Imatges de pÓgina
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Under the trees now tripp'd, now solemn stood,
Nymphs of Diana's train, and Naiades,

With fruits and flowers from Amalthea's horn,
Anu ladies of the Hesperides, that seem'd
Fairer than feign'd of old, or fabled since
Of faery damsels, met in forest wide
By knights of Logres, or of Lyones,
Lancelot, or Pelleas, or Fellenore.

And all the while harmonious airs were heard
Of chiming strings, or charming pipes; and winds
Of gentle t gale Arabian odours fann'd

From their soft wings, and Flora's earliest smells :
Such was the splendour; and the Tempter now
His invitation earnestly renew'd:

"What doubts the Son of God to sit and eat? These are not fruits forbidden; no interdict Defends the touching of these viands pure; Their taste no knowledge works, at least of evil, But life preserves, destroys life's enemy, Hunger, with sweet restorative delight.

All these are spirits of air, and woods, and springs, Thy gentle ministers, who come to pay

Thee homage, and acknowledge thee their Lord; What doubt'st thou, Son of God? Sit down and eat."

To whom thus Jesus temperately replied: "Said'st thou not that to all things I had right? And who withholds my power that right to use? Shall I receive by gift what of my own, When and where likes me best, I can command I can at will, doubt not, as soon as thou, Command a table in this wilderness, And call swift flights of angels ministrant Array'd in glory on my cup to attend : Why shouldst thou then obtrude this diligence, In vain, where no acceptance it can find? And with my hunger what hast then to do? Thy pompous délicacies I contemn,

And count thy specious gifts no gifts, but guiles."

To whom thus answer'd Satan malcontent. "That I have also power to give, thou seest: If of that power I bring thee voluntary

What I might have bestow'd on whom I pleas'd,
And rather opportunely in this place
Chose to impart to thy apparent need,
Why shouldst thou not accept it? but I see
What I can do or offer is suspect;

Of these things others quickly will dispose,
Whose pains have earn'd the far-fet spoil." With
Both table and provision vanish'd quite ¡that
With sound of harpies' wings and talons heard:
Only the importune Tempter still remain'd,
And with these words his temptation pursued :
"By hunger, that each other creature tames,
Thou art not to be harm'd, therefore not mov'a ;
Thy temperance invincible besides,

For no allurement yields to appetite;
And all thy heart is set on high designs,
High actions; but wherewith to be achiev'd
Great acts require great means of enterprise;
Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
A carpenter thy father known, thyself
Bred up in poverty and straits at home,
Lost in a desert here and hunger bit :
Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
To greatness? whence authority derivest?
What followers, what retinue, canst thou gain,
Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,

Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost? Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms :

What raised Antipater the Edomite,

And his son Herod plac'd on Judah's throne,
Thy throne, but gold that got him puissant friends?
Therefore, if at great things thou wouldst arrive,
Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,
Not difficult, if thou hearken to me:

Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand;

They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,
While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want.'

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To whom thus Jesus patiently replied; "Yet wealth, without these three, is impotent To gain dominion, or to keep it gain'd. Witness those ancient empires of the earth. In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolv'd : But men endued with these have oft attain'd In lowest poverty to highest deeds; Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd lad, Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat So many ages, and shall yet regain

That seat, and reign in Israel without end.
Among the Heathen, (for throughout the world
To me is not unknown what hath been done!
Worthy of memorial,) canst thou not remember
Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?

For I esteem those names of men so poor,
Who could do mighty things, and could contemn/
Riches, though offer'd from the hand of kings.
And what in me seenis wanting, but that I
May also in this poverty as soon

Accomplish what they did, perhaps, and more?
Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,

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The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more apt To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,

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Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
What if with like aversion I rejecte
Riches and realms ? yet not for that a crown,
Golden in show, is but a wreath of thorns,
Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights
To him who wears the regal diadem,
When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
For therein stands the office of a king.
His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise, :
That for the public all this weight be bears :
Yet he, who reigns within himself, and rules
Passions' desires, and fears, is more a king;
Which every wise and virtuous man attains &

And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,
Subject himself to anarchy within,

Or lawless passions in him, which he serves.
But to guide nations in the way of truth
By saving doctrine, and from eriur lead
fo know, and knowing worship God aright,
Is yet more kingly; this attracts the soul,
Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
That other o'er the body only reigns,
And oft by force, which to a generous mind,
So reigning, can be no sincere delight.
Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought
Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
Far more magnanimous, than to assume.
Riches are needless then, both for themselves
And for thy reason why they should be wought
To gain à sceptre, oftest better miss'à.”

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Satan, in a speech of much flattering commendation, endea. Yours to awaken in Jesus a passion for glory, by particular! izing various instances of conquests achieved, and great an tions performed, by persons at an early period of life. Our Lord replies, by showing the vanity of worldly fame, and the improper means by which it is generally attained, and contrasts with it the true glory of religious patience and vir. tuous wisdom, as exemplified in the character of Job. Satan justifies the love of glory from the example of God himself, + who requires it from all his creatures. Jesus detects the fal lacy of this argument, by showing that, as goodness is the true ground on which glory is due to the great Creator of all things, sinful man can have no right whatever to it. Satan .hen urges our Lord respecting his claim to the throne of David; he tells him that the kingdom of Judea, being at that time a province of Rome, cannot be got possession of without much personal exertion on his part, and presses him to lose no time in beginni g to reign. Jesus refers him to the time allotted for this, as for all other things; and, af ter intimating somewhat respecting his own previous suffer. ings, asks Satan why he should be solicitous for the exalta. tion of one, whose rising was destined to be his fall. Satan replies, that his own desperate state, by excluding all hope, leaves little room for fear; and that, as his own punishment was equally doomed, he is not interested in preventing the reign of one, for whose apparent benevolence he might ra. ther hope for some interference in his favour. Satan still pursues his former incitements, and supposing that the seeming reluctance of Jesus to be thus advanced might arise from his being unacquainted with the world and its glories, onveys him to the summit of a high mountain, and from thence shows him most of the kingdom of Asia, particular. ly pointing out to his notice some extraordinary military preparations of the Parthians to resist the incursions of the Scythians. He then informs our Lord, that he showed him this purposely, that he might see how necessary military exertions are to retain the possession of kingdoms, as well as to subdue them at first, and advises him to consider how impossible it was to maintain Judea against two such powerful neighbours as the Romans and Parthians, and how neces sary it would be to f an alliance with one or other u

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