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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,
When prophecies of thee are best fulfill'd.
Now contrary, if I read aught in heaven,
Or heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single characters,
In their conjunction met, give me to spell ;
Sorrows and labours, opposition, hate
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,
Nor when, eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no dáte prefix'd
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 lowering night,
Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both,
Privation mere of light and absent day.
Our Saviour, meek, and with untroubled mind,
After his airy jaunt, though hurried sore,
Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest,
Wherever, under some concourse of shades,
Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield,
From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head,
But shelter'd slept in 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 heaven, the clouds,
From many a horrid rift abortive, pour'd
Fierce rain with lightning mix'd, water with fire
In ruin reconcild: nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad

From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bow'd their stiff necks, loaded with stormy blasts,
Or torn up sheer ; ill wast thou shrouded then,
O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st
Unshaken : nor yet stay'd the terror there;
Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round
Environ'd thee; some howld, some yelld, some

shriek’d,
Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Sat'st unappallid in calm and sinless peace :
Thus pass'd the night so foul, till morning fair
Come forth with pilgrim steps in amice gray,
Who with her radiant finger still’d the roar
Of thunder, chás'd the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the fiend had rais'd
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the sun with more effectual beams
Had cheer'd the face of earth, and dried the wet
From drooping plant, or drooping 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, 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 resolvid, Desp’rate of better course, to vent his rage And mad despite to be so oft repell'a. Him walking on a sunny hill he found, Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood; Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape, And in a careless mood thus to him said:

Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, After a dismal night: I heard the wrack

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As earth and sky would mingle; but myself
Was distant ; and these flaws, though mortals fear

them
As dang'rous to the pillar'd frame of heaven,
Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable
And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone ;
Yet as being oft times noxious where they light
On man, beast, plant, wastful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in th' affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar and seem to point,
They oft fore-signify 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 perfect season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd seat, but wilt prolong
All to the push of fate pursue thy way,
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 an hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night that clos'd thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies,
May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign.

So talk'd he while the Son of God went on, And stay'd not, but in brief him answer'd thus :

Me worse than 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 threat'ning nigh; what they can do as signs Betokening, or ill-boding, I contemn

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee:
Who knowing I shall reign 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 terrify
Me 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, replied:
Then hear, ( Son of David, Virgin-born;
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt;
Of the Messiah I have heard foretold
By all the prophets : of thy birth, at length
Announc'd by Gabriel, with the first I knew,
And of th' 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
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest
Though not to be baptiz'd, by voice from heaven
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 sense :
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
In some respect far higher so declar'd;
Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,
And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy.
Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
To understand my adversary, who
And what he is; his wisdom, power, intent ;
By parle, or composition, truce, or league,

To win him, or win from him what I can.
An 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 centre, firm :
To th' utmost of mere man both wise and good,
Nor more ; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory,
Have been before contemn'd, and may again :
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,
Worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven,
Another method I must now begin.

So saying, he caught him up, and without wing
Of hippogriff, bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er 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, topp'd with golden spires :
There on the highest pinnacle he set
The Son of God, and added thus in scorn :

There stand, if thou wilt stand ; to stand upright Will ask thee skill : I to thy father's house Have brought thee, and highest plac'd ; highest is

best: Now show thy progeny ; if not to stand, Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God: For it is written, He will give command Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands They shall uplift thee, lest at any time Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone. | To whom thus Jesus : Also it is written, Tempt not the Lord thy God : he said, and stood : But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell : As when earth's son Antæus (to compare Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove With Jove's Alcides, and oft foil'd still rose, Receiving from his mother-earth new strength, Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,

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