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And darest thou to the Son of God propound Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold,
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long; Repaid! But gratitude in thee is lost
There flowery hill Hymettus, with the sound Long since. Wert thou so void of fear or shame, Of bees’ industrious murmur, oft invites As offer them to me, the Son of God?
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls To me my own, on such abhorred pact, His whispering stream: within the walls, then That I fall down and worship thee as God?
view Get thee behind me; plain thou now appearest The schools of ancient sages; his, who bred That evil one, Satan for ever damned."
Great Alexander to subdue the world, To whom the Fiend, with fear abashed, replied: Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next: "Be not so sore offended, Son of God,
There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power Though Sons of God both angels are and men, Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit If I, to try whether in higher sort
By voice or hand; and various measured verse, Than these thou bearest that title, have proposed Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes, What both from men and angels I receive, And his who gave them breath, but higher sung, Tetrarchs of fire, air, flood, and on the earth, Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called, Nations beside from all the quartered winds, Whose poem Phæbus challenged for this own: God of this world invoked, and world beneath: Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold In Chorus or lambic, teachers best To me most fatal, me it most concerns.
Of moral prudence, with delight received The trial hath endamaged thee no way, In brief sententious precepts, while they treat Rather more honoured left and more esteem; Of fate, and chance, and change in human life, Me nought advantaged, missing what I aimed. High actions and high passions best describing: Therefore let pass, as they are transitory,
Thence to the famous orators repair, * The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. Wielded at will that fierce democratie, And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece Than to a worldly crown, addicted more To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne: To contemplation and profound dispute, To sage philosophy next lend thine ear, As by that early action may be judged,
From Heaven descended to the low-roofed house When slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st Of Socrates ; see there his tenement, Alone into the temple, there wast found Whom well inspired the oracle pronounced Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, Mellifluous streams, that watered all the schools Teaching, not taught; the childhood shows the man Of Academics old and new, with those As morning shows the day. Be famous then Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect By wisdom; as thy empire must extend, Epicurean, and the Stoic severe; So let extend thy mind o'er all the world These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home, In knowledge, all things in it comprehend. Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight; All knowledge is not couched in Moses' law, These rules will render thee a king complete The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote ; Within thyself, much more with empire joined." The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied: To admiration, led by nature's light,
“ Think not but that I know these things, or think And with the Gentiles much thou must converse, I know them not; not therefore am I short Ruling them by persuasion as thou meanest ; Of knowing what I ought: he who receives Without their learning how wilt thou with them, Light from above, from the fountain of light, Or they with thee, hold conversation meet ? No other doctrine needs, though granted true : How wilt thou reason with them, how refute But these are false, or little else but dreams, Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm. Error by his own arms is best evinced.
The first and wisest of them all professed Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount, To know this only, that he nothing knew;
The next to fabling fell, and smooth conceits; By light of nature, not in all quite lost.
The top of eloquence; statists indeed,
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
Than all the oratory of Greece and Rome.
So spake the Son of God; but Satan, now Alas! what can they teach, and not mislead, Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent, Ignorant of themselves, of God much more, Thus to our Saviour with stern brow replied. And how the world began, and how man fell “ Since neither wealth nor honour, arms nor arts, Degraded by himself, on grace depending? Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor aught Much of the soul they talk, but all awry, By me proposed in life contemplative And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves Or active, tended on by glory or fame, All glory arrogate, to God give none;
What dost thou in this world ? the wilderness Rather accuse him under usual names,
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there, Fortune and fate, as one regardless quite And thither will return thee; yet remember Of mortal things: Who therefore seeks in these What I foretell thee, soon thou shalt have cause True wisdom finds her not; or, by delusion, To wish thou never hadst rejected thus Far worse, her false resemblance only meets, Nicely or cautiously my offered aid, An empty cloud. However, many books,
Which would have set thee in short time with ease Wise mere have said, are wearisome; who reads On David's throne, or throne of all the world, Incessantly, and to his reading brings not Now at full age, fulness of time, thy season, A spirit and judgment equal or superior When prophecies of thee are best fulfilled. (And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere Now contrary, if I read aught in Heaven, seek ?)
Or Heaven write aught of fate, by what the stars Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
Voluminous, or single characters,
Sorrows, and labours, opposition, hate
Nor when; eternal sure, as without end, That solace? all our law and story strewed Without beginning; for no date prefixed With hymns, our psalms with artful terms in- Directs me in the starry rubric set.” scribed,
So saying, he took, (for still he knew his power Our Hebrew songs and harps, in Babylon Not yet expired,) and to the wilderness That pleased so well our victors' ear, declare Brought back the Son of God, and left him there, That rather Greece from us these arts derived; Feigning to disappear. Darkness now rose, III imitated, while they loudest sing
As daylight sunk, and brought in lowering night, The vices of their deities, and their own, Her shadowy offspring, unsubstantial both, In fable, hymn, or song, so personating Privation mere of light and absent day, Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame. Our Saviour meek and with untroubled mind Remove their swelling epithets, thick laid After his airy jaunt, though hurried sore, As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest, Hungry and cold, betook him to his rest, Thin sown with aught of profit or delight, Wherever, under some concourse of shades, Will far be found unworthy to compare Whose branching arms thick intertwined might With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling, shield Where God is praised aright, and godlike men, From dews and damps of night his sheltered head; The Holiest of Holies, and his saints,
But, sheltered, slept in vain ; for at his head (Such are from God inspired, not such from thee,) The Tempter watched, and soon with ugly dreams Unless where moral virtue is expressed Disturbed his sleep. And either tropic now
Gan thunder, and both ends of Heaven; the Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'st. clouds,
Did I not tell thee, if thou did'st reject From many a horrid rift, abortive poured The perfect season offered with my aid Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with fire To win thy destined seat, but wilt prolong In ruin reconciled: nor slept the winds All to the push of fate, pursue thy way Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad Of gaining David's throne, no man knows when, From the four hinges of the world, and fell For both the when and how is no where told ? On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines, Thou shalt be what thou art ordained, no doubt; Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks, For angels have proclaimed it, but concealing Bowed their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts, The time and means. Each act is rightliest done, Or torn up sheer. Ill wast thou shrouded then, Not when it must, but when it may be best: O patient Son of God, yet only stood'st
If thou observe not this, be sure to find, Unshaken! Nor yet stayed the terror there; What I foretold thee, many a hard assay Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies round
Of dangers, and adversities, and pains, Environed thee, some howled, some yelled, some Ere thou of Israel's sceptre get fast hold; shrieked,
Whereof this ominous night, that closed thee Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou round, Sat'st unáppalled in calm and sinless peace! So many terrors, voices, prodigies, Thus passed the night so foul, till morning fair May warn thee as a sure foregoing sign.” Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice gray, So talked he, while the Son of God went on Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar And stayed not, but in brief him answered thus. Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds, “ Me worse than wet thou find'st not; other And grisly spectres, which the fiend had raised
harm To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. Those terrors which thou speak’st of, did me none; And now the sun with more effectual beams I never feared they could, though noising loud Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet And threatening high; what they can do, as signs From drooping plant or dropping tree; the birds, Betokening, or ill boding, I contemn Who all things now behold more fresh and green, As false portents, not sent from God, but thee; After a night of storm so ruinous,
Who, knowing 1 shall reign past thy preventing, Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray, Obtrud’st thy offered aid, that I, accepting, To gratulate the sweet return of morn.
At least might seem to hold all power of thee,
To whom the fiend, now swollen with rage, reDesperate of better course, to vent his rage
plied, And mad despite to be so oft repelled.
“ Then hear, O Son of David, virgin-born, Him walking on a sunny hill he found,
For Son of God to me is yet in doubt; Backed on the north and west by a thick wood; Of the Messiah I had heard foretold Out of the wood he starts in wonted shape, By all the prophets; of thy birth at length, And in a careless mood thus to him said. Announced by Gabriel, with the first I knew,
"Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, And of the angelic song in Bethlehem field, After a dismal night: I heard the wrack, On thy birthnight, that sung thee Saviour born. As earth and sky would mingle; but myself From that time seldom have I ceased to eye Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear Thy infancy, thy childhood, and thy youth, them
Thy manhood last, though yet in private bred, As dangerous to the pillared frame of Heaven, Till at the ford of Jordan, whither all Or to the earth's dark basis underneath,
Flock to the Baptist, I among the rest, Are to the main as inconsiderable
(Though not to be baptized) by voice from And harmless, if not wholesome as a sneeze
Heaven. To man's less universe, and soon are gone; Heard thee pronounced the Son of God beloved. Yet
, as being ofttimes noxious where they light Thenceforth I thought thee worth my nearer vier On man, beast, plant, wasteful and turbulent, And narrower scrutiny, that I might learn Like turbulencies in the affairs of men,
In what degree or meaning thou art called Over whose heads they roar, and seem to point,
The Son of God, which bears no single sense. They oft foresignify and threaten ill:
The Son of God I also am, or was; This tempest at this desert most was bent; And if I was, I am; relation stands;
All men are sons of God; yet thee I thought Cast herself headlong from the Ismenian steep; In some respect far higher so declared:
So, struck with dread and anguish, fell the fiend, Therefore I watched thy footsteps from that hour, And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought And followed thee still on to this waste wild; (Joyless triumphals of his hoped success) Where, by all best conjectures, I collect Ruin, and desperation, and dismay, Thou art to be my fatal enemy:
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God. Good reason then, if I beforehand seek
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe To understand my adversary, who
Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
Then, in a flowery valley, set him down
A table of celestial food, divine
Ambrosial fruits, fetched from the tree of life, To the utmost of mere man both wise and good, And, from the fount of life, ambrosial drink, Not more; for honours, riches, kingdoms, glory, That soon refreshed him wearied, and repaired Have been before contemned, and may again: What hunger, if aught hunger had impaired, Therefore to know what more thou art than man, Or thirst; and, as he fed, angelic choirs Worth naming Son of God by voice from Heaven, Sung heavenly anthems of his victory Another method I must now begin.”
Over temptation and the tempter proud. So saying he caught him up, and, without wing " True image of the Father; whether throned Of hippogrif, bore through the air sublime, In the bosom of bliss, and light of light Over the wilderness and o'er the plain, Conceiving, or, remote from Heaven, inshrined Till underneath them fair Jerusalem,
In fleshly tabernacle, and human form, The holy city, lifted high her towers,
Wandering the wilderness; whatever place, And higher yet the glorious temple reared Habit, or state, or motion, still expressing Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
The Son of God, with godlike force endued Of alabaster, topt with golden spires :
Against thy attempter of thy Father's throne, There on the highest pinnacle he set
And thief of Paradise ! him long of old The Son of God; and added thus in scorn. Thou did'st debel, and down from Heaven cast “ There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand up with all his army; now thou hast avenged right
Supplanted Adam, and, by vanquishing Will ask thee skill; I to thy Father's house Temptation, hast regained lost Paradise, Have orought thee, and highest placed: highest is And frustrated the conquest fraudulent. best:
He never more henceforth will dare set foot Now show thy progeny; if not to stand, In Paradise to tempt; his snares are broke : Cast thyself down; safely, if Son of God: For, though that seat of earthly bliss be failed, For it is written, 'He will give command A fairer Paradise is founded now Concerning thee to his angels, in their hands For Adam and his chosen sons, whom thou, They shall uplift thee, lest at any time
A Saviour, art come down to reinstal, Thou chance to dash thy foot against a stone.'' Where they shall dwell secure, when time shall be
To whom thus Jesus. “Also it is written, Of tempter and temptation without fear. "Tempt not the Lord thy God:”” he said, and But thou, infernal serpent! shalt not long stood :
Rule in the clouds; like an autumnal star, But Satan, smitten with amazement, fell. Or lightning, thou shalt fall from Heaven, trod As when earth's son Antæus (to compare
down Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove Under his feet; for proof, ere this thou feel'st With Jove's Alcides, and, oft foiled, still rose, Thy wound, (yet not thy last and deadliest wound,) Receiving from his mother earth new strength, By this repulse received, and hold’st in hell Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple joined, No triumph; in all her gates Abaddon rues Throttled at length in the air, expired and fell; Thy bold attempt. Hereafter learn with awe So, after many a foil, the Tempter proud, To dread the Son of God: he, all unarmed, Renewing fresh assaults amidst his pride, Shall chase thee with the terror of his voice Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall: From thy demoniac holds, possession foul, And as that Theban monster, that proposed Thee and thy legions; yelling they shall fly Her riddle, and him, who solved it not devoured, And beg to hide them in a herd of swine, That once found out and solved, for grief and spite Lest he command them down into the deep,
Bound, and to torment sent before their time.- Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, Hail, Son of the Most High, heir of both worlds, Sung victor, and from heavenly feast refreshed, Queller of Satan! on thy glorious work, Brought on his way with joy; he unobserved, Now enter, and begin to save mankind.” Home to his mother's house private returned.
Τραγαδια μιμησις πραξεως σπεδαιας, κ. τ. λ.
Aristot. Poel. Cap. 6. Tragedia est imitatio actionis seriæ, &c. per misericordiam et metum perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.
For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade:
There I am wont to sit when any chance Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Ga. Relieves me from my task of servile toil, 22, there to labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival Daily in the common prison else enjoined me, day, in the general cessations from labour, comes forth into the Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw open air, to a place nigh, somewhat retired, there to sit awhile The air imprisoned also, close and damp, and bemoan his condition. Where he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his tribe, which Unwholesome draught: but here I feel amends, make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can; The breath of Heaven fresh blowing, pure and then by his old father Manoah, who endeavours the like, and sweet, withal tells him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; With dayspring born; here leave me to respire. lastly, that this feas & vas proclaimed by the Philistines as a day This day a solemn feast the people hold of thanksgiving for their deliverance from the hands of Sam. 201, which yet more troubles him. Mancah then departs to To Dagon their sea idol, and forbid prosecute his endeavour with the Philistine lords for Samson's Laborious works; unwillingly this rest redemption; who in the mean-while is visited by other per. Their superstition yields me; hence with leave sons, and lastly by a public officer to require his coming 10
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek the feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their presence ; he at first refuses, dismissing the This unfrequented place to find some ease, public officer with absolute denial to come; al length, per. Ease to the body some, none to the mind kuaded inwardly that this was from God, he yields to go along From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm with him, who came now the second time with great threat. Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone, enings to fetch him: the Chorus yet remaining on the place, But rush upon me thronging, and present Manoah returns full of joysul hope, to procure ere long his son's deliverance: in the midst of which discourse an Hebrew Times past, what once I was, and what am now cornes in haste, confusedly at first, and afterwards more dis- O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold tinctly, relating the catastrophe, what Samson had done to the Twice by angel, who at last in sight Philimaines
, and by accident to himself; where with the tra- of both my parents all in flames ascended gedy ends.
From off the altar, where an offering burned,
As in a fiery column charioting
His godlike presence, and from some great act
Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race ?
Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed
As of a person separate to God,
Designed for great exploits; if I must die
Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
Put to the labour of a beast, debased SAMSON AGONISTES.
Lower than bondslave! Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoko:
The Scene before the Prison in Gaza.