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Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,
Are to the main as inconsiderable,
And harmless, if not wholesome, as a sneeze
To man's less universe, and soon are gone;
Yet as being oft times noxious where they light
On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent,
Like turbulencies in th' affairs of men,
Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
They oft fore-signify and threaten ill :
This tempest at this desert most was bent ;
Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st.
Did I not tell thee, if thou didst reject
The perfect season offer'd with my aid
To win thy destin'd seat, 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 shalt be what thou art ordain'd, no doubt ;
For angels have proclaim'd it, but concealing
The time and means: each act is rightliest done,
Not when it must, but when it may be best.
If thou observe not this, be sure to find,



467. Did I not tell thee, &c.] of the pains and dangers which This sentence is dark and per- awaited Jesus, if he persisted in plexed, having no proper exit. rejecting his offered aid, now at

467. The whole passage, from full age, fulness of time, his seuson, V. 467 to 483, should be com- when prophecies of him were best pared with the conclusion of the fulfilled. E. previous conversation, v. 368– 478. --many an hard assay) 393, to which Satan manifestly Thus, b. i. 263. refers. It will then be evident

--that my way must lie that the sense of the passage is Through many a hard assay unto sufficiently complete, and that Satan now repeats what he had

Dunster. before expressed, his conviction

the death.




What I foretold thee, many a hard assay
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains,
Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold;
Whereof this ominous night that clos'd thee round,
So many terrors, voices, prodigies
May warn thee, as a sure 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.

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

As false portents, not sent from God, but thee;
Who knowing I shall reign past thy preventing,
Obtrud'st thy offer'd aid, that I accepting
At least might seem to hold all pow'r of thee,
Ambitious Spi'rit, and would'st be thought my God, 495
And storm'st refus'd, thinking to terrify
Me to thy will; desist, thou art discern'd
And toil'st in vain, nor me in vain molest.

To whom the Fiend now swoln with rage replied.
Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-born;


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500. Then hear, 0 Son of Du- blasphemous obloquy he still revid, &c.] This last speech of covers himself, and offers with Satan is particularly worthy of his usual art a qualification of our notice. The Fiend “ swoln what he had last said, and a jus, with rage" at the repeated failure tification of his persisting in furof his attacks, breaks out into the ther attempts on the divine perlanguage of gross insult, profess- son, by whom he had been so ing to doubt whether our Lord, constantly foiled. These are the whom he had before frequently masterly discriminating touches, addressed as the Son of God, is with which the poet has admirin any way entitled to that ap- ably drawn the character of the pellation. From this wantonly Tempter: the general colouring


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,
On thy birth-night, that sung thee Saviour born.
From that time seldom have I ceas'd 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
Flock'd to the Baptist, I among the rest,
Though not to be baptiz'd, by voice from heaven
Heard thee pronounc'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;



is that of plausible hypocrisy, overshadow thee; therefore also through which, when elicited by that holy thing which shall be born the sudden irritation of defeat, of thee shall be called the Son of his diabolical malignity fre- God,) and yet he doubts of his quently flashes out, and displays being the Son of God notwithitself with singular effect. Dun- standing. This is easily acster.

counted for. On the terms of 501. For Son of God to me is the annunciation Christ might yet in doubt:] The Tempter had be the Son of God in a sense heard Christ declared to be Son very particular, and yet a mere of God by a voice from heaven. man as to his nature: but the He allows him to be virgin-born. doubt relates to what he was He hath no scruples about the more than man, worth calling Son annunciation, and the truth of of God; that is, worthy to be what Gabriel told the blessed called Son of God in that high woman, (Luke i. 35. The Holy and proper sense, in which his Ghost shall come upon thee, and sonship would infer his divinity. the power of the Highest shall Calton.



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 beforehand 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,
Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory
Have been before contemn’d, and may again :
Therefore to know what more thou art than man,



523. - this waste wild ;] And Eden rais'd in the waste wilderness,

b. i. ñ. Again, with v. 533. Proof against all temptation, as a rock of adamant. Compare Sams. Agon. 134.

-frock of mail Adamantean proof.


“ tinct from any which belongs “ unto the rest of the sons of “God, that he may be clearly

and fully acknowledged the

only-begotten Son. For al. “ though to be born of a virgin “ be in itself miraculous, yet is “ it not so far above the produc“ tion of all mankind, as to place « him in that singular eminence, " which must be attributed to the "only-begotten. We read of Adam the son of God as well as Seth the son of Adam : Luke iii. 38. " and surely the framing Christ “ out of a woman cannot so far “ transcend the making Adam “ out of the earth, as to cause so

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Worth naming Son of God by voice from heaven,
Another method I must now begin.

So say’ing 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, topp'd with golden spires :
There on the highest pinnacle he set


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great a distance, as we must 541. Eschylus in his Prome

believe, between the first and theus, v. 282, makes Oceanus “ second Adam.” Calton. travel on a winged sleed. Dun

541. Land without wing ster. Of hippogrif &c.]

545. The holy city lifted high Here Milton designed a reflec- her towers,] Matt. iv. 5. Then the tion upon the Italian poets, and Devil taketh him up into the holy particularly upon Ariosto. An city, and setteth hin on a pinnacle

. hippogrif is an imaginary crea- of the temple, &c. Jerusalem is ture, part like an horse and part frequently called the holy city in like a griffin. See Orlando Fu- the Old Testament; but Dr. rioso, cant. iv. st. 18. or 13th Townson remarks, that St. Matstanza of Harrington's transla- thew alone of all the Evangelists tion.

ascribes titles of this kind to Je

rusalem. And this arose, as he Only the beast he rode was not of art, But gotten of a griffeth and a mare,

conceives, from St. Matthew beAnd like a griffeth had theformer part, ing the earliest writer of the four, As wings and head, and claws that and from the character of sanchideous are,

tity being transferred, when the And passing strength and force, and others wrote, to other cities which

vent'rous heart, But all the rest may with a horse had embraced Christianity. The compare.

towers of Jerusalem are frequently Such beasts as these the hills of Ryfee mentioned in Scripture. See 2 yield,

Chron. xxvi. 9. xxxii. 5. Dunster, Though in these parts they have been

549. There on the highest pinseen but seeld.

nacle he set Ariosto frequently makes use of The Son of God,} this creature to convey his heroes He has chosen to follow the hither and thither; but Milton order observed by St. Luke in would insinuate that he em- placing this temptation last, beployed no such machinery. cause if he had with St. Matthew

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