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Of nations; there the capitol thou seest
Above the rest lifting his stately head
On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel
Impregnable, and there mount Palatine,
Th’imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure, skill of noblest architects,
With gilded battlements, conspicuous far,
Turrets and terrases, and glitt'ring spires.
Many a fair edifice besides, more like'
Houses of Gods, (so well I have dispos’d
My aery microscope) thou may'st behold
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs,
Cary'd work, the hand of fam'd artificers
In cedar, marble, ivory or gold.
- 60 Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see What conflux issuing forth, or entring in, Pretors, proconsuls to their provinces Hasting, or on return, in robes of state; Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their pow'r, 65 Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings: Or embassies from regions far remote In various habits on the Appian road, Or on th’Emilian, some from farthest south, Syene', and where the shadow both way falls, 70 Meroe Nilotic ile, and more to west, The realm of Bocchus to the Black-moor sea; From th’ Asian kings and Parthian among these, From India and the golden Chersonese,
And utmost Indian ile Taprobane,
Dusk faces with white silken turbants wreath'd;
From Gallia, Gades, and the British west, .
Germans and Scythians, and Sarmatians north
Beyond Danubius to the Tauric pool.
All nations now to Rome obedience pay, 80
To Rome's great emperor, whose wide domain
In ample territory, wealth and power,
Civility of manners, arts and arms,
And long renown, thou jusly may'st prefer
Before the Parthian; those two thrones except, 85
The rest are barb'rous, and scarce worth the sight,
Shar'd among petty kings too far remov’d;
These having shown thee, I have shown thee all
The kingdoms of the world, and all their glory.
This emp’ror hath no son, and now is old, 90
Old and lascivious, and from Rome retir'd
To Capreæ an iland small but strong
On the Campanian shore, with purpose there
His horrid lusts in private to enjoy
Committing to a wicked favorite
All public cares, and yet of him suspicious,
Hated of all, and hating; with what ease,
Indued with regal virtues as thou art,
Appearing, and beginning noble deeds,
Might'st thou expel this monster from his throne 100
Now made a stye, and in his place ascending
A victor people free from servile yoke?
And with my help thou may'st; to me the power
Is giv’n, and by that right I give it thee.
Aim therefore at no less than all the world, 105
Aim at the high’est, without the high'est attain'd
Will be for thee no sitting, or not long,
On David's throne, be prophecy'd what will.
To whom the Son of God unmov'd reply'd.
Nor doth this grandeur and majestic show 110
Of luxury, though call’d magnificence,
More than of arms before, allure mine eye,
Much less my mind; though thou should'st add to tell
Their sumptuous gluttonies, and gorgeous feasts
On citron tables or Atlantic stone, -
115 (For I have also heard, perhaps have read) . Their wines of Setia, Cales, and Falerne, Chios, and Crete, and how they quaff in gold, Crystal and myrrhine cups imboss’d with gems And studs of pearl, to me should'st tell who thirst 120 And hunger still: then embassies thou show'st From nations far and nigh; what honor that, But tedious waste of time to fit and hear So many hollow compliments and lies, Outlandish flatteries? then proceed'st to talk 125 Of th' emperor, how easily subdued, How gloriously; I shall, thou say'st, expel A brutish monster: what if I withal Expel a Devil who first made him such? Let his tormenter conscience find him out; 130
For him I was not sent, nor yet to free
That people victor once, now vile and base,
Deservedly made vassal, who once just,
Frugal, and mild, and temp’rate, conquer'd well,
But govern ill the nations under yoke,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
By luft and rapin; first ambitious grown
Of triumph, that insulting vanity;
Then cruel, by their sports to blood inur'd
Of fighting beasts, and men to beasts expos’d, 140
Luxurious by their wealth, and greedier still,
And from the daily scene effeminate.
What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerate, by themselves inslav’d,
Or could of inward slaves make outward free? 145
Know therefore when my season comes to sit
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth,
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash
All monarchies besides throughout the world, 150
And of my kingdom there shall be no end :
Means there shall be to this, but what the means,
Is not for thee to know, nor me to tell.
To whom the Tempter impudent reply'd. I see all offers made by me how slight
155 Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st: Nothing will please the difficult and nice, · Or nothing more than still to contradict:
On th’ other side know also thou, that I
On what I offer set as high esteem,
Nor what I part with mean to give for nought;
All these which in a moment thou behold'ft,
The kingdoms of the world to thee I give;
For giv’n to me, I give to whom I please,
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else, 165
On this condition, if thou wilt fall down,
And worship me as thy superior lord,
Easily done, and hold them all of me;
For what can less so great a gift deserve ?
Whom thusour Saviouranswer'd with disdain. 170
I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less,
Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter
Th’abominable terms, impious condition;
But I indure the time, till which expir’d,
Thou hast permission on me. It is written 175
The first of all commandments, Thou shalt worship
The Lord thy God, and only him shalt serve; -
And dar'st thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accurs’d, now more accurs’d
For this attempt bolder than that on Eve, 180
And more blasphemous? which expect to rue.
The kingdoms of the world to thee were given,
Permitted rather, and by thee usurp’d;
Other donation none thou canst produce:
If giv’n, by whom but by the King of kings, 185
God over all supreme? if giv'n to thee,