Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]

PERPLEX'D and troubled at his bad success
The Tempter stood, nor had what to reply,
Discovered in his fraud, thrown from his hope
So oft, and the persuasive rhetoric
That fleek'd his tongue, and won so much on Eve, 5
So little here, nay lost; but Eve was Eve,
This far is over-match, who self-deceiv'd
And rash, before-hand had no better weigh'd
The strength he was to cope with, or his own:
But as a man who had been matchless held 10
In cunning, over-reach'd where least he thought,
To salve his credit, and for very spite,
Still will be tempting him who foils him still,
And never cease, though to his shame the more;
Or as a swarm of flies in vintage time, 15

About the wine-press where sweet must is pour'd,
Beat off, returns as oft with humming found;
Or surging waves against a solid rock,

I 2 Though Though all to shivers dash'd, th' assault renew,

Vain batt'ry, and in froth or bubbles end; 20

So Satan, whom repulse upon repulse

Met ever, and to shameful silence brought,

Yet gives not o'er though desp'rate os success,

And his vain importunity pursues.

He brought our Saviour to the western side 25

Os that high mountain, whence he might behold

Another plain, long but in breadth not wide,

Wash'd by the southern sea, and on the north

To equal length back'd with a ridge os hills,


From cold Septentrion blasts, thence in the midst

Divided by a river, of whose banks

On each side an imperial city stood,

With tow'rs and temples proudly elevate

On sev'n small hills, with palaces adorn'd, 35

Porches and theatres, baths, aqueducts,

Statues and trophies, and triumphal arcs,

Gardens and groves presented to his eyes,

Above the highth of mountains interpos'd:

By what strange parallax or optic skill 40

Of vision multiply'd through air, or glass

Of telescope, were curious to inquire:

And now the Tempter thus his silence broke.

The city which thou feest no other deem
Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth
So far renown'd, and with the spoils enrich'd 46


[graphic][ocr errors]

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, 50

Th' imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure, skill of noblest architects,
With gilded battlements, conspicuous far,
Turrets and terrafes, and glitt'ring spires.
Many a fair edifice besides, more like 55

Houses of Gods, (so well I have dispos'd
My aery microscope) thou may'st behold
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs,
Carv'd work, the hand of fam'd artificers
In cedar, marble, ivory or gold. 60

Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and fee
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, arid 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, 75

Dufk 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 fight,
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, 9o
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 nbble 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?


[graphic][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »