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Their orators thou then extoll'ft, as those
The top of eloquence, statists indeed,
And lovers of their country, as may seem; 355
But herein to our prophets far beneath,
As men divinely taught, and better teaching
The solid rules of civil government
In their majestic unaffected stile
Than all th' oratory of Greece and Rome.

360
In them is plainest taught, and easiest learnt,
What makes a nation happy', and keeps it so,
What ruins kingdoms, and lays cities flat;
These only with our law best form a king.

So spake the Son of God; but Satan now 365
Quite at a loss, for all his darts were spent,
Thus to our Saviour with stern brow reply'd.

Since neither wealth nor honor, arms nor arts,
Kingdom nor empire pleases thee, nor ought
By me propos’d in life contemplative,

370
Or active, tended on by glory', or fame,
What dost thou in this world? The wilderness
For thee is fittest place; I found thee there,
And thither will return thee; yet remember
What I foretel thee, soon thou shalt have cause

375 To with thou never hadît rejected thus Nicely or cautiously 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 best 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 their conjunction met, give me to fpell, 38$
Sorrows, and labors, opposition, hate
Attends thee, seorns, reproaches, injuries,
Violence and stripes, and lastly cruel death;
A kingdom they portend thee, but what kingdom,
Real or allegoric, I difcern not,

39.6
Nor when, eternal fure, as without end,
Without beginning; for no date prefix'd
Directs me in the starry rubric set.

So say’ing he took (for ftill 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 sunk, and brought in louring night Her shadowy offspring, 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 rest, Wherever, under some concourse of thades; Whose branching arms thick intertwin'd might shield From dews and damps of night his shelter'd head, But shelter'd sept in vain, for at his head The Tempter watch'd, and soon with ugly dreams Disturb’d his sleep; and either tropic now 'Gan thunder, and both ends of Heav'n, the clouds 410 From many a horrid rift abortive pour'd Fierce ran with lightning mix d, water with fire

415

In ruin reconcild: nor slept the winds
Within their stony caves, but rush'd abroad
From the four hinges of the world, and fell
On the vex'd wilderness, whose tallest pines,
Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks
Bow'd their stiff necks, loaden with stormy blasts,
Or torn up sheer : ill wait thou shrouded then,
patient Son of God, yet only stood'st

420
Unshaken; nor yet stay'd the terror there ;
Infernal ghosts, and hellish furies, round
Environ'd thee, fome howld, some yell’d, some fhriek’d,
Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou
Satst unappall’d in calm and sinless peace. 425
Thus pass’d the night fo foul, till morning fair
Came forth with pilgrim fteps in amice gray,
Who with her radiant finger still’d the roar
Of thunder, chas'd the clouds, and laid the winds,
And grisly spectres, which the Fiend had rais’d. 430
To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire.
And now the fun 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, 435
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,

44.0 The prince of darkness, glad would also seem of this fair change, and to our Saviour came,

Yes

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Yet with no new device, they all were spent,
Rather by this his last affront resolv’d,
Despʻrate of better course, to vent his rage,

445
And mad despite to be so oft repell’d.
Him walking on a funny hill he found,
Back'd on the north and west by a thick wood;
Out of the wood he ftarts in wonted shape,
And in a careless mood thus to him faid.

450 Fair morning yet betides thee, Son of God, After a dismal night; I heard the wrack As earth and sky would mingle; but myself Was distant; and these flaws, though mortals fear them 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 ha ess, if not wholesome, as a sneeze To man's less universe, and soon are gone; Yet as being oft times noxious where they light 460 On man, beait, 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 tempeft at this defert most was bent; 465 Of men at thee, for only thou here dwell'it. Did I not tell thee, if thou didft 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

470 Of gaining David's throne no man knows when, For both the when and how is no where told,

Thou

Thou shalt 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 must, but when it

may

be best. If thou observe not this, be sure to find, What I foretold thee, many a hard assay Of dangers, and adversities, and pains, Ere thou of Israel's scepter get fast hold; 480 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. 485

Me worse than wet thou find ft 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 figns 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'st 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; desist, thou art discern'd And toil'ft 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

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