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“ The perfect season offered with my aid
“ To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong
“ All to the push of Fate,- pursue thy way

470 “ Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when, For both the when and how is nowhere told ? “ Thou shalt be what thou art ordained, no doubt ; “For angels have proclaimed 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, “ Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold; “ Whereof this ominous night, that closed thee round, “ So many terrors, voices, prodigies, –

May warn thee, as a sure foregoing sign."

So talked he, while the Son of God went on And staid not, but in brief him answered thus :

“ Me worse than wet thou findst not; other harm, “ Those terrors, which thou speakst of, did me none: “I never feared they could, though noising loud “ And threatening nigh: what they can do, as signs Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn

490 As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; “ Who, knowing I shall reign past thy preventing, • Obtrudest thy offered aid, that I, accepting, “ At least might seem to hold all power of thee, “ Ambitious Spirit! and wouldst be thought my God, “And stormst refused, thinking to terrify “Me to thy will ! desist !-thou art discerned, " And toilst in vain-nor me in vain molest!”

To whom the Fiend, now swoln with rage, replied : “ Then hear, O 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, “ Announced 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 ceased to eye

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· Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth ; “ Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; “ Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all

510 “ Flocked to the Baptist, I among the rest, “ (Though not to be baptized,) by voice from Heaven “ Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved.' " Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn “ In what degree or meaning thou art called “ 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 520 In some respect far higher so declared : “ Therefore I watched thy footsteps from that hour, " And followed thee still on to this waste wild ; “ Where, hy 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 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 centre, firm; “ To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, "Not more ;-for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory, " Have been before contemned, and may again. "i Therefore to know what more thou art than man, Worth naming 'Son of God' by voice from Heaven, " 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’er the plain; Till, underneath them, fair Jerusalem, The holy city, lifted high her towers, And higher yet the glorious Temple reared Her pile, far off appearing like a mount

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Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :
There, on the highest pinnacle, 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 Father's house “ Have brought thee, and highest placed ;-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,

560 *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 foiled, still rose, Receiving from his mother Earth new strength, Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple joined, Throttled at length in the air, expired 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 proposed Her riddle, and him who solved it not devoured ; That once found out and solved, 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~ Joyless triumphals of his hoped successRuin, and desperation, and dismay, Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.

580 So Satan fell ;– and straight a fiery globe Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh, Who on their plumy vans received him soft From his uneasy station, and upbore, As on a floating couch, through the blithe air : Then, in a flowery valley, set him down On a green bank, and set before him spread

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A table of celestial food, divine
Ambrosial fruits, fetched from the tree of life,
And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,

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That soon refreshed him wearied, and repaired.
What hunger, if aught hunger, had impaired,
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 throned " In the bosom of bliss, and light of light

Conceiving; or, remote from Heaven, enshrined “ In fleshly tabernacle, and human form,

Wandering the wilderness ;-whatever place, “ Habit, or state, or motion,-still expressing “ The Son of God, with godlike force endued

Against the attempter of thy Father's throne, “ And thief of Paradise ! Him long of old “ Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast “ With all his army: now thou hast avenged

Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing

Temptation, hast regained 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 failed, " 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 Heaven, trod down 620 “ Under his feet: for proof, ere this thou feelst • Thy wound-yet not thy last and deadliest wound' By this repulse received, and holdst 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 unarmed, “ Shall chase thee, with the terror of his voice,

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“ From thy demoniac holds,-possession foul, —
“ Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly,
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 their 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, Sung victor, and, from heavenly feast refreshed, Brought on his way with joy: he, unobserved, Home to his mother's house private returned.

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