have dispos'd
From nations far and nigh: what honour that, My aery microscope,) thou may'st behold, But tedious waste of time, to sit and hear Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs, So many hollow compliments and lies, Carv'd work, the hand of fam'd artificers, Outlandish flatteries? Then proceed'st to talk In cedar, marble, ivory, or gold.
Of the emperor, how easily subdued, Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see how gloriously: I shall, thou say'st, expel What conflux issuing forth, or entering in ; A brutish monster; what if I withal Pretors, proconsuls to their provinces
Expel a devil who first made him such? Hasting, or on return, in robes of state,
Let his tormenter conscience find him out; Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power, For him I was not sent; nor yet to free Legions and cohorts, terms of horse and wings: That people, victor once, now vile and base; Or embassies from regions far remote,
Deservedly made vassal; who, once just, In various habits, on the Appian road,
Frugal, and mild, and temperate, conquer'd well,
By lust and rapine; first ambitious grown
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos'd; And utmost Indian isle Taprobane,
Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still, Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreath'd; And from the daily scene effeminate. From Gallia, Gades, and the British west; What wise and valiant man would seek to free VOL. VII,
These, thus degenerate, by themselves enslav'd? | And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclind .
As by that early action may be judg'd, (went'st Spreading and overshadowing all the Earth ; When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou Or as a stone, that shall to pieces dash
Alone into the temple, there wast found All monarchies besides throughout the world; Among the gravest rabbies, disputant And of my kingdom there shall be no end : On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, Means there shall be to this ; but what the means, Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell."
the man, To whom the tempter, impudent, replied. As morning shows the day: be famous then " I see all offers made by me how slight
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend, Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st: So let extend thy mind o'er all the world Nothing will please the difficult and nice, In knowledge, all things in it comprehend. Or nothing more than still to contradict:
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law, On the other side know also thou, that I
The Pentateuch, or what the prophets wrote; On what I offer set as high esteem,
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach Nor what I part with mean to give for nought; To admiration, led by Nature's light, All these, which in a moment thou behold'st, And with the Gentiles much thou must converse, The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give, Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean'st; (Por, given to me, I give to whom I please,) Without their learning, how wilt thou with them, No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet? On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute And worship me as thy superior lord,
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes ? (Easily done,) and hold them all of me;
Errour by his own arms is best evinc'd. For what can less so great a gift deserve ?" Look once inore, ere we leave this specular Whom thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain.
mount, “ I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less; Westward, much nearer by southwest, behold; Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter Where on the Ægean shore a city stands, The abominable terms, impious condition: Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil; But I endure the time, till which expir'd
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
City or suburban, studious walks and shadex
His whispering stream: within the walls, then Other donation none thou canst produce.
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret porer Repaid ! But gratitude in thee is lost
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, By voics or biand; and various-measur'd rerse, As offer them to me, the Son of God ?
Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes (sung, To me my own, on such abhorred pact,
And his, who gave them breath, but higher That I fall down and worship thee as God? Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer callid, Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear'st Whose poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own: That Evil-one, Satan for ever damn'd."
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught To whom the fiend, with fear abashid, repli In Chorus or lambic, teachers best “ Be not so sore offended, Son of God, [ed. | Of moral prudence, with delight receiv'd Though sons of God both angels are and men, In brief sententious prerepts, while they treat If I, to try whether in higher sort .
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life, Than these thou bear'st that title, have propos'd High actions and high passions best describing: What both from men and angels I receive, Thence to the famous orators repair, Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the Earth, Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence Nations beside from all the quarter'd winds, Wielded at will that fierce democratie, God of this world invok'd, and world beneath: Shook the arsenal, and fulınin'd over Greece Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne: To me most fatal, me it most concerns ;
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear, The trial hath indamag'd thee no way,
From Heaven descended to the low-roof'd bouse Rather more honour left and more esteem; Of Socrates; see there his tenement, Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd. Whom well inspir'd tho oracle pronounc'd Therefore let pass, as they are transitory, Wisest of men, from whose mouth issued forth The kingdorns of this world; I shall no more Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. Of academics old and new, with those
Sumam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
| Will far be found unworthy to compare Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling, These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home, Where God is prais'd aright, and God-like men, Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight; | The Holiest of Holies, and his saints, These rules will render thee a king complete I(Such are from God inspir'd, not such from thee,) Within thyself, much more with empire join'd." Unless where moral virtue is express'd
To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied. By light of Nature, not in all quite lost. “ Think not but that I know these things, or Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those think
The top of eloquence; statists indeed, I know them not; not therefore am I short And lovers of their country, as may seem; Of knowing what I ought: he, who receives But herein to our prophets far beneath, . Light from above, from the fountain of light, As men divinely taught, and better teaching No other doctrine needs, though granted true; The solid rules of civil government, But these are false, or little else but dreams, In their majestic unaffected style, Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome. The first and wisest of them all profess'd
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt, To kvow this only, that he nothing knew;
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so, The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits ; What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat; A third sort doubted all things, though plain These only with our law best furm a king," Others in virtue plac'd felicity,
(sense; So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now But virtue join'd with riches and long life; Quite at a loss, (for all his darts were spent,) In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease; Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied. The Stoic last in philosophic pride,
“Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man,
arts, Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
By me propos'd in life contemplative As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Or active, tended on by glory or fame, Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life, What dost thou in this world? The wilderness Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he For thee is fittest place; I found thee there, For all his tedious talk is but vain boast, [can, And thither will return thee; yet remember Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have cause Alas! what can they teach and not mislead, To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus Ignorant of themselves, of God much more, Nicely or cautiously, my offer'd aid, sease And how the world began, and how man fell Which would have set thee in short time with Degraded by himself, on grace depending? On David's throne, or throne of all the world, Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season And in themselves seek virtue; and to themselves When prophecies of thee are best fulfillid. All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven, Rather accuse bim under usual names,
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite Voluminous, or single characters, Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these In their conjunction met, give me to spell, True wisdom, finds her not; or, by delusion, Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate Far worse, her false resemblance only meets, Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries, An empty cloud. However, many books,
Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death; Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom, Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
Real or allegoric, I discern not; A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end, (And what he brings what needs he elsewhere Without beginning; for no date prefix'd Uncertain and unsettled still remains, [seek?) Directs me in the starry rubric set.” Deep vers'd in books, and shallow in himself, | So saying he took, (for still he knew his power Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
Not yet expir'd,) and to the wilderness And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge ; Brought back the Son of Gud, and left him there, As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, Or, if I would delight my private hours
As day-light sunk, and brought in lowering With music or with poem, where so soon
night, As in our native language, can I find
Her shadowy offspring; unsubstantial both, That solace ? All our law and story strew'd Privation mere of light and absent day. With hymns, our psalms with artful terms in- Our Saviour meek, and with untroubled mind . . scrib'd,
After his aery jaunt, though hurried sore, Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, That pleas'd so well our victor's ear, declare (Wherever, under some concourse of shades, That rather Greece from us these arts deriv'd;
Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might III imitated, while they loudest sing
shield The vices of their deities, and their own,
From dews and damps of night bis shelter'd head; In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
But, shelter'd, slept in vain; for at bis head Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame. | The tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid Disturb'd his sleep. And either tropic now As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
'Gan thunder, and both ends of Heavea; the Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Prom maný a horrid rift, abortive pour'd . Not when it must, but when it may be best : .
What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
And staid not, but in brief him answer'd thus : . Unshaken ! Nor yet staid the terrour there; “Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round
(none; Environ'd thee, some howl'd, some yell’d, some Those terrours, which thou speak’st of, did me shriek’d,
I never feard they could, though noising loud Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou And threatening high: what they can do as sigus Sat'st unappallid in calm and sinless peace ! Betokening, or ill-boding, I contemn Thus passed the night so foul, till Morning fair As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; Caine forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray; Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing, Who with her radiant finger still'd the roar Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I, accepting, Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the At least might seem to hold all power of thee, winds,
Ambitious spirit! and wouldst be thought my And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd
God; Totempt the Son of God with terruars dire. And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify And now the Sun with more effectual beams Me to thy will! desist, (thou art discern'd Had cheer'd the face of Earth, and dried the wet And toil'st in vain,) nor me in vain molest." From drooping plant, or dropping tree; the To whom the fiend, now swoln with rage, rebirds,
For son of God to me is yet in doubt;
By all the prophets; of thy birth at length, Nor yet, amidst this joy and brightest morn, Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first I knew, Was absent, after all his mischief done,
And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, The prince of darkness; glad would also seem On thy birth-night that sung thee Saviour born. Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came; From that time seldom have I ceas'd to eye Yet with no new device, (they all were spent,) Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Rather by this his last affront resolvid,
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; . Desperate of better course, to vent his rage Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all And mad despite to be so oft repell’d.
