« PreviousContinue »
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 concience find him out;
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 temperate, conquer'd well,
govern ill the nations under yoke,
Peeling their provinces, exhausted all
By lust and rapine ; 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:
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 enslav'd ?
Or could of inward slaves make outward free?
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;
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, replied.
I see all offers made by me how slight
Thou valuest, because offer’d, and reject'st:
Nothing will please the difficult and nice,
Or nothing more than still to contradict :
On the 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’st,
The kingdoms of the world, to thee I give,
(For, given to me, I give to whom I please,)
No trifle; yet with this reserve, not else,
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 thus our Saviour answer'd with disdain.
I never lik'd thy talk, thy offers less;
Now both abhor, since thou hast dar'd to utter
The abominable terms, impious condition :
But I endure the time, till which expir’d
Thou hast permission on me. It is written,
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 on Eve,
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 thau canst produce.
If given, by whom but by the King of Kings,
God over all supreme? If given to thee,
By thee how fairly is the giver now
Repaid ! But gratitude in thee is lost
Long singe. Wert thou so void of fear or shame,
As offer them to me, the Son of God?
To me my own, on such abhorred pact,
That I fall down and worship thee as God?
Get thee behind me; plain thou now appear'st
That Evil-one, Satap for ever damn'd.
To whom the Fiend, with fear abash'd, re-
Be not so sore offended, Son of God,
Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men,
If I, to try whether in higher sort
Than these thou bear'st that title, have propos'd
What both from Men and Angels I receive,
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth,
Nations beside from all the quater'd winds,
God of this world invok'd, and world beneath :
Who then thau art, whose coming is foretold
To me mast fatal, me it most concerns ;
The trial hath indamag'd thee no way,
Rather more honour left and more esteem';
Me nought advantag'd, missing what I ain'd.
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
The kingdoms of this world; addicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute,
As by that early action may be judg’d,
When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st
Alone into the temple, there wast found
Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant
On points and questions fitting Moses' chair,
Teaching, not taught. The childhood shows the
As morning shows the day: be famous then
By wisdom; as thy empire must extend,
So let extend thy mind o'er all the world
In knowledge, all things in it comprehend.
All knowledge is not couch'd in Moses' law,
The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach
To admiration, led by Nature's light,
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,
Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean'st;
Without their learning, how wilt thou with them,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes ?
Errour by his own arms is best evinc'd.
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount
Westward, much nearer by southwest, behold;
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil 3
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City or suburban, studious walks and shades.
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attick bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound
Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream: within the walls, then view
The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand; and various-measur'd verse,
Æolian charms and Dorian lyrick odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer callid,
Phoebus challeng'd for his own:
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In Chorus or lambick, teachers best
Of moral prudence, with delight receivid
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life,
High actions and high passions best describing :
Thence to the famous orators repair,