Imatges de pàgina

What wise and valiant man would seek to free
These thus degenerate, by themselves enslaved?
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 rejectest;
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 beholdst,
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 liked thy talk, thy offers less,

Now both abhor, since thou hast dared to utter
The abominable terms, impious condition;
But I endure the time, till which expired,
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 darest thou to the Son of God propound
To worship thee accursed, now more accursed
For this attempt, bolder than that 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 thou 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 since. 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 appearest
That evil one, Satan for ever damn'd.

To whom the fiend, with fear abash'd, replied: 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 proposed What both from men and angels I receive, Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth Nations besides from all the quarter'd winds, God of this world invoked, and world beneath; Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold To me so fatal, me it most concerns. The trial hath indamaged thee no way, Rather more honour left and more esteem; Me nought advantaged, missing what I aim'd Therefore let pass, as they are transitory, The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined Than to a worldly crown, addicted more To contemplation and profound dispute, As by that early action may be judged, When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st Alone into the temple, there wast found Amongst the gravest rabbis disputant

On points and questions fitting Moses' chair,
Teaching, not taught; the childhood shows the man,
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?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.

Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold,
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil;
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 Attic 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 thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit

By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own.
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best

Of moral prudence, with delight received
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,

Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democracy,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece,
To Macedon, and Artaxerxes' throne:

To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,

From heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,

Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics, old and new, with those
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;

These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire join'd.

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied:
Think not but that I know these things, or think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs. though granted true;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all profess'd
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits;
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense;
Others in virtue placed felicity,

But virtue join'd with riches and long life;

In corporal pleasure he, and careless ease;
The Stoic last, in philosophic pride,

By him call'd virtue; and his virtuous man,
Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equal to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which, when he lists, he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,

Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.

Alas! what can they teach and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell,
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves
All glory arrogate, to God give none;
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite

Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However, many books
Wise men have said are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior,

And what he brings, what need he elsewhere seek?
Uncertain and unsettled still remains,

Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself,
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys,

And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge
As children gathering pebbles on the shore.
Or if I would delight my private hours
With music or with poem, where so soon
As in our native language can I find

That solace? All our law and story strew'd

With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscribed,

Our Hebrew songs and harps in Babylon,

That pleased so well our victor's ear, declare
That rather Greece from us these arts derived;

Ill imitated, while they loudest sing

The vices of their deities and their own
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating

Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid
As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with aught of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare
With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling,
Where God is praised aright, and godlike men,
The holiest of holies, and his saints;

Such are from God inspired, not such from thee,

Unless where moral virtue is express'd
By light of nature not in all quite lost.
Their orators thou then extoll'st, as those
The top of eloquence, statists indeed

And lovers of their country, as may seem;
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government,
In their majestic unaffected style,

Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy, and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;
These only with our law best form a king.

So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now,
Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied:
Since neither wealth, nor honour, arms, nor arts,
Kingdom, nor empire pleases thee, nor aught
By me proposed in life contemplative

Or active, tended on by glory or fame,

What dost thou in this world? The Wilderness For thee is fittest place; I found thee there,

And thither will return thee; yet remember

What I foretell thee, soon thou shalt have cause
To wish thou never hadst rejected thus

Nicely or cautiously my offer'd aid,

Which would have set thee in short time with ease
On David's throne, or throne of all the world,
Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season,
When prophecies of thee are best fulfill'd.
Now contrary, if I read aught in heaven,

Or heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars,
Voluminous, or single characters,

In their conjunction met, give me to spell,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate,

Attend thee, scorns, reproaches, injuries,

Violence, and stripes, and lastly cruel death;

A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,

Real or allegoric, I discern not;

Nor when, eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefix'd
Directs me in the starry rubric set.

So saying, he took, for still he knew his power Not yet expired, and to the wilderness

Brought back the Son of God, and left him there,
Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose,
As daylight sunk, and brought in lowering night,
Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both,
Privation mere of light and absent day.
Our Saviour, meek and with untroubled mind
After his aëry jaunt, though hurried sore,

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