Flock to the Baptist, I, among the rest, Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
(Though not to be baptiz'd,) by voice from Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood;
Heaven Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape,
Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God belord. And in a careless mood thus to bim said.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view “Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn After a dismal night ; I heard tlie wrack,
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd As earth and sky would mingle; but myself The Son of God; which bears no single sense. Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals The Son of God I also am, or was; fear them
And if I was, I am ; relation stands : As dangerous to the pillar'd frame of Heaven,
All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought Or to the Earth's dark basis underneath,
In some respect far higher so declard: Are to the main as inconsiderable
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour, And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild; To man's less universe, and soon are gone ; Where, by all best conjectures, I collect Yet, as being oft times noxious where they light Thou art to be my fatal enemy: On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent, Good reason then, if I before-band seek Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
To understand my adversary, who
By parl or composition, truce or league,
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee The perfect season offer'd with my aid .
Proof against all temptation, as a rook To win thy destin'd seat, but wilt prolong
Of adamant, and, as a centre, firm; All to the push of fate, pursue thy way.
To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when, | Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory, For both the when and how is no where told? | Have been before contemn'd, and may again. Thou shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt ; | Therefore, to know what more thou art than man, For angels have proclaim'd it, but concealing Worth naming Son of God by voice from Hoaren, The time and means. Each act is rightliest done Another method I must know begin.”
So saying he caught him up, and, without wing Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, Temptation, hast regain's lost Paradise, Over the wilderness and o'er the plain,
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. Till underneath them fair Jerusalem, . He never more henceforth will dare set foot . The holy city, lifted high her towers,
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke : , And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd For, though that seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, , Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
A fairer Paradise is founded now Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou, There, on the highest pinnacle, he set
A Saviour, art come down to re-install, The Son of God; and added thus in scorn. Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall “There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand Of tempter and temptation without fear. (be, upright
But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Rule in the clouds like an autumnal star, Have brought thee, and highest plac'd : highest Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod is best:
down Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Under his feet : for proof, ere this thou feel'st Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest For it is written, * He will give command
wound,) Concerning thee to his angels, in their bands By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell They shall up lift thee, lest at any time
No triumph : in all her gates Abaddon rues Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.' ” | Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe
To whom thus Jesus: “ Also it is written, To dread the Son of God : he, all unarm'd, Tempt not the Lord thy God.'” He said, and Shall chase thee, with the terrour of his voice, stood :
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul, But Satan, smitten with amazement fell.
Thee and thy legions : yelling they shall fy, As when Earth's son Antæus, (to compare And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, Small things with greatest,) in Irassa strove Lest he command them down into the deep, With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose, Bound, and to torment sent before their time. Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work Throttled at length in the air, expird and fell; Now enter ; and begin to save mankind.” So, after many a foil, the tempter proud,
Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Renewing fresh assaults, amidst bis pride, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refresh'd, Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall: Brought on his way with joy; he, unobserv'd, . And as that Theban monster, that propos'd Home to his mother's house private return'd. Her riddle, and him who solv'd it not devour'd, That once found out and solv'd, for grief and spite Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep; So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
SAMSON AGONISTES, (Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,)
A DRAMATIC POEM.
Aristot. Poet. cap. 6.
Τραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπεδαίας, κ. τ. λ.
Tragædia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per Then, in a flowery valley, set him down
misericordiam et meteum perficiens talium
I OF THAT SORT OF DRAMATIC POEM WHICH IS And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,
TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic quires
hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and Sung heavenly anthems of his victory
most profitable of all other poems: therefore said Over temptation and the tempter proud.
“ True image of the Father; whether thron'd "Of that sort of dramatic poem, called Tragedy. 7 In the bosom of bliss, and light of light
Milton, who was inclin'd to Puritanism, had good Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, enshrin'd reason to think, that the publication of his SamIn fleshly tabernacle, and human form,
son Agonistes would be very offensive to his breWandering the wilderness; whatever place, thren, who held poetry, and particularly that of Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing the dramatic kind, in the greatest abhorrence. The Son of God, with God-like force endued And, upon this account, it is probable, that, in Against the attempter of thy Father's throne, order to excuse bimself from having engaged in And thief of Paradise ! him long of old
this proscribed and forbidden species of writing, 'Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast | he thought it expedient to prefix to his play a With all his army; now thou bast aveng'd formal defence of tragedy. WARTON.