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To wish thou never hadît rejected thus
Nicely or cautioully 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, 380
When prophecies of thee are bett fulfillid.
Now contrary, if I read ought in Heaven,
Or Heav'n write ought of fate, by what the stars
Voluminous, or single characters,
In thcir conjunction met, give me to spell, 385
Sorrows, and labors, opposition, hate
Attends 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,

390
Nor when, eternal sure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefix’d
Directs me in the starry rubric fet.

So say’ing he took (for still he knew his power Not yet expir'd) and to the wilderness

395 Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, As day-light funk, and brought in louring night Her Madowy ofspring, unsubstantial both, Privation mere of light and absent day. 400 Our Saviour meek and with untroubled mind After his aery jaunt, though hurried fore, Hungry and cold betook him to his reft, Wherever, under some concourse of shades, 404 Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head, But shelter'd slept in vain, for at his head The Tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams Disturb'd his sleep ; and either opic now 409 'Gan thunder, and both ends of Heav'n, the clouds

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From many a horrid rift abortive pour'd
Fierce rain with lightning mix'd, water with fire
In ruin reconcil'd: nor Nept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell 415
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdieit oaks
Bow'd their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts,
Or torn up sheer : ill wast thou shrouded then,
O patient Son of God, yet only stood it 420
Unshaken ; nor yet stay'd the terror there,
Infernal ghosts, and Hellish furies, round [hriek d,
Environd thee, fome howl'd, some yeli'd, some
Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Satst unappall'd in calm and finless peace. 425
Thus pals'd the night so foul, till morning fair
Came forth with pilgrim steps in amice gray,
Who with her radiant finger ftillid che roar
Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grilly spectres, which the Fiend had rais d 430
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
(And now the sun with more effectual beams

Had cheard the face of earth, and dry'd the wet
From drooping plant, or dropping tree ; the birds,
Who all things now behold more fresh and green,
After a night of storm fo ruinous,
Clear'd up their choicest notes in bush and spray
To gratulate the sweet return of morn ;
Nor yet amidst this joy and brightest morn
Was absent, after all his mischief done,

440
The prince of darkness, glad would also feem
Of this fair change, and to our Saviour came,
Yet with no new device, they all were spent,
Rather by this his last affront resolv’d,
Desp rate of better course, to vent his rage,
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And

445

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And mad despite to be so oft repellid.
Him walking on a funny hill he found,
Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood;
Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape,
And in a careless mood thus to him said.

450
Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God,
After a ditinal night; I heard the wrack
As earth and sky would mingle; but myself
Was distant; and these flaws,though mortalsfearthem
As dang’rous to the pillar'd frame of Heaven, 455
Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable,
And harmless, if not wholsome, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone;
Yet as being oft times noxious where they light 460
On man, beast, plant, waltful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in th'affairs of men,
Over who e heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-fignify and threaten ill :
This tempelt at this delert most was bent; 465
Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'ft.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didit reject
The perfect season offer'd with

my

aid To win thy deitin'd leat, but wilt prolong All to the push of fate, pursue thy way Of gaining David's throne no man knows when, For both the when and how is no where told, Thou thalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt ; For Angels have proclam'd it, but concealing The time and means : each act is rightlieft done, 475 Not when it muit, but when it may be beít. If thou oblerve not this, be sure to find, Vrat I foretold thee, many a hard assay Of dangers, and adversities, and pains, Ere thou of Israel's scepter get fast hold; 480

Whereof

47

Whereof this ominous night that clos'd thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies
May warn thee, as a fure fore-going sign.

So talk'd he, while the Son of God went on And stay'd not, but in brief him answer'd thus. 485

Me worse than wet thou find'it not; other harm Those terrors which thou speak’st of, did me none ; I never fear'd they could, though noising loud And threatning nigh; what they can do as signs Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn

490 As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; Who knowing I shall reign past thy preventing, Obtrud ft thy offer'd aid, that I accepting At least might seem to hold all pow'r of thee, Ambitious Spi'rit, and wouldst be thought my God, And storm'st refus’d, thinking to terrify Me to thy will ; defift, thou art discern’d And toil'st in vain, nor me in vain moleft.

To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage reply'd. Then hear, O Son of David, Virgin-born ; 500 For Son of God to me is yet in doubt: Of the Messiah I have heard foretold By all the Prophets ; of thy birth at length Announc'd by Gabriel with the first I knew, And of th’angelic song in Bethlehem field, 505 On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born. From that time seldom have I ceasd to eye Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred; Till at the ford of Jordan whither all

SIO Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the reit, Though not to be baptiz’d, by voice from Heaven Heard thee pronounc'd the Son of God beloy'd. Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer view And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn

515 595

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.

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 didit 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 seat of earthly bliss be fail'd, A fairer Paradise is founded now For Adam and his chosen fons, 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, shalt not long Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star Or lightning thou shalt fall from Heav'n, trod down .

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