Page images

And follow'd thee still on this waste wild;
Where by all best conjectures I collect
Thou art to be my fatal enemy. 525

Good reason, then if I before-hand seek
To understand my adversary, who
And what he is; his wisdom, pow'r, intent;
By parl, or composition, truce, or league
To win him, or win from him what I can. 530
And opportunity I here have had
To try thee, sift thee, and confess have found thee
Proof against all temptation, as a rock
Of adamant, and as a centre, firm,
To th' utmost of mere man both wife and good, 535
Not more; for honors, riches, kingdoms, glory
Have been before contemn'd, and may again:
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,
Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heav'n,
Another method I must now begin. 540

So say'ing he caught him up, and without wing
Of hippogrif bore through the air sublime
Over the wilderness and o'er the plain;
Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
The holy city lifted high her towers, 545

And higher yet the glorious temple rear'd
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topt with golden spires:
There on the highest pinnacle he set
The Son of God, and added thus in scorn. 550


There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright
Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house
Havebrought thee', and highest plac'd, highest is best,
Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God: 555

For it is written, He will give command
Concerning thee to his Angels, in their hands
They shall up lift thee, lest at any time
Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.

To whom thus Jesus; Also it is written, 560
Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:
But Satan smitten with amazement fell.
As when earth's son Antæus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Iraffa strove
With Jove's Alcides, and oft foil'd still rose, 565
Receiving from his mother earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in th' air, expir'd and fell;
So after many a foil the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride 570

Fell whence he stood to fee his victor fall.
And as that Theban monster that propos'd
Her riddle', and him, who folv'd it not, devour'd,
That once found out and folv'd, for grief and spite
Cast herself headlong from th' Ismenian steep; 575
So struck with dread and anguish fell the Fiend,
And to his crew, that fat consulting, brought
Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,


Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,

Who durst so proudly tempt the Son os God. 580

So Satan fell; and strait a fiery globe

Of Angels on full fail of wing flew nigh,

Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft

From his uneasy station, and upbore

As on a floating couch through the blithe air, 585

Then in a flow'ry valley set him down

On a green bank, and set before him spread

A table of celestial food, divine,

Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,

And from the fount of, life ambrosial drink, 590

That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd

What hunger, if ought hunger had impair'd,

Or thirst; and as he fed, angelic quires

Sung heav'nly anthems of his victory

Over temptation, and the Tempter proud. 595

True Image of the Father, whether thron'd In the bosom of bliss, and light of light Conceiving, or remote from Heav'n, inshrin'd In fleshly tabernacle, and human form, Wand'ring the wilderness, whatever place, 600 Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing The Son of God, with God-like force indued Against th' attempter of thy Father's throne, And thief of Paradise; him long of old Thou didst debel, and down from Heaven cast 605 With all his army, now thou hast aveng'd


Supplanted Adam, and by vanquishing
Temptation, hast regain'd lost Paradise;
And frustrated the conquest fraudulent:
He never more henceforth will dare set foot 610
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For though that feat of earthly bliss be fail'd,
A fairer Paradise is founded now
For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou
A Saviour art come down to re-install 615

Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be,
Of Tempter and temptation without fear.
But thou, infernal Serpent, malt not long
Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star
Or lightning thou shalt fall from Heav'n, trod down
Under his feet: for proof, ere this thou feel'st 621
Thy wound, yet not thy last and deadliest wound,
By this repulse receiv'd, and hold'st in Hell
No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues
Thy bold attempt; hereafter learn with awe 626
To dread the Son of God: he all unarm'd
Shall chace thee with the terror of his voice
From thy demoniac holds, possession foul,
Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly,
And beg to hide them in a herd os swine, 630
Lest he command them down into the deep
Bound, and to torment sent before their time.
Hail Son of the most High, heir of both worlds,
Queller of Satan, on thy glorious work

M Now Now enter and begin to save mankind. 635

Thus they the Son of God our Saviour meek Sung victor, and from heav'nly feast refresh'd Brought on his way with joy; he unobferv'd Home to his mother's house private return'd.


« PreviousContinue »