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To whom the Tempter inly rack'd reply'd :
Let that come when it comes, all hope is lost
Of my reception into grace; what worse?
For where no hope is left, is left no fear :
If there be worse, the expectation more
Of worse torments me than the feeling can,
I would be at the worst ; worst is my 'port,
My harbour and my ultimate repose,

210
The end I would attain, my final good.
My errror was my error, and my crime
My crime; whatever for itself condemn'd
And will alike be punish'd, whether thou
Reign or reign not, though to that gentle brow
Willingly I could fly, and hope thy reign,
From that placid aspect and meek regard,
Rather than aggravate my evil state,
Would stand between me and thy Father's ire
(Whose ire I dread more than the fire of Hell) 220
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 should'st 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 perfection can in man be found,

230 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 (serve ?
Short sojourn; and what thence couldst thou oba
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 240
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. 250

With that (such power was giv'n kim then) he
The Son of God up to a mountain high. [took
It was a mountain at whose verdant feet
A spacious plain out-stetch'd in circuit wide .
Lay pleasant; from his side two riyers flow'd,
Th’one winding, th' other straight, and left between
Fair champaign with less rivers intervein'd
Then meeting, join'd their tribute to the sea : .
Fertile of corn the glebe, of oil and wine; 259
With herds the pastures throng'd, withflocks the hills,
Huge cities and high tower'd, that well might secm
The seats-ok 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
Dur 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, 270
Araxes and the Caspian lake, thence on
As far as Indus east, Euphrates west,
And oft beyond : the south of Persian bay,
And inaccessible th' 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, 280
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, 290
The great Selucia, Nisibis, and there ;
Artasata, Teredon, Ctesiphon, .

Turning with easy eye thou may'st behold.
All these the Parthian, now some ages past,
By great Arsases 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 pow'r; for now the Parthian king
In Ctestiphon has gather'd all his host 300
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 311
In coats of mail and military pride ;
In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong,
Prauncing their riders bore, the flow'r 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 320
Of Susiana, to Balsarar's haven.
He saw them in their forms of battle rang'd,

330

How quick they wheeld and Aly'ing 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
Cuirassiers 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 ;
Mules after these, camels and dromedaries,
And waggons fraught with utensils of war.
Such forces met not, nor so wide a camp,
When Agrican with all his northern powers
Besieg'd Albracca, as romances tell,
The city of Gallaphrone, from whence to win 340
The fairest of her sex Angelica
His daughter, sought by many prowest knights,
Both Paynim, and the peers of Charlemain.
Such and so numerous was their chivalry ;
At sight whereof the Fiend yet more presum'd,
And to our Saviour thus his words renewed.

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 351
By prophet or by angel, unless thou

VOL. III.

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