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315

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 outpour’d, light armed troops
In coats of mail and military pride;
In mail their horses clad, yet fleet and strong,
Prancing their riders bore, the flower 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 neighbouring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana, to Balsara's haven.
He saw them in their forms of battel rang’d,
How quick they wheeld, and flying behind them shot
Sharp sleet of arrowy showers against the face

320

309 wedges, and half-moons) Virgil mentions the 'wedge;' Æn. xii. 457, densi cuneis se quisque coactis agglomerant:' and Stat. Theb. v. 145, the half-moon; "lunatumque putes agmen descendere.' Dunster.

310 numbers numberless] For this expression (which was very common in old English Poets anterior to Milton) see Peele's Works, by Dyce, sec. ed. 1829, vol. i. P.

227.
• A number numberless, appointed well

For tournament.'
and Heywood's Troy, p. 203.
311 gates] Virg. Æn. xii. 121,

plenis Agmina se fundunt portis.' Dunster. 314 Prancing] Compare the description in Heliodori Æthiop. lib. iii. p. 175. ed. Mitscherlich. 324 arrowy) Æn. xi. 284.

Tempestas telorum, ac ferreus ingruit imber.' Dunster.

6

325

330

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 endors'd with towers
Of archers, nor of labouring 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
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;

335

340 355

326 brown] Euripidis Phæn. 296.

καταχάλχον απάν

Πέδιον αστράπτει. Dunster. 329 endors’d] B. Jonson's Epig. to W. Earl of Newcastle :

Nay, so your seat his beauties did endorse,

As I began to wish myself a horse.' Dunster. 334 yoke] Æschyli Persæ, 71.

Ζυγόν αμφιβαλών αυχενί πόντου. Thyer. 337 Such] Lucan. Phars. iii. 288.

coiere nec unquam
Tam variæ cultu gentes, tam dissona vulgi
Ora.'

Dunster.

At sight whereof the fiend yet more presum’d, 345 And to our Saviour thus his words renew'd.

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 Endeavour, as thy father David did, Thou never shalt obtain ; prediction still In all things, and all men, supposes means; Without means us’d, what it predicts revokes. But say thou wert possess'd of David's throne By free consent of all, none opposite, Samaritan or Jew; how could'st thou hope Long to enjoy it quiet and secure, Between two such enclosing enemies, Roman and Parthian? therefore one of these Thou must make sure thy own; the Parthian first By my advice, as nearer, and of late Found able by invasion to annoy Thy country, and captive lead away her kings, Antigonus, and old Hyrcanus bound, Maugre the Roman. It shall be my task To render thee the Parthian at dispose; Choose which thou wilt, by conquest or by league. 370 By him thou shalt regain, without him not, That which alone can truly reinstall thee In David's royal seat, his true successor, Deliverance of thy brethren, those ten tribes

360

365 375

380

Whose offspring in his territory yet serve,
In Habor, and among the Medes dispers’d;
Ten sons of Jacob, two of Joseph, lost
Thus long from Israel, serving, as of old
Their fathers in the land of Egypt serv’d,
This offer sets before thee to deliver.
These if from servitude thou shalt restore
To their inheritance, then, nor till then,
Thou on the throne of David in full glory,
From Egypt to Euphrates and beyond,
Shalt reign, and Rome or Cæsar not need fear. 385

To whom our Saviour answer'd thus unmov’d.
Much ostentation vain of fleshly arm,
And fragile arms, much instrument of war
Long in preparing, soon to nothing brought,
Before mine eyes thou hast set; and in my ear
Vented much policy, and projects deep
Of enemies, of aids, battels, and leagues,
Plausible to the world, to me worth naught.
Means I must use, thou say'st, prediction else
Will unpredict and fail me of the throne.
My time, I told thee, (and that time for thee
Were better farthest off,) is not yet come;
When that comes, think not thou to find me slack
On my part aught endeavouring, or to need
Thy politic maxims, or that cumbersome
Luggage of war there shown me, argument
Of human weakness rather than of strength.

390

395

400

388 instrument] ‘Totius belli instrumento et apparatu.' Cic. Acad. ii. 1. Dunster. VOL. II.

16

405

410

415

My brethren, as thou call'st them, those ten tribes
I must deliver, if I mean to reign
David's true heir, and his full sceptre sway
To just extent over all Israel's sons.
But whence to thee this zeal? where was it then
For Israel, or for David, or his throne,
When thou stood'st up his tempter to the pride
Of numb'ring Israel, which cost the lives
Of threescore and ten thousand Israelites
By three days' pestilence? such was thy zeal
To Israel then, the same that now to me.
As for those captive tribes, themselves were they
Who wrought their own captivity, fell off
From God to worship calves, the deities
Of Egypt, Baal next, and Ashtaroth,
And all th' idolatries of heathen round,
Besides their other worse than heathenish crimes;
Nor in the land of their captivity,
Humbled themselves, or penitent besought
The God of their forefathers; but so died
Impenitent, and left a race behind
Like to themselves, distinguishable scarce
From Gentiles, but by circumcision vain,
And God with idols in their worship join'd.
Should I of these the liberty regard,
Who freed as to their ancient patrimony,

420

425

428 freed] The obscurity of this passage has been remarked; and conjectures and alterations proposed by the critics. I should prefer to read unto' for 'as to,' which is the slightest deviation from the established text; and which seems to me to remove all the difficulty; but Mr. Dunster's note should be consulted.

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