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Gideon, and Japhtha, and the shepherd lad,
Whose ofspring on the throne of Judah sat 440
So many ages, and shall yet regain
That feat, and reign in Israel without end.
Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world
To me is not unknown what hath been done
Worthy' of memorial) canst thou not remember 445
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus ?
For I esteem those names of men so poor
Who could do mighty things, and could contemn
Riches though offer’d from the hand of kings.
And what in me seems wanting, but that I 450
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, 455
Than prompt her to do ought 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 burden 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. 465
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 head-strong multitudes, 470
Subject himself to anarchy within,
Or lawless passions in him which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrin, and from error lead
To know, and knowing worship God aright, 475
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, 485
To gain a scepter, oftest better miss’d.
The end of the Second Book.
So spake the Son of God, and Satan stood
D 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 words renew'd, him thus accosts.
I fee thou know'st what is of use to know,
What best to say canst say, to do canst 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 L .
Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems
On Aaron's breast; or tongue of seers old 15
Infallible: or wert thou sought to deeds
That might require th’array of war, thy fkill
Of conduct would be such, that all the world