Page images
PDF
EPUB

And utmost Indian ile Taprobane, 75

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 justly 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 95

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

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 highest, 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 no
Of luxury, though call'd magnificence,
More than of arms before, allure mine eye,
Much less my mind; though thou fhould'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 imbofs'd with gems
And studs of pearl, to me fhould'st tell who thirst 120
And hunger still: then embassies thou fhow'st
From nations far and nigh; what honor that,
But tedious waste of time to sit and hear
So many hollow compliments and lies,
Outlandish flatteries? then proceed'st to talk 125
Of th' emperor, how easily subdued,
How glorioufly; 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

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, 135

Peeling their provinces, exhausted all

By lust 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 inflavd,

Or could of inward flaves 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 fliall 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 fee all offers made by me how flight 155

Thou valuest, because offer'd, and reject'st:
Nothing will please the disficult and nice,
Or nothing more than still to contradict:

On On th' other side know also thou, that I

On what I offer set as high esteem, 160

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 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 thusourSaviouranswer'dwithdisdain. 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: Is giv'n, by whom but by the King of kings, 185 God over all supreme? if giv'n to thee,

K By

By thee how fairly is the giver now
Repaid? But gratitude in thee is lost
Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame,
As offer them to me the Son of God, 190

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, Satan for ever damn'd.

To whom the Fiend with fear abash'd reply'd. 195
Be not so fore 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, 200
Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth
Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds,
God of this world invok'd and world beneath;
Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold
To me so fatal, me it most concerns. 205

The trial hath indamag'd thee no way,
Rather more honor left and more esteem;
Me nought advantag'd, missing what I aim'd.
Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more 210
Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not.
And thou thyself seem st otherwise inclin'd
Than to a worldly crown, addicted more
To contemplation and profound dispute.

As

« PreviousContinue »