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Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred;
Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest,
(Though not to be baptiz'd,) by voice from Heav'n
Heard thee pronoune'd the Son of God belov'd.
Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view
And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn
In what degree or meaning thou art call'd
The Son of God, which bears no single sense.
The Son of God I also am, or was;
And if I was, I am; relation stands;



All men are Sons of God; yet thee I thought


In some respect far higher so declar'd:

Therefore I watch'd thy footsteps from that hour,

And follow'd thee still on to this waste wild;

Where, by all best conjectures, I collect

Thou art to be my fatal enemy:


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:
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 wise and good, 535
Not more; for honours, 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."

So saying 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,
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.


"There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house

Have brought thee', and high'st plac'd: highest is best:
Now show thy progeny; if not to stand,
Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God:
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,




"Tempt not the Lord thy God:" he said, and stood:
But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell.
As when Earth's son Antaeus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove
With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foil'd, still rose,
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,
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall:
And as that Theban monster, that propos'd
Her riddle', and him who solv'd it not devour'd,
That once found out and solv'd, for grief and spite
Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep;
So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the Fiend,
And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
(Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success)
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,


Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.


So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe

Of Angels on fall sail 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;
Then, in a flow'ry valley, set him down
On a green bank, and set before him sprend
4 table of celestial food, divine


Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink,
That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if aught 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.
"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,
Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing
The Son of God, with God-like force endued
Against th' attempter of thy Father's throne,
And thief of Paradise! him long of old

Thou didst debel, and down from Heav'n cast
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
In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke:
For, though that seat 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,


Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be,

Of Tempter and temptation without fear.

But thou, infernal Serpent! shalt 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
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
To dread the Son of God: he, all unarm'd,
Shall chase 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 of swine,
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
Now enter, and begin to save mankind."

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, unobserv'd,
Home to his mother's house private return'd.




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