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“ Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
“ Wielded at will that fierce democracy,
“ Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece,

270 To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne :

To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear, "From Heaven descended to the low-roofed house “Of Socrates; see there his tenement, “ Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced “ Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth “ Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools • Of Academics old and new, with those “ Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect

Epicurean, and the Stoic severe. “ These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home, “ Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight: 6. These rules will render thee a king complete “ Within thyself, much more with empire joined.”

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: “ Think not but that I know these things, or think I know them not; not therefore am I short “Of knowing what I ought: he, who receives

Light from 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 professed “ To know this only, that he nothing knew; “ The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits; “ A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense: “ Others in virtue placed felicity, “ But virtue joined with riches and long life; “In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease: “ The Stoic last, in philosophic pride,

300 “ By him called virtue; and his virtuous man, “ Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,

Equals 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,


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“ Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
“ Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead,

Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
“ And how the world began, and how man fell

Degraded by himself, on grace depending? “ Much of the soul they talk, but all awry, “And in themselves seek virtue, 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, “ An empty cloud. However, many books, “ Wise men have said, are wearisome : 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 unsettled still remains, “Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself, “ Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys “ And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge; “ As children gathering pebbles on the shore. “ 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 strewed “ With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscribeil, “Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon “ That pleased so well our victors' ear,—declare, “ That rather Greece from us these arts derived ;“ Ill imitated, while they loudest sing “ The vices of their deities, and their own, “In fable, hymn, or song, so personating “ Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame! “ Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid " As varnish on a harlot's 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 tastes excelling,


340 350


“ Where God is praised aright, and godlike men,
The Holiest of Holies, and his saints :
“Such are from God inspired, -not such from thee,
“ Unless where moral virtue is expressed
“ By light of Nature, not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extollst, as those
“ The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
“ And lovers of their 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 their majestic unaffected style,
“ Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
“ 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 replied :

“ Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts, Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught

By me proposed in life contemplative, " Or active, tended on by glory or fame, " What dost thou in this world? The wilderness For thee is fittest place ; I found thee there, “ And thither will return thee: yet remember 6. What I foretell thee : soon thou shalt have cause To wish thou never hadst rejected, thus

Nicely or cautiously, my offered 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 fulfilled. “ 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 “ Attend 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 prefixed “ Directs me in the starry rubric set.”

So saying, he took, (for still he knew his power
Not yet expired,) and to the wilderness
Brought back the Son of God, and left him there,
Feigning to disappear.

Darkness now rose,
As daylight 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 intertwined, might shield
From dews and damps of night his sheltered head;
But, sheltered, slept in vain'; for at his head
The Tempter watched, and soon with ugly dreams
Disturbed his sleep: and either tropic now
Gan thunder, and both ends of Heaven; the clouds, 410
From many a horrid rift, abortive, poured
Fierce rain with lightning mixed, -water with fire
In ruin reconciled : nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks,
Bowed their 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 Environed thee; some howled, some yelled, some shrieked, Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou Satst unappalled in calm and sinless peace ! Thus passed the Night so foul, till Morning fair Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice grey;

Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar
Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the Fiend had raised

To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the Sun with more effectual beams
Had cheered the face of Earth, and dried 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,
Cleared 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 resolved, Desperate of better course, to vent his rage And mad despite to be so oft repelled. Him walking on a sunny hill he found, Backed 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 wrack, “ As earth and sky would mingle ; but myself

2 “ Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear them As dangerous to the pillared 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 ofttimes noxious where they light
“ On man, beast, plant, -wasteful and turbulent, —-

Like turbulences in the 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 dwellst.
“ Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject


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