Page images
PDF

That scat, and reign in Israel without end.

Among the Heathen (for thoughout the world

To me is not unknown what hath been done

.Worthy' of memorial,) canst thou not remember

Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus;

For I esteem those names of men so poor

Who could do mighty things, and could content*

Riches though offer'd from the hands of kings.

And what in me seems wanting, but that I 4M>

May also in this poverty as soon

Accomplish what they did, perhaps and more?

Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,

The wise man's cumbrance if not snare, more apt

To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,

Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.

What if with like aversion I reject

Riches and realms; yet not for that a crown,

Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns,

Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights

To him who wears the regal diadem, 461

When on his shoulders each man's burthen lies.

For therein stands the office of a king,

His honor, virtue, merit and chief praise,

That for the public all this weight he bears.

Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules

Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;

Which every wise and.virtuous man attains;

And who attains not, ill aspires to rule

Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes, 470

Subjects himself to anarchy within,

Or lawless passions in him which he serves.'

But to guide nations in the way of truth

By saving doctrine, and from error lead;

To know, and, knowing, worship God aright,

Is yet more kingly; this attracts the soul,

Governs the inner man, the nobler part;

That other o'er the body only reigns,

And oft by force, which to a generous mind

So reigning can be no sincere delight. 480

Besides to give a kingdom hath been thought

Greater and nobler done, and to lay down

Far more magnanimous, than to assume.

Riches are needless then, both for themselves,

And for thy reason why they should be sought,

To gain a sceptre, oftest better miss'd.

THE END OF THE SECCJN» BOOK.

MILTON. VOt. III.

PARADISE REGAINTX

BOOK III.

^o spake the Son of God, and Satan stood
A while as mute, confounded what to say,
What to reply, confuted and convinc'd
Of his weak arguing, and fallacious drift;
At length collecting all his serpent wiLes,
With soothing word renew'd, him thus accosts:

I see thou know'st what is of use to know,
What best to say can say, to do can'st do;
Thy actions to thy words accord, thy words
To thy large heart give utterance due, thy heart 10
Contains of good, wise, just, the perfect shape.
Should kings and nations from thy mouth consult,
Thy counsel would be as the oracle
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old
Infallible; or wert thou sought to deeds
That might require th' array of war, thy skill
Of conduct would be such, that all the world
Could not sustain thy prowess, or subsist
In battle though against thy few in arms. HO

These godlike virtues wherefore dost thou hide,
Affecting private life, or more obscure
In savage wilderness? wherefore deprive

All earth her wonder at thy acts, thyself
The fame and glory, glory the reward
That sole excites to high attempts, the flam*
Of most erected spirits, most temper'd pure
Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise,
All treasures and all gain esteem as dross,
And dignities and powers all but the highest? 30
Thy years are ripe, and over-ripe; the son
Of Macedonian Philip had ere these
Won Asia, and the throne of Cyrus held
At his dispose; young Scipio had brought down
The Carthaginian pride: young Pompey quell'4
The Pontic king, and in triumph had rode.
Yet years, and to ripe years judgment mature,
Quench not the thirst of glory, but augment,
Great Julius, whom now all the world admires,
The more he grew in years, the more inflam'd 49
With glory, wept that he had liv'd so long
Inglorious: but thou yet art not too late.

To whom our Saviour calmly thus reply'd:
Thou neither dost persuade me to seek wealth
For empire's sake, nor empire to affect
For glory's sake, by all thy argument.
For what is glory but the blaze of fame,
The people's praise, if always praise unmix'd?
And what the people but a herd confus'd, 49

A miscellaneous rabble, who extol [praise?

Things vulgar, and well weigh'd, scarce worth the They praise, and they admire they know not what,

And know not whom, but as one leads the other;
And what delight to be by such extoll'd,
To live upon their tongues and be their talk?
QX whom to be disprais'd were no small praise j
THis lot who dares be singularly good.
XbA-intelligence among them and the wise
Arc few, and glory scarce of few is rais'd.
This is true glory and renown, when God 60

Looking on th' earth, with approbation marks
The just man, and divulges him through Heav'n
To all his angels, who with true applause
Recount his praises: thus he did to Job,
When to extend his fame thro' heav'n and earth,
As thou to thy reproach may'st well remember,
He ask'd thee, Hast thou seen my servant Job?
Famous he was in heav'n, on earth less known;
Where glory is false, glory attributed
To things not glorious, men not worthy' of fame,
They err who count it glorious to subdue 71

By conquest far and wide, to over-run
Large countries, and in field great battles win,
Great cities by assault; what do these worthies,
But rob and spoil, burn, slaughter, and inslave
Peaceable nations, neigh'bring, or remote,
Made captive, yet deserving freedom more
Than those their conquerors, who leave behind
Nothing but ruin wheresoe'er they rove,
And all the flourishing works of peace destroy, 80
Then swell with pride, and must be titled Gods,
Great benefactors of mankind, deliverers,

« PreviousContinue »