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(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of hell,)
A shelter, and a kind of shading cool
Interposition, as a summer's cloud.
If I then to the worst that can be haste,
Why move thy feet so slow to what is best,
Happiest both to thyself, and all the world,
That thou who worthiest art shouldst be their King
Perhaps thou linger'st in deep thoughts detain'd
Of th’ enterprise so hazardous and high ;
No wonder; for though in thee be united
What of perfection can in man be found,
Or human nature can receive, consider
Thy life hath yet been private, most part spent
At home, scarce view'd the Galilean towns,
And once a year Jerusalem, few days
Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou observe ?
The world thou hast not seen, much less her glory,
Empires, and monarchs, and their radiant courts,
Best school of best experience, quickest insight
In all things that to greatest actions lead.
The wisest, unexperienc'd will be ever
Timorous and loath, with novice modesty,
(As he who seeking asses found a kingdom,)
Irresolute, unhardy, unadvent'rous :
But I will bring thee where thou soon shalt quit
Those rudiments, and see before thine eyes
The monarchies of th' earth, their pomp

and state,
Sufficient introduction to inform
Thee, of thyself so apt in regal arts,
And regal mysteries, that thou may'st know
How best their opposition to withstand.
With that (such power was given him then) he took
The Son of God up to a mountain high.
It was a mountain at whose verdant feet
A spacious plain, outstretch'd in circuit wide,
Lay pleasant; from his side two rivers flow'd,
Th' one winding, th' other straight, and left between
Fair champaign, with less rivers interven'd,
Then meeting, join'd their tribute to the sea :

Fertile of corn the glebe, of oil and wine;
With herds the pastures throng'd, with flocks the

hills;
Huge cities, and high tower'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'er hill and dale,
Forest, and field, and flood, temples and towers,
Cut shorter many a league; here thou behold'st
Assyria and her empire's ancient bounds,
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 Nineveh, 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,
As ancient, 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 shows,
And Hecatompylos her hundred gates ;
There Susa by Choaspes' amber stream,
The drink of none but kings: of later fame,
Built by Emathian, or by Parthian hands,
The great Seleucia, Nisibis : and there
Artaxata, Teredon, Ctesiphon,
Turning with easy eye tħou 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
Against the Scythian, whose incursions wild
Have wasted Sogdiana ; to her aid
He marches now in haste; 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'd, and saw what numbers numberless
The city gates out-pour'd, light armed troops
In coats of mail and military pride;
In mail their horses clad, yet feet and strong,
Prancing 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 neighb'ring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana, to Balsara's heaven.
He saw them in their forms of battle rang’d,
How quick they wheeld, and flying behind them shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face
Of their pursuers, and overcame by flight;
The field, all iron, cast a gleaming brown;
Nor wanted clouds of foot, nor on each horn
Cuirassier's all in steel for standing fight,
Chariots or elephants indors'd with towers
Of archers, nor of lab'ring pioneers
A multitude, with spades and axes arm'd
To lay hills plain, fell woods, or valleys fill,
Or where plain was, raise hill, or overlay
With bridges rivers proud, as with a yoke;

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Mules after these, camels and dromedaries,
And wagons fraught with utensils of war.
Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern powers
Besiegid Albracca, as romances tell,
The city of Gallaphrone, from whence to win
The fairest of her sex Angelica
His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim, and the peers of Charlemaine.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry:
At sight whereof the fiend yet more presumid,
And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd :

That thou may'st know I seek not to engage
Thy virtue, and not every way secure
On no slight grounds thy safety ; hear, and mark
To what end I have brought thee hither, and shown
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 wert possess'd of David's throne By free consent of all, none opposite, Samaritan or Jew; how couldst thou hope Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, Between two such enclosing enemies Roman and Parthian ? therefore one of these Thou must make sure thy 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 : Choose which thou wilt, by conquest or by league, By him thou shalt regain, without him not, That which alone 'can truly reinstall thee In David's royal seat, his true successor,

Deliverance of thy brethren, those ten tribes
Whose offspring in his territory yet serve,
In Habor, and among the Medes dispers'd ;
Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph lost
Thus long from Israel, serving, as of old
Their fathers in the land of Egypt servid,
This offer sets before thee to deliver.
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond,
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæsar need not fear,

To whom our Saviour answer'd thus, unmoy'd: i
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
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battles and leagues,
Plausible to the world, to me worth nought.,
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 endeav'ring, or to need
Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome
Luggage of war there shown me, argument
Of human weakness rather than of strength.
My brethren, as thou call'st them, those ten tribes,
I must deliver, if I'mean to reign
David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's sons ;
But whence to thee this zeal, where was it then
For Isreal or for David, or his throne,
When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride
Of numb'ring Israel, which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' pestilence ? such was thy zeal

